Who Was Martin Luther King Jr.? – Lisbeth Kaiser, art by Stanley Chow

Who Was Martin Luther King Jr.? (A Who Was? Board Book) – Lisbeth Kaiser, art by Stanley Chow, Rise x Penguin Workshop, 9780593222737, 2020

Format: Hardcover Board Book

Rating:  1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review)

 Genre: Biography

 What did you like about the book? Written in a similar style as the other Who Was? board books this entry follows the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We get to meet young Martin who loved playing games and going to church. However, he learned very young that due to the color of his skin some people did not want to play with him. I appreciated once again the honesty of the book by introducing tough topics such as the racial discrimination Dr.Martin Luther King Jr. faced while trying to pursue his studies. My favorite part of the book was the inclusion of part of the “ I Have a Dream” speech. Many books that mention the speech do not often include the words written into the narrative and this was a very nice addition by the author. The illustrations are digitized cartoon renditions of Dr.Martin Luther King Jr. which, although cartoons, they are pretty accurate visual portrayals of him. They do include a black and white photograph of him and a short bio at the end of the book. Overall a great book for the content and the vibrant and accurate illustrations. 

Anything you did not like about the book? There seemed to be an over emphasis on kindness and love. I do understand that Dr.Martin Luther King Jr. was a symbol of non-violence but I do also think it is important to highlight that later in his life his tone became more stern and critical of the American government and people.  Additionally, I thought there could’ve been some more interesting facts even if only included in the short biography at the end. For example, he was not born Martin Luther and was actually born Michael. It would’ve also been nice to know where he actually went to seminary school (Boston University) as opposed to having readers assume or already know that fact. 

 To whom would you recommend this book? This book is great for a reader who has heard about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. but would also like to learn more about who he was as a child. Most historical studies of him really only focus on his adult life. This is for a young child who might want to know how he lived as a child, a college student and then an adult. 

Who should buy this book? Early learning centers and elementary schools

Where would you shelve it? Biography

 Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes 

 Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Rose Metayer, Boston Latin School, Boston MA

Date of review: 1/16/2021


This entry was posted in *Book Review, *Starred Review, African Americans, Biography, Board book, Civil Rights, Lisbeth Kaiser, Prejudice, Racial discrimination, Stanley Chow and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.