March On! The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
March On! The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World Movie Poster Image
Powerful, kid-friendly intro to black history stories.
  • NR
  • 2010
  • 69 minutes

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 1 review

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Children (and their parents) will learn about the civil rights movement, Martin Luther King Jr., his family, the march on Washington, Rosa Parks, the Alabama bus boycott, and the underground railroad.

Positive Messages

Positive messages include the importance of equal treatment of all people, the way individuals can make a difference and overcome tremendous adversity, the fact that there wasn't always a time in America when a black man could've ever been president, and the inherent unfairness of slavery.

Positive Role Models & Representations

All of the individuals featured, most prominently Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks and Henry "Box" Brown, made many personal sacrifices to fight for their basic freedoms. Civil Rights activists, in particular, are wonderful role models, because they acted selflessly to help further an important cause, even though being a freedom fighter came at a high price.

Violence & Scariness

The narratives mention how slaves were often separated from their families, that MLK was killed, the unfair practices of segregation, and that Emmet Till was "lynched."

Sexy Stuff
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this Scholastic Storybook DVD includes narrations of four children's books about the civil rights movement and black history. Two focus on Martin Luther King Jr., one follows Rosa Parks and the bus boycott, and the final story chronicles how a slave mailed himself to freedom. Although the DVD is preschooler-friendly (it's basically just narration accompanying images from the books and archival photographs), there are some words like "boycott," "segregation," and "lynching" (not to mention all of the pro-integration political organizations) that will go over younger viewers' heads. The stories provide powerful examples of individuals who stood up to, as author Nikki Giovanni calls them, "evil customs" and made a tremendous impact to African-American history.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bywriterskramp August 7, 2011

See the light! The flag IS appropriate!

In Martin Luther King Jrs words "Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that. Hatred cannot drive out hatred. Only love can do that"... Continue reading
Parent Written byclayclark555 January 31, 2010
Kid, 0 years old January 25, 2010
insert review text

What's the story?

Released just in time for Martin Luther King Day and Black History Month, MARCH ON! THE DAY MY BROTHER CHANGED THE WORLD... AND MORE STORIES ABOUT AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY is another entry in the Scholastic Storybook Treasures DVD collection. It includes dramatic readings of four children's books, leading off with March On! The Day My Brother Changed the World, written by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s sister Dr. Christine King Ferris about the March on Washington; Doreen Rapport's similarly themed book Martin's Big Words; Nikki Giovanni's biographical story about Rosa Parks, Rosa; and Ellen Levine's underground railroad tale Henry's Freedom Box. The DVD also boasts interviews with Dr. King Ferris and Ellen Levine about their respective books.

Is it any good?

This collection manages to explain how black people were treated unequally in a way even preschoolers should understand on a basic level. Those unfamiliar with Scholastic's Storybook Treasures series should be aware that these are animated adaptations of books; they're old-school narrations (often by the authors themselves or celebrities, in this case Lynn Whitfield, Michael Clarke Duncan, and writer Nikki Giovanni) accompanied by the books' illustrations and some historical photographs. That said, the March On! collection is a perfect introduction to the civil rights movement and black history for young kids. The four easy-to-follow stories all depict a time in American history when African Americas were treated either as chattel or second-class citizens -- not exactly simple concepts for children to grasp.

Hearing about the pivotal "I Have a Dream" speech from the perspective of King's sister, or about Rosa Parks' day before she fatefully sat on that Montgomery bus, or how a slave, despondent over the loss of his sold wife and children, overcame his grief to mail himself to freedom, is important for kids and their parents. Entertaining and educational, this DVD will teach children and remind adults of the sacrifices so many individuals have made for the cause of freedom -- from slavery and inequality.



Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the issues of injustice and racial prejudice, and how African Americans had to overcome being treated so cruelly and unfairly.

  • How did MLK, Rosa Parks, and Henry "Box" Brown each stand up to "evil customs"? How did they enact change?

  • Why is it still important to discuss slavery and Jim Crow segregation -- both deplorable aspects of American history? How are things different now for African Americans?

  • Why does Dr. King Ferris say black children growing up now can have bigger dreams than when she and her brother Martin were kids? Does President Obama being black mean there is no more racial prejudice?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love African American stories

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate