I Have a Dream

Book review by
Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media
I Have a Dream Book Poster Image
Stunning art amplifies meaning of King's words for kids.

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The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational value

Illustrates part of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s famous "I Have a Dream" speech so that kids will understand its key points. A two-page spead shows a panorama of the historical event of the at which King gave the speech: the great March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, on Aug. 28, 1963. The full text of the speech is included at the back of the book.

Positive messages

All men are created equal, people of different races, creeds and backgrounds should be able to sit down together and join hands as brothers and sisters, people should be judged not by the color of their skin but the content of their character, have faith that justice will come, carve hope out of despair, stand up for freedom, let freedom ring everywhere in our country.

Positive role models & representations

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a great leader of the civil rights movement of the 1960s and a great American hero. He brought people of different races and backgrounds together and helped change America. His "I Have a Dream" speech shows how eloquent and inspiring he was as a speaker.

Violence & scariness
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that I Have a Dream illustrates excerpts of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s famous speech, delivered from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial at the March on Washington in 1963. Author-illustrator Kadir Nelson won a 2013 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor for this picture book. Families should be prepared to discuss the civil rights movement of the 1960s, discrimination, the legacy of slavery, and King's assassination.

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What's the story?

Award-winning author-illustrator Kadir Nelson illustrates excerpts of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s famous I HAVE A DREAM speech, delivered from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial at the March on Washington in 1963.

Is it any good?

With vivid panoramas and moving close-ups, award-winning author-illustrator Kadir Nelson amplifies the meaning of King's words. There are close-up portraits of King's face as well as pictures of black and white kids and adults together, holding hands and standing up for freedom, justice, and equality. Even if you feel you've heard this speech a million times, Nelson's stunning full-color paintings give it new life, underscoring the intensity and raw truth of King's message. The pictures are big and bold and the text spare, so even little kids can grasp the historical moment and its lasting impact.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Do you know why there's a holiday that celebrates his life?

  • What stories have you read or seen on TV or in the movies about Martin Luther King, Jr.?

  • What other historical figures do you know about who had a big impact on American history?

Book details

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For kids who love African-American stories

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