Perfect Picture Book Friday – A Place To Land: Martin Luther King Jr. And The Speech That Inspired A Nation

Woo hoo!

Perfect Picture Book Friday has rolled around again!

Although this book came out a few months ago, I’ve been waiting to review it for today – a perfect Friday for this Perfect Picture Book about Martin Luther King Jr.’s I Have A Dream Speech since we will celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday.

A Place To Land

Title: A Place To Land: Martin Luther King Jr. And The Speech That Inspired A Nation

Written By: Barry Wittenstein

Illustrated By: Jerry Pinkney

Neal Porter Books, August 27 2019, nonfiction

I don’t normally include awards, but this one has won so many I thought I should mention them 🙂

Selected for the Texas Bluebonnet Master List
Winner of the Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children

A 2019 Booklist Editors’ Choice
Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year
Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year
School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
Nominated for an NAACP Image Award

Suitable For Ages: 7-10

Themes/Topics: history, civil rights, following your dreams, inspiration and revision

Opening: “Martin Luther King Jr. was once asked if the hardest part of preaching was knowing where to begin.
‘No,’ he said.  ‘The hardest part is knowing where to end.
It’s terrible to be circling up there without a place to land.’

Brief Synopsis: (From the publisher)  “On the night before the historic March on Washington, Martin Luther King Jr. debated, worked, and wrote late into the night, trying to decide what to say— and how to say it. This little-known story celebrates not only the famed ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, but the influences of many other pioneering Civil Rights leaders who helped shape those famous words.”

Links To Resources: the book itself is a resource, both in the true story it tells and in the substantial back matter which include both a note from the author and note from the illustrator along with short bios of the Willard Hotel Advisors, “Other Voices”, and “Who Spoke At The March On Washington.”

Why I Like This Book: As a writer who often searches for the right words, the right way to say something, the right thing to say, I really appreciate this look at how Martin Luther King Jr. crafted his famous I Have A Dream Speech.  Not only will young readers learn about the facts surrounding the writing of this speech – the people whose thoughts contributed and the history of the moment – they will also learn something about the writing process – about considering, articulating, revising, perfecting (as much as possible), and finally delivering a finished piece.  About the uncertainty of wondering, have I said it right? Have I done the best job I can do?  I think it’s encouraging for children to know that adults also write and revise, wonder and doubt, struggle to get things right.  And in this case, not just an adult, but a famous, influential historical figure.  It’s also really interesting to hear about this famous speech from this perspective – the crafting of it – rather than just the finished words themselves.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do 🙂

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

PPBF folks, please add your titles and post-specific links (and any other info you feel like filling out 🙂 ) to the form below so we can all come see what fabulous picture books you’ve chosen to share this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!! 🙂

10 thoughts on “Perfect Picture Book Friday – A Place To Land: Martin Luther King Jr. And The Speech That Inspired A Nation

  1. ptnozell says:

    This is one of my top 10 picture books of the past decade. Barry found a way into a person and speech that have been written about so many times & made them fresh & inspiring. I don’t think we’re seeing the end of the awards any time soon. So glad that you featured it today. I hope many teachers are reading it in their classrooms.

  2. julie rowan zoch says:

    Your post just gave me a great idea: our little city has a big MLKjr March, one I always participate in, and our university student’s organize. After we march we come together for speaches, poetry readings, dance performances and break-out sessions for community action. It may be too late for this year, but I will suggest a storytime as one of the features next year!

  3. Sarah Tobias says:

    WOW! This looks and sounds like a fantastic book. I look forward to reading it.

    As a side note, I had to laugh, when I finally had a moment to read your Tuesday Debut and saw that it was for the same book I was writing a PPBF post about. The week you write about Fry Bread, I was planning my post for that book as well.

    Great minds think a like.

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