Myra here.


We are excited to join Kidlit Frenzy’s Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading themes throughout the year. For November-December, we are featuring Paranormal Fantasies: Dragons and Unicorns, Vampires and Elves. As such, we are also sharing picture book biographies of word weavers and fantasy makers.

Many thanks, dear Iphigene, for this lovely widget. Truly beautiful.
Many thanks, dear Iphigene, for this lovely widget. Truly beautiful.

Dr. Martin Luther King did not create fantastical worlds – but he envisioned a world that seemed highly unlikely and almost impossible during his time. This did not stop him from his resolve and his faith that things will be better and that love shall triumph above all else.


This is not an ordinary picturebook biography, as it befits the extraordinary nature of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. While the author has evidently done a great deal of extensive research on MLK’s life, she has distilled everything that she has learned into gleaming lines that speak of the essence, the very soul of what MLK had been like as a man.


There is a juxtaposition of MLK’s actual words and Rappaport’s retelling of significant events in MLK’s life that were pivotal in transforming the young wide-eyed boy to an inspiring man. He was depicted to be this big-voiced minister who had a predilection for big words that spoke truth, which he articulated with such conviction that it renders strength to the weak-willed.

Collier’s art is magnificent as can be seen below. The layout, design, bold-faced typography provide a coherence to the entire narrative that builds on each other with such powerful force.


My favourite art, however, can be seen below. I will, perhaps, be forever haunted by this young girl’s gaze.


The Author’s and Illustrator’s Notes provided enlightening information as to what inspired them to create this masterpiece. There is also significant backmatter with important dates, additional resources, and weblinks that teachers can explore as they think about ways to discuss this important book in their classrooms.

This is a book that shows quite clearly how big words can move the world. A definite must-have. For those who wish to revisit MLK’s “I have a dream” speech, here is a youtube clip of the man himself:

Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. By Doreen Rappaport and illustrated by Bryan Collier. Published by Jump At The Sun, Hyperion Books for Children, 2001. Book borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.



Reading Challenge Update: 291 (25)


Nonfiction PictureBook Challenge: 64 (25)

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

3 comments on “[Nonfiction Wednesday] Big Words of Hope and Love in “Martin’s Big Words”

  1. I so love Collier’s artwork!


  2. I love this book. Thank you for sharing and for linking up.


  3. There are so many great PBNF’s on MLK and this is definitely one of those!


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