Cover image for M.L.K. : journey of a King
M.L.K. : journey of a King
Publication Information:
New York : Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2007.
Physical Description:
128 p. : ill. ; 26 cm.
Reading Level:
970 L Lexile
Added Author:


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Book J 921 KING 1 1
Book J 921 KING 0 1
Book J 921 KING 1 2

On Order



Coretta Scott KingHonor Winner Tonya Bolden focuses her critical eye on Martin Luther King, Jr. In the tradition of her award-winning book "Maritcha," Tonya Bolden brings words and pictures together to tell the life story of one of America's greatest figures: Martin Luther King, Jr. -- or M.L.K. Central to the story is King's belief that agape -- the selfless love for one's neighbor -- is the rope that binds all peoples together. This philosophy came forward in his sermons, in his daily practice, and especially in his support of nonviolent protests. More than 80 photographs of M.L.K. preaching, leading marches, being arrested, and overcoming the violence and prejudice around him are juxtaposed with images of his wife and family, of his fellow protestors, and of other leaders of the day. A tribute to a great human being, "M.L.K." will surely inspire young readers.

Author Notes

Tonya Bolden is the author of ten books, including "Strong Men Keep Coming", "The Family Heirloom Cookbook", & "33 Things Every Girl Should Know". She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 5

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8-Bolden looks past the public figure to bring the man, and his deeper vision of the "beloved community," into focus in this eloquent, handsomely designed profile. Familiarly calling him "M.L." (a nickname his father used) throughout, the author traces King's life from birth to death, pointing out how reluctantly he assumed the mantle of leadership, then came to espouse Gandhi's nonviolence as a guiding precept, and finally exhausted himself battling not only for civil rights, but also against the Civil Rights Movement's later tide of radicalism. Captions paired to the generous array of photos add further detail, and advanced readers will get fuller pictures of the man and his era from the appended multimedia resource list. Passing quickly over his public triumphs (the "I Have a Dream" speech, for instance, is largely relegated to a caption noting that he had used that refrain before), this portrait, rich in personal feeling and well endowed with direct, sometimes extended, quotes, will leave readers with a strong, and perhaps inspiring, sense of the passion and depth of Dr. King's commitment to peace with justice.-John Peters, New York Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

Using the same inviting scrapbook format as her Tell All the Children Our Story: Memories and Mementos of Being Young and Black in America (which PW called an "impressively researched, imaginatively presented history"), Tonya Bolden here presents Martin Luther King's biography, M.L.K.: Journey of a King. This handsome album of photos, quotes and sidebars houses a narrative of King's life from childhood through his tragically truncated adulthood, with photos ranging from his jail cell to the 1963 March on Washington and his delivery of the "I Have a Dream" speech. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Horn Book Review

This sturdy biography, which the author acknowledges doesn't explore King's flaws, employs quotes from his writings and speeches. More illuminating still are Bolden's well-chosen details: e.g., King used a reference book called Increasing Your Word Power. The pull-quotes and out-of-proportion captions to the often strikingly intimate black-and-white photos sometimes make it unclear where the reader should look next. Timeline. Bib., ind. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.

Kirkus Review

Adding to the growing body of literature about Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement, Bolden attempts to portray the passion of a man for a cause when he could have lived a quiet life untouched by the troubles that would come his way. However, in striving to avoid treating King as an icon, Bolden goes to the other extreme and uses King's nickname "M.L." throughout the text, too informal for a serious biography. Though the volume is attractively packaged, not all of the photographs are of good quality, some sidebars are difficult to read and no sources for young readers are included. The writing is often awkward and wordy, and the story opens with rather unusual speculations on what King might have been thinking as he lay dying from a gunshot that shattered his jaw and severed his spinal cord. Still, an important, comprehensive look at a key figure in the Civil Rights Movement. (author's note, timeline, source notes, sources, index) (Nonfiction. 8-14) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

Do libraries need another biography of King? Yes, if it's as good as this one, which will reach a wide audience. Bolden, whose books include the Coretta Scott King Honor Book Maritcha (2005), brings readers close to the great leader and to the civil rights movement through detailed historical analysis and extensive notes. In an author's note, Bolden says she chose not to detail King's flaws but rather to focus on the dream. The chatty style is accessible (why, though, does Bolden call King by his personal nickname, M. L., throughout?), and the handsome book design will encourage browsers. Stirring, beautifully reproduced, well-captioned photos (at least one on every double-page spread) accompany the text, supplemented with boxed quotes. Everything is fully documented in notes, and Bolden supplies a bibliography and a very detailed time line. Pair this with Andrew Helfer's graphic-novel biography Malcolm X (reviewed below) and with other books about great civil rights leaders. Readers older than the target audience will want this, too. --Hazel Rochman Copyright 2007 Booklist