By NATALIE SCOTT
Poland Union Elementary School Principal Mike Masucci read “My Brother Martin: A Sister Remembers Growing Up With Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” by Christine King Farris to students in Missy Kountz third-grade class Jan. 18 to mark the remembrance of King.
“Reading books like this to children is important,” said Masucci. “When I do a lesson like this, it’s really important for me to have the students realize that this isn’t their principal reading to them, but a dad and a PTO member reading to his daughter’s class. It’s very important to me and I love this book.”
Farris’ book is a very different approach to telling the story of King. This story only briefly touches on his adulthood, choosing instead to focus on those seldom thought-of moments: King’s childhood with his siblings and the events, however small they may seem, that pushed King to become the person he became.
“A very important thing in this book, for me, is the color yellow. It is everywhere in these pictures,” said Masucci. “To me, the color yellow is utilized to show a bright, hopeful beginning. This story is a new side to the history of Dr. King.
The story showed that King and his siblings were just like other children of their time: they played pranks, got into trouble and had friends in their neighborhood, including a white family down the road from them. When that family told King and his siblings that they could no longer play with their children, they were first introduced to some of the problems with the world they were growing up in.
Farris notes a story about their father, who was arrested by a police officer without just cause and how their father’s calm and collected behavior would form some of the basis for King’s acts of civil disobedience.
The story ended with pictures of King at a few of the rallies and marches he would lead in his adult life. After the lesson, students were asked to write their dreams on a cutout of their silhouette to hang in the halls of the school.