Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with children: We March, by Shane Evans (ages 4 - 8)

As we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day at our school, I love sharing Shane Evans' We March with our youngest students. We March is filled with solemn purpose, hope and determination as it teaches young children about the Civil Rights Movement and the 1963 March on Washington.
We March
written and illustrated by Shane Evans
Roaring Brook / Macmillan, 2012
ages 4 - 8
available on Amazon and your local library
Shane Evans helps young children understand the March on Washington by showing them a family's day as they get ready to join the march. This remarkable event, when more than 250,000 people gathered to protest for better jobs and equal rights, is brought right down to a child's view.

A family joins neighbors to pray at their church, paint signs and travel by bus to Washington. They walk and sing and grow tired but “are filled with hope” as they stand together at the Washington Monument to listen to Dr. King speak of dreams and freedom.

Evans uses very simple, pared down sentences and tells the story through his stirring artwork so that young preschoolers and kindergarteners can grasp the importance of this moment in our history. It reminds us all that the efforts of ordinary people matter. As we talk about celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with our children and our students, I hope we keep these messages at heart. Each of our contributions can make the world a better place.

Shane Evans is truly a remarkable artist. As his friend and collaborator Taye Diggs wrote in the Horn Book, Shane is a “renaissance man. A true artist, in every sense of the word. Illustrator, painter, sculptor, photographer, singer, songwriter, musician, composer…the list goes on. He’s the type of cat who just randomly picks up a guitar, and next thing you know, he’s teaching you how to play.” I had the pleasure of seeing Evans talk at the 2012 Coretta Scott King Awards Breakfast last summer. He played the guitar, sang and inspired a room full of admiring librarians.

Images copyright © 2012 by Shane W. Evans. Published by Neal Porter/Roaring Brook Press, New York. Images used with permission of publisher. The review copy was kindly sent by the publishers, Roaring Brook, an imprint of Macmillan. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you!). Thank you for your support.

Review ©2012 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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