By Mila Vincent with Nancy Churnin~
Mila, our five-year-old theater critic, was excited to read Martin & Anne, Nancy Churnin’s picture book about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Anne Frank. January 18 is Dr. King’s birthday and a national holiday. Anne Frank is one of the many victims of the Holocaust recognized on Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27.
Mila is pictured with two candlesticks that belonged to her great-great grandparents who lived in Russia. One candlestick in memory of Dr. King; the other, in memory of Anne Frank. As Anne did in her diary and as Dr. King did all his life, the picture also shows Mila writing to pay respect to two people whose words continue to inspire us today.
Martin & Anne: The Kindred Spirits of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Anne Frank
Author: Nancy Churnin
Illustrator: Yevgenia Nayberg
Publisher: Creston Books/Lerner Books*
Mila: This book tells about two famous people born the same year: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Anne Frank. They didn’t even know each other, but they had some things in common. Dr. King was born in America and had dark skin, so lots of white people didn’t like him. Anne Frank was born in Germany and was Jewish, so many people didn’t like her, either.
My Grandma said this is called racism. Martin Luther King, Jr., protested because he believed everyone should be treated as equals. He couldn’t even go to some parks because he wasn’t a white person. The same thing happened with Anne Frank. She couldn’t buy ice cream or go to a movie because she was Jewish.
They both wanted a better world. It was sad because Anne Frank died after the bad people in her country put her in a camp. And Martin Luther King, Jr., got shot by a bad person. But Anne Frank left a diary and wrote that she still believed there were good people in the world. And Martin Luther King, Jr., taught people to protest and stand up for what is right.
Johannah: Martin & Anne is an excellent book for kids because it explains what discrimination is in simple ways. It is impactful when a child hears that another child wasn’t even allowed to buy ice cream. There is no violence in the book, but it points out that love is stronger than hate and that there are many more good people in the world than bad ones. After reading the book to a five- or six-year-old, I recommend discussing discrimination and how it is wrong.
**Learn more about Martin & Anne, get a free teacher guide, resources, trailer, and explore the Kindred Spirits project on nancychurnin.com