Sunday, January 17, 2016


Regular readers of my “Tony’s Tips” column over at Tales of Wonder and this bloggy thing of mine know how much I love the “Ordinary People Change the World” series of children’s books by Brad Meltzer and illustrator Christopher Eliopoulos. Using speech balloons and text, not to mention charming and dynamic drawings, these talented individuals tell inspirational stories of people who did remarkable things in their lives.

I am Martin Luther King, Jr. [Dial Books; $12.99] is the latest in the series and the best. In a presidential election season that has the Republican frontrunner openly espousing racism and drawing not-unfair comparisons to Hitler, in an election season that sees many  Republicans either joining him or refusing to speak out against his un-American positions, we need to be reminded of the very real pain that comes from bigotry and the very real moral and even commercial benefits that come from opposing it. Forgive me for dragging my soapbox into this review of a wonderful book. We are all better when we speak out against injustice together.

The scenes where the young Martin plays with his white best friend and then is told - by the boy - that they can no longer be friends because King is black almost make my heart stop from the sadness of those times. Martin’s courage in opposing racism, his humbleness in minimizing his role in achieving civil rights victories and his nothing-short-of-glorious refusal to stay down when the work to be done demand he rise are as inspirational to this senior citizen as I hope they will be to younger readers.

I love this book. I love this series and I hope it goes on forever. Previous volumes include Jackie Robinson, Abraham Lincoln, Lucille Ball, Rosa Parks, Helen Keller, Albert Einstein and Amelia Earhart. They are all wonderful. They would all make wonderful gifts to the youngsters in your lives. They all belong on the shelves of every library and elementary school in the country.

ISBN 978-0-525-42852-7

P.S. I respectfully request the Eisner Awards judges consider the previous volumes in this series. I think there are sufficient word balloons in them to consider them eligible for comics awards.

I’ll be back soon with more stuff.  

© 2015 Tony Isabella

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