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As Good As Anybody    by Richard Michelson & Raul Colon order for
As Good As Anybody
by Richard Michelson
Order:  USA  Can
Knopf, 2008 (2008)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Richard Michelson's As Good As Anybody presents, in picture book format, a key moment (though it's not commonly remembered today) in American history that brought together two significant leaders in 'Martin Luther King, Jr. and Abraham Joshua Heschel's Amazing March Toward Freedom'. Raul Colon's solemn and emotive illustrations treat the subject matter with the seriousness that it deserves.

The book opens on quotes from both leaders, each speaking up against discrimination toward the other man's people. Then that prejudice is revealed in a way that young readers can understand. First we see young Martin encountering 'WHITES ONLY' signs wherever he goes, and then receiving wise counsel from his father and comfort from his mother. Martin grew up to be a minister like his dad, telling his congregation, 'Don't ever forget that you are just as good as anybody!' He marched for equal rights and he kept on marching.

After an attack on the Selma to Montgomery protest march, we're told that Martin 'put out a call for all of God's children to join the march.' Who answered? Amongst others, a man named Abraham, who grew up in Warsaw, Poland 'with his head held high' because his rabbi father told him, 'You are as good as anybody.' Then Hitler came to power in Germany where Abraham taught, and - just as Martin had - he faced signs. His said 'NO JEWS ALLOWED'. He made his way to America, but many of his family were killed in Warsaw. In America, Abraham marched for equal rights - and in 1965 he answered Martin's call.

As Good As Anybody - which teaches kids an important lesson about standing up, not only for their own rights, but for others - ends with a summary of what happened to these great men after the march, and of how they eventually found freedom in the next world, while in this one 'their family, friends, and followers are still marching.' This excellent picture book will ignite important discussions with children at home and at school.

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