On August 28, 1963, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave one of the most powerful and memorable speeches in our nation’s history. His words, paired with Caldecott Honor winner Kadir Nelson’s magnificent paintings, make for a picture book certain to be treasured by children and adults alike. I Have A Dream (Schwartz & Wade. 2012. Reprint edition.) A Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book.

Book is read in the video by children’s author and elementary school teacher Julie Lake to the first and second grade students of Jubilee Academy in Austin, Texas.

It’s instructive to see how Kadir Nelson interprets visually the phenomenally moving language of Dr. King in this historic speech. The images are of beauty, natural splendor, freshness, youth and stirring hope. A unique interpretation, but no surprise considering Nelson’s vision as a fine artist and children’s book illustrator.

Nelson has also authored and illustrated several award-winning New York Times Best-Selling picture books including, WE ARE THE SHIP: The Story of Negro League Baseball and Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans.

As he writes on his website, “I feel that art’s highest function is that of a mirror, reflecting the innermost beauty and divinity of the human spirit; and is most effective when it calls the viewer to remember one’s highest self. I choose subject matter that has emotional and spiritual resonance and focuses on the journey of the hero as it relates to the personal and collective stories of people.“

Not to be left out on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day are these terrific nonfiction picture books that tell of Dr. King’s impact in different ways. The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a Young Civil Rights Activist by Cynthia Levinson, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley- Newton. (Atheneum) presents a ‘first hand’ account of the youngest child to be arrested during the 1963 Birmingham Children’s Match protest.

The Cart That Carried Martin by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Don Tate (Charlesbridge) relates the sad day in 1968 when the nation buried one of its greatest leaders. His casket was carried in a humble wooden cart that was painted green and pulled by two mules. “Bunting’s thoughtful, well-chosen words, coupled with Don Tate’s soft colors provide the reader with a sense of hope and reverence, rather than the grief and despair one might expect. “

Golden Kite Awards announced

Congratulations to Becca Stadtlander for winning the 2019 SCBWI Golden Kite Award for Picture Book Illustration for her illustrations for Made by Hand: A Crafts Sampler, written by Carole Lexa Schaefer(Candlewick.)

Made by Hand is “a beautiful, one-of-a-kind volume invites readers to marvel at the time, effort, and care that went into creating handmade toys, tools, and treasures of the past,” today’s announcement said.

The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) is the world-wide professional community for individuals who write and illustrate for children and young adults. Its Golden Kites are the first children’s literary award judged by a jury of peers. The awards recognize excellence in children’s literature in six categories: Young Reader and Middle Grade Fiction, Young Adult Fiction, Non-Fiction for Younger Readers, Non-Fiction for Older Readers, Picture Book Illustration, and Picture Book Text.
The awards will be presented at a gala February 8 during the SCBWI New York Winter Conference.

Read about all the 2019 Golden Kite Award winners who were announced Tuesday today on the SCBWI website.