Reviews for My Daddy, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Booklist Reviews 2013 June #1
This picture-book biography, written by the second child of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., offers an intimate portrait of his father and some family stories from their unusual household. In the opening scene, his father explains to Marty and his sister that their family won't be going to Funtown because it's for white people only. Later, Marty avoids identifying himself to other kids because he bears his father's controversial name. One Christmas, he and his brother are given toy guns, but in keeping with their family's values, they burn the guns in a bonfire. The story ends on a high note, with King and his sister entering a newly desegregated school. An appended page acknowledges his father's death (when Marty was 10 years old) and appreciates his ongoing legacy. The figures look awkward in some of the paintings, but Ford illustrates many scenes effectively and captures likenesses of individuals. Clearly written, the book has an obviously unique persepctive, and it offers insights into the period as well as King's family life. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2014 Spring
The son of the civil rights leader recalls life with his famous father. At home "Daddy" could be jovial and playful, but young Marty grew up knowing his father's life was in constant danger. Ford's paintings imbue this straightforward account--conveyed without much depth--with emotion. This book could supplement introductory units on the heroes of the civil rights era.

Kirkus Reviews 2013 June #1
His oldest son remembers the civil rights leader with affection and pride. Called Marty as a child, Martin Luther King III spent his childhood learning difficult lessons about segregation, jail and protest marches. He and his sister were eager to go to an amusement park until their parents finally told them that it was only for white people. When he and his brother received toy guns for Christmas, they were told that guns are destructive weapons and watched as their parents burnt them in a bonfire. In the third grade, the author reluctantly integrated a school and faced taunts, relatively mild in the book, as the only African-American in his class. As importantly, Dr. King was a loving and playful father to his children. Adults sharing this title with young readers can make a connection between the words of Dr. King's landmark "I Have a Dream" speech on August 28th, 1963, and their own family memories. Ford's full-page color paintings bring to mind photographs of the period in their depiction of family scenes and civil rights marches. Final art not seen. An effective title to introduce young readers to Dr. King's message of peace and equal rights; though it's hardly the only picture book about the slain leader, the child's-eye view is a valuable one. (afterword) (Picture book/biography 4-7) Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 July #2

"There have been a lot of books written about my father. But not a whole lot has been written about my dad," explains King, the second of four children of the civil rights leader. Personal anecdotes appear throughout this picture book biography, demonstrating how King's activism at times took a toll on his family. A trip to an amusement park is repeatedly deferred ("Finally my mother explained. We were not allowed in Funtown"), a young Martin is nervous about letting other kids know who his father is, and he's viscerally upset when his father is repeatedly arrested, consoling his older sister after being comforted by their mother. Readers get a sense of King's reputation and goals amid the family stories; in an especially powerful anecdote, King describes burning toy guns in a backyard bonfire. "Nonviolence wasn't just for marches and protests," he writes. "It was for home as well." Though occasionally somewhat posed, Ford's oil-and-acrylic paintings depict both the likenesses of the King family and the close-knit bond that saw them through many dark moments. Ages 4-8. Illustrator's agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Aug.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2013 August

K-Gr 2--King's remembrance of his father is an intimate introduction to the civil rights leader, revealing happy family moments as well as fear and personal pain amid the turbulence engulfing the nation in the 1960s. Kids will enjoy and perhaps identify with the playful interactions between "Marty" and his dad, who would put his son on top of the refrigerator and then catch him in his arms. Contrasting such warm memories are those of the King children hearing on the radio about their father's arrest and enduring bigotry at their new, integrated school. King's son is frank about the ugly clashes of the Civil Rights Movement, but he writes about them in an age-appropriate manner. The style is simple and conversational, as though the author were chatting with readers, reinforcing the personal spirit of the book. His effort to share some of the legendary leader's life as a private citizen makes his father approachable and real, a nice beginning to the relationship students will have with the influential man in their American history classes. It also provides an important firsthand account of the agony and frustration of prejudice experienced by many African American families. Ford's artwork is laudable, but in some illustrations, the heads of Dr. King and his wife are disproportionately large and oddly rendered. Overall, though, the forthrightness of Ford's palette and technique complement the text.--Alyson Low, Fayetteville Public Library, AR

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