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I Have a Dream

Martin Luther King Jr.'s words -- spoken on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963 -- are brought to life in a new book from Scholastic Press.

I Have A Dream Bookcover The eloquent words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. are brought to life in a new book, I Have a Dream. Call it a picture book, if you will, but this one is more than that. It's a coffee table book of impeccable quality -- a collector's item!

I Have a Dream is an ideal way to expose students of all ages to Martin Luther King's landmark speech, delivered on August 28, 1963, from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to a crowd of more 200,000 people. Even if younger students don't grasp fully the meaning of the speech's words, they should hear them. Students in the upper elementary, middle, and high school grades will be able to comprehend and discuss the deeper meaning of the words and images in this book.

"My husband, Martin Luther King Jr., had a great dream for America," says Coretta Scott King in the forward of this new book, just released by Scholastic Press. "He believed that we could achieve this dream if we would all make a commitment to forgiveness, justice, and love for each other."

King goes on to explain that each of the 15 illustrations in the book "demonstrates the beauty of [her husband's] dream." Each illustration was created by a different artist and shows the artist's interpretation of a portion of King's speech. The results -- in many different styles -- are powerful, moving, and inspiring! The meaning of some of the artwork is simple and clear. Other pieces require a little historical context to be fully understood.

By the way, each artist is the recipient of the Coretta Scott King Award* or the artist of a Coretta Scott King Honor Book.

In an appendix to the book, the artists describe how they attempted to portray King's words. For example, Diane and Leo Dillon write of their acrylic painting that appears on the cover of I Have a Dream (above): "In our painting, the light that Dr. King is approaching represents the dream achieved. He is accompanied by the spirits of equality and justice. To keep the dream from fading, we must always keep moving toward it."

Pat Cummings' painting evokes the meaning of King's words "one hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land." Titled "An Exile in His Own Land," Cummings chose "to portray a contemporary man who walks toward a city with confidence and strength, prepared to collect on what is promised on that shining horizon." However, the shadow that is cast behind the man is the shadow of his past, seen dramatically in the chains hanging from his wrists.

Among the other artists who contributed to the book are Carole Byard, Tom Feelings, George Ford, Brian Pinkney, and Jerry Pinkney.

The back end of I Have a Dream includes a brief biography of Martin Luther King Jr.

I Have a Dream is a wonderful memorial to the life and work of Martin Luther King Jr. -- and a reminder to all who live today that the dream must be kept alive.

*The Coretta Scott King Award is presented annually by the Coretta Scott King Task Force of the American Library Association's Social Responsibilities Round Table. Recipients are African American authors and illustrators whose distinguished books promote an understanding and appreciation of the culture and contribution of all people to the realization of the "American dream."

I Have a Dream is available on Amazon and in bookstores nationwide. The book is published by Scholastic Press, 555 Broadway, New York, NY 10012.

Article by Gary Hopkins
Education World® Editor-in-Chief
Copyright © Education World


Updated 01/12/2012