This is the first book I’ve ever read about someone not liking themselves because of their race.
Thank you, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.! by Eleanora E. Tate is about a fourth-grader named Mary Elouise. She is ashamed of being black because of what she has been taught about black people being brought to America in chains and forced into slavery. She gets really embarrassed when her classmate repeats what their white teacher said about Africans having hair that stuck out all over the place.
Even though her Big Momma tells her to be “proud of what she’s got,” Mary Elouise wishes she had pinkish skin like one of the blond girls in her class.
But when she gets a black teacher, Mary Elouise’s feelings about herself start to change. Miz Imani understood how Mary Elouise felt about her heritage and helped her feel proud about her African roots.
This book had a strong message about being happy the way you are. It also showed the importance of having role models in your life who have the same cultural background you do.
Even though Martin Luther King, Jr. is in the title, the book really isn’t about him. Martin Luther King and other famous black Americans are part of the black history play the students do. And they thank him for helping set all people free. But I don’t really know why the author added this title. I think it should be called Thank you, Miz Imani or something like that.
I recommend this book to ages 9-12. This is a good book for “One School, One Book” programs, because it will help kids learn about diversity around them. Parents need to read this with their kids, though, to help explain what they don’t understand.
This book was pretty good. I rate it three out of four roses.