Wow. In 1963, in front of the Lincoln Memorial, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave one of the most important speeches of the 20th century. It is entitled “I Have a Dream” and it was delivered as part of the March on Washington, a march in support of civil rights for African Americans. This book pairs the words of the last third of the speech with Kadir Nelson’s outstanding illustrations.
Nelson has won two Caldecott Honors, a Robert F. Sibert Medal and a Coretta Scott King Honor Award. In “I Have a Dream” he captures the power of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.. Nelson includes two head shots of Dr. King. The first is paired with “I have a dream today.” The second is paired with “From every mountainside, let freedom ring.” Both show the strength and intensity of Dr. King. Nelson also paints a two-page spread of a white hand and a black hand holding each other. It’s hard to imagine a better way to visualize the meaning of the speech.
At the end of the book the entire speech is printed. The book also comes with a CD of the entire speech. It’s remarkable to listen to the speech on the CD, notice when the book begins to pick up the words of the speech, and continue to listen to the speech while reading the words and looking at the illustrations. It makes for a very powerful experience for one who was a child during the civil rights movement.
“I Have a Dream” is an excellent tool to open new generations of children to the civil rights movement and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This book demonstrates that Dr. King’s power continues into the 21st century.