Last month on MLK day one of the bedtime books I read for my first grader daughter was an age appropriate, mini biography of Martin Luther King, Jr. She has been studying about Reverend King for several weeks beforehand at school so she was already familiar with the topic and the person. Seeing real photographs from his life enhanced her knowledge and experience. I was delighted to see the 8 photos and share it with her. The words of the book were a bit too simplistic for her vocabulary, but too advanced for her current reading level. It must be hard to find the right balance between these two for first graders. Even though the book used a simple, sharp looking, sans-serif font, 2-6 lines at every double page, she liked listening to it as opposed to reading it.
I believe she enjoyed the book more than I did. I had no problem with the content, quite the contrary, but the design of the book was not up to a lot of other books I read to her. Those were a joy to hold and look at; this was not. I assume they didn’t want the biography of an assassinated leader to look too “fun”, but the end result was that it looked boring and disjointed. Thus she was less interested in discussing the educational topics that were prompted by questions in the books for the readers. She just wanted to keep moving on. It held her attention, but not for long.
I can recommend the book only for a child (and her/his parents) who haven’t heard too much of Mr. King before. They can surely appreciate it even more than we did.