Cover image for As good as anybody : Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Joshua Heschel's amazing march toward freedom
As good as anybody : Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Joshua Heschel's amazing march toward freedom

1st ed.
Publication Information:
New York : A.A. Knopf, c2008.
Physical Description:
1 v. (unpaged) : col. ill. ; 29 cm.
Reading Level:
680 L Lexile
Added Author:
The story of two icons for social justice, how they formed a remarkable friendship and turned their personal experiences of discrimination into a message of love and equality for all.


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Book E 323.092 MIC 0 1

On Order



MARTIN LUTHER KING, Jr. and Abraham Joshua Heschel. Their names stand for the quest for justice and equality.Martin grew up in a loving family in the American South, at a time when this country was plagued by racial discrimination. He aimed to put a stop to it. He became a minister like his daddy, and he preached and marched for his cause.Abraham grew up in a loving family many years earlier, in a Europe that did not welcome Jews. He found a new home in America, where he became a respected rabbi like his father, carrying a message of peace and acceptance.Here is the story of two icons for social justice, how they formed a remarkable friendship and turned their personal experiences of discrimination into a message of love and equality for all.

Author Notes

Richard Michelson is an award-winning poet and children's book author whose work has been praised by Elie Wiesel as "deeply moving." He lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Raul Col#65533;n is the recipient of both Gold and Silver Medals from the Society of Illustrators. He lives in New City, New York.

Reviews 6

Publisher's Weekly Review

Michelson (Tuttle's Red Barn) deftly draws comparisons between Martin Luther King Jr. and the German-born rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel as he describes what led them to walk together in the famous 1965 civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala. His brisk narrative, divided in two parts, chronicles their parallel experiences: both have parents who instill self-respect, both encounter discrimination and hatred, and both follow their fathers into religious careers. The first half, which Colón renders in earthy hues, covers King, while the blue palette of the second half focuses on Heschel. (Blue reminded the illustrator of "old movies about Europe in the World War II era.") Similar language in both sections, e.g., the titular "You are just as good as anybody," as well as scenes that echo each other, drive home the connections. Subtle variations in wording and layout keep the parallels from feeling contrived. Colón's (My Mama Had a Dancing Heart) trademark mixed-media illustrations incorporate wavy, etched lines full of movement, suggesting the dynamism of a pastor and rabbi who insisted on bringing about change. Ages 6-10. (May) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

Horn Book Review

Abraham Joshua Heschel, a rabbi born in Eastern Europe, becomes a stalwart friend to Martin Luther King Jr. as the Baptist preacher urges America toward new standards of equality and freedom. In this story, readers first meet King as a young boy, then Heschel; their shared story later unfolds. The swirling, textured colored-pencil and watercolor illustrations. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* In this powerful, well-crafted story about a partnership between two great civil rights leaders, Michelson shows how the fight for human rights affects everyone. Martin Luther King and Polish rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel each grew up in a loving, religious household, where each was taught clear messages about self-respect. As an adult, Heschel escaped the Nazis and immigrated to America, but he lost much of his family during the Holocaust. Driven to fight bigotry in all its forms, he became a supporter of King. Michelson writes in poetic language that gracefully uses repetitive sentence structures and themes to emphasize the similarities between the two men's lives. Also admirable is Michelson's ability to convey complex historical concepts, such as segregation, in clear, potent terms that will speak directly to readers: Martin was thirsty, but the signs said WHITES ONLY. In both palette and style, Colón's colored-pencil and watercolor art, with gauzy textures and frequently used sepia tones, suggests the past, but his themes carry right into today's headlines. Scenes of terrifying, chaotic, violent struggle give way to the gorgeous, closing image, which shows King and Heschel marching arm in arm. Stirring opening quotes and an appended page of more biographical facts close this exceptional title for sharing and discussion.--Engberg, Gillian Copyright 2008 Booklist

New York Review of Books Review

Jay and Ray are fed up with being identical twins, "tired of always seeing that question mark in the eyes of the kids at school." So when Ray stays home sick on the first day of sixth grade and only "Jay Grayson" gets called for attendance, the boys dream up a prank: every other day they trade places in class, as well as in homework assignments, crushes and sports tryouts; the other one hides out at home. The plan works brilliantly for a while, and Clements is good at making us believe the brothers would be desperate enough to try it. THE LONESOME PUPPY Written and illustrated by Yoshitomo Nara. Chronicle. $17.99. (Ages 3 and up) Stranger and far more eloquent than Clifford the big red dog, the puppy of this book's title is so huge he straddles the earth: "I was too big for anyone to notice me, and that is why I was always all alone and lonesome." Until one day a tiny, brave girl does notice - "The girl was very surprised. I was surprised, too" - and each makes a friend. The oddly flat, expressionless appearance of the girl is almost off-putting, but the big puppy is a creature to warm up to. THE PENDERWICKS ON GARDAM STREET By Jeanne Birdsall. Knopf. $15.99. (Ages 8 to 12) Birdsall's second novel, a sequel to her National Book Award-winning "Penderwicks," offers comforting comedy in an Austen- and Alcott-like vein. Four years after his wife has died, Mr. Penderwick opens a letter she had written (and entrusted to his sister), urging him to begin dating again. So his daughters spring into action, orchestrating the worst dates they can think of, convinced that he's not ready yet - and neither are they. Subplots converge in a predictable fashion, but the various romantic misadventures (not just Dad's) are appealing. OOPS! By Alan Katz. Illustrated by Edward Korea. Margaret K. McElderry/Simon & Schuster. $17.99. (Ages 4 to 8) Like a goofier Shel Silverstein, Katz finds inspiration for poems in unusual subjecter including penmanship ("my b's all look like d's"), eggs ("they don't have eyes, they don't have legs") bowling alleys and, of course, bathrooms. Keren's drawings give "Oops!" much of its scruffy charm, and a chatty coda shares Katz's own grade-school verse and some early working titles - as well as an idea for a possible sequel, "Uh-Oh." AS GOOD AS ANYBODY Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Joshua Heschel's Amazing March Toward Freedom. By Richard Michelson. Illustrated by Raul Colon. Knopf. $16.99. (Ages 6 to 10) A portrait of one of the more unusual partnerships of the civil rights movement. The book begins with a young Martin, angry at the "whites only" signs all around him. The scene shifts to Warsaw, where Abraham's father tells him, "Walk like a prince, not a peasant." King and Heschel, a minister and a rabbi, grow up to join together in the 1965 march in Selma, Ala., and this book shows how it happened. A BALLOON FOR A BLUNDERBUSS By Alastair Reid. Illustrated by Bob Gill. Phaidon. $14.95. (Ages 4 to 8) A reissue of a 1961 book, "Balloon" is evocative of a more whimsical time in picture books. The handsome retro illustrations in pen and ink - no computers here - complement Reid's text, which suggests a series of outlandish swaps: a butterfly in the hand earns a wishbone, which in turn can be exchanged for a kite with a tail, then a straw hat, until eventually a tower is traded up for a small army (looking like proper tin soldiers) and even "11 towering icebergs." A comical and poetic flight of fancy, and it all makes a kind of sense. JULIE JUST

School Library Journal Review

Gr 2-5-An eloquent tribute to two great men and their surprising alliance. Michelson explores the kinship between the African-American Baptist minister and a Polish-born rabbi who fled Nazi Germany to teach in America. Both men were raised by wise, loving parents and followed in their fathers' footsteps. Both of them also experienced hatred and prejudice close to home. Whether the signs said "Whites Only" or "No Jews Allowed," they were equally hurtful and inspired them to strive for peace and equal rights for all. The first half of the book offers a simple, concise, and beautifully written early biography of King; the latter describes Heschel's youth. His father instructed him to "Walk like a prince, not a peasant-.You are as good as anybody," echoing the words of King's mother. He answered Dr. King's call and joined the 1965 March to Montgomery with 25,000 others. Colon's signature soft, colored pencil and watercolor illustrations capture the anger and passion of the times. This exemplary introduction to the Civil Rights Movement will appeal to a wide audience. Its message will inspire and unite readers from many backgrounds.-Barbara Auerbach, New York City Public Schools (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

Two boys, one an African-American, one a Polish Jew, learn from their fathers' pride and self-respect. Martin's father believes in looking up instead of down: "The way things are is not the way they always have to be." Abraham's father tells him to "walk like a prince, not a peasant . . . we are all God's children. You are as good as anybody." Martin experiences the discrimination of his Southern town with "whites only" laws. Abraham witnesses the persecution of his Jewish community as the Nazis rise to power. As adults, Reverend King Jr. and Rabbi Heschel heed their parental guidance, coming together to work for America's struggle in the civil-rights movement in this powerful, fictionalized account of 1965's Selma-to-Montgomery march. Col¿n's softly textured colored pencil-and-watercolor illustrations render the early Southern scenes in brown/yellow tones and the European settings in blue/green; the colors blend together in the final pages, bringing out the diversity of skin tones in the march for equality. Gentle, powerful and healing. (Picture book. 7-10) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.