Monday, January 17, 2011

Children’s books and DVD honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and civil rights icons that changed the course of history

In celebration of Dr. King and other civil rights icons that changed the course of American history, by their words and through their inspirational deeds, Scholastic Storybook Treasures in conjunction with Weston Woods Studios, the award-winning audio/visual division of Scholastic Media, provide an outstanding children’s DVD, MARCH ON! THE DAY MY BROTHER MARTIN CHANGED THE WORLD…AND MORE STORIES ABOUT AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY.

Today, as we honor the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his legacy of peace, this DVD is more relevant than ever before.

MARCH ON makes history come alive for children ages five-through-ten in this hour-plus excellent compilation of audiovisual adaptations of classic children’s picture books, all based on historical facts and produced with narration, interwoven music and a special highlighted read-along feature that helps bolster the abilities of emerging readers.

Altogether, the four featured books on which the DVD is based have garnered a total of 15 awards that include such prestigious honors as: the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Children’s Video; the Caldecott Honor Award, and as a “Notable Video” selection from the American Library Association

The DVD’s title story, March On! The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World (based on the book written by Dr. Christine King Farris and illustrated by London Ladd) chronicles the life of Dr. Martin Luther King through the observations of his sister, Christine, and highlights the events that brought Dr. King to the day of his momentous “I Had a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963. Beautifully narrated by Lynn Whitfield with music by Michael Bacon, the story unfolds through the use of the book’s visual renderings as well as photographs from the era. Included are song clips of singer, Mahalia Jackson, and stirring excerpts from Martin Luther King’s dramatic speech that changed the course of history.

Martin’s Big Words (adapted from the book by Doreen Rappaport and illustrated by Michael Collier) is the second story on the DVD and covers the promise Martin Luther King made to himself as a child, “to get big words,” which he used, years later, to promote racial harmony and help make a difference in this world. Exquisite clips of Collier’s watercolor and collage artwork from the book are effectively combined with Dr. King’s own “words” and Rappaport’s text.

Rosa (based on the book of the same title written and narrated by Nikki Giovanni with illustrations by Michael Sporn) is about the caring and talented Montgomery, Alabama seamstress, Rosa Parks, whose 1955 act of civil disobedience (when she refused to give up her bus seat to a white man) sparked a national awakening to the plight and mistreatment of persons because of their race.

Henry’s Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad (based on the book by Ellen Levine that was illustrated by Kadir Nelson) is the fascinating account of Henry Brown, a slave, who during his life endured the separation from his mother and enforced labor at an early age, the loss of his wife and children when they were sold off in a slave market, and his own eventual escape to freedom when he literally (in 1849) mailed himself in a wooden crate, to a “place where there are no slaves.”

In addition to the four featured stories on the DVD, there are two “extras” included – interviews with authors Farris and Levine.

MARCH ON! THE DAY MY BROTHER MARTIN CHANGED THE WORLD…AND MORE STORIES ABOUT AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY DVD is available direct from Scholastic at a special sales price of $11.96.

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