Martin's Big Words
The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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by Doreen Rappaport & Bryan Collier

This picture book biography is "a stunning, reverent tribute" (School Library Journal) to the man and his legacy. Rappaport weaves King's own words into the narrative, powerfully communicates his passion and ideals. This book is an"ideal introduction to this leader" (Publisher's Weekly) and great for Martin Luther King's birthday or during units on the Civil Rights movement.

Rappaport's text is a strong component, but what we really like is the creativity in Collier's collages! As you stare at each page, new elements pop out and you can't help but consider how each individual illustration was created.

Awards Won
  - Caldecott Honor Book 2002
  - NCTE Orbis Pictus Honor for Outstanding Nonfiction
  - American Library Association Notable Children's Book
  - American Library Association Coretta Scott King Children's Book Honor
  - New York Times Notable Children's Book List
  - New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Book

Reading Levels
Interest Level: K-Gr. 2           DRA Level: 18                      Lexile Measure: 410L       Guided Reading:  K             Grade Equivalent: 2.5

See inside
Below are sample illustrations from inside Martin's Big Words. This is the largest image size image we can show (due to page constraints), so unfortunately you can't clearly see that the illustrations are actually a mixture of watercolor and collage, creating quite an interesting final product when viewed up close. Rappaport's lyrical, moving narrative is written at just the right level for this audience, and Collier's watercolor and cut paper collage illustrations are striking, inventive, and full of patterns and textures that add extra layers of meaning to the scenes and events depicted.

Where to now?

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This book won the prestigious Caldecott Medal for best children's books. Click to see more fabulous books that have won the Caldecott.