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Young Martin's Promise
Young Martin's Promise
(Walter Dean Myers, Alex Haley, Barbara Higgins Bond)

Young Martin's PromiseYoung Martin's Promise (October 1992)
Young Martin's Promise is the story of a young Martin Luther King, Jr., and his slow awakening to the existence of segregation. As a child, Martin experiences discrimination that would motivate his efforts to end segregation as an adult.
In one instance, his White friends tell Martin that their parents said they can no longer play with him any more because he is Black. This upsets Martin and results in his mother telling him about segregation as she tries to comfort him.
Another instance is at the shoe store with his father. After taking seats in the front of the store, Martin and his father are told they must take seats in the rear of the store because, as the White clerk tells them, "that is the only place we serve black people." Martin and his father refuse to move and end up leaving the store without buying shoes. Martin is upset and this time his father talks to him about segregation telling him that it is "stupid and cruel."
Walter Dean Myers is a published author of many young adult and children's books. Some of his credits include Young Martin's Promise (Stories of America), Malcolm X By Any Means Necessary and The African-American Struggle for Freedom.
Barbara Higgins Bond is a published author and illustrator of many children's books. Some of her credits include Young Martin's Promise (Stories of America), When I Was Little and Please Don't Wake the Animals: A Book About Sleep.
Alex Haley, as General Editor, wrote the following introduction note:
A Note From Alex Haley, General Editor
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never harm me. You've heard that one before, haven't you? If you have, you know it's only half true. Sticks and stones may break your bones. Words, though, can and do harm you, too.
Rules are made up of words. Rules can do a lot of harm if they're unfair. They can even take away your freedom. And there isn't a greater harm than that in the world.
This is a story about a young boy who felt the pain of unfair rules. It is a story about how he learned that you can change what is wrong. ~ Alex Haley.
(The above Foreword by Alex Haley is presented under the Creative Commons License. © 1993 Dialogue Systems, Inc. All Rights Reserved.)
Young Martin's Promise • Reviews
"Young Martin's Promise is about how a little boy responded to injustice with love. It can precipitate a nice discussion among preschoolers to second-graders about choices and how to react when things are truly unfair. I think this book is easy for little ones to relate to, especially if this is the first they've heard of Martin Luther King, Jr." - Boise, Idaho.
"As a child, young Martin Luther King, Jr., is hurt and saddened by rules separating black children from white children. With dignity and courage, he determines to fight segregation, making it the cause of his life's work." - Cambium Learning.
"This book focuses on two incidents that seem to have influenced Martin Luther King, Jr., in his adult life and work. The first involved white neighborhood children who were forbidden to play with him after they began to attend different schools. The second occurred when he and his father were asked to move to the rear of a shoe store to obtain service. After King's parents explained that these inequities were caused by segregation, he promised to work to change the laws." - School Library Journal.
"The emphasis on relevance to the child reader, evident by the focus on childhood incidents, the identification of the changes in education which Martin Luther King, Jr., brought about, and a statement of our nation's reason for celebrating his birthday add to the strengths of the text. A weakness exists in the abrupt jump from King's childhood experiences to his civil-rights work; nevertheless, this is a good primer." - Horn Book Review.
"Young Martin's Promise relates the events in Martin Luther King, Jr.'s, childhood, which sowed the seeds for his activism for equal rights for people, regardless of their color." - Publisher Comments.

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