I visit the bookstores at least once a month to replenish the books that seem to disappear off of the shelves or they are so loved that they look like they have been chewed up when returned. One of those special books that always needs to be purchased over and over is “My Brother Martin” by Christine King Farris, illustrated by Chris Soentpiet. It is a piece of art as a sister remembers growing up with Martin Luther King, Jr. I never tire of it and I always choke up at the words so preciously placed in the story. Chris Soentpiet was a guest at our school several years ago and I asked him about illustrating such a book of love. He smiled and shared with me that it was an “honor”.
Each time I read this particular book our students sit mesmerized and almost in disbelief that there was a time in this country that students of different color were not allowed to sit in the same classroom.
I replaced the “Martin” book and happened upon another treasure that I must share with each of you. Julius Lester, award winning author has blown me away with yet another one of his great books. “Let’s Talk About Race”, illustrated by Karen Barbour. Julius Lester begins the picture book with the “hook ” of “I am a story. So are you.” He walks us through how each person has many elements in their story – from family names and places to likes and dislikes. The illustrations are dramatic and dazzling. I continuously ask myself aren’t books healing? Again…I love my job.