A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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.
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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?
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