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DVD Review: March On! The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World…and More Stories About African American History

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Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Henry Box Brown — these are names that bring tears to our eyes, make our hearts swell in appreciation for courageous sacrifice, and make us incredibly grateful for the freedom we’ve been blessed with here in North America. March On! The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World is a new release in the Scholastic Storybook Treasures collection which presents beloved modern classic picture books in DVD adaptations complete with narration.

Four picture book adaptations are included on the DVD with 15 awards between them. March On! is written by King’s sister, Christine King Farris, and focuses tightly upon King’s unforgettable “I Have a Dream” speech. Martin’s Big Words places the passionate defender of equal rights in the larger setting of the civil rights movement and draws more of his childhood upbringing into his adult character. Rosa shares the story of Rosa Parks, the bus incident, and the ensuing protests in a warmly personal way that children can relate to. Henry’s Freedom Box is the tremendously sad, and equally jubilant story of Henry Box Brown and his unusual escape to freedom.

Overall the Christian background of many influential figures in the civil rights movement is prominently mentioned throughout the DVD. I truly appreciated this accurate depiction of the faith and motivation for these individuals, free from secular re-writing. The shorts are also often accompanied by moving gospel singing in the background as appropriate.

Unlike some of the other installments in the Scholastic Storybook Treasures read-along DVD series, March On! consists of modern storybook adaptations, all hailing from within the last decade. Like the other DVDs in the collection, March On! includes optional English read-along subtitles which are highlighted as each word is read by the narrator.

The shorts are uniformly composed of panning across, zooming in on, layering, and moving the original illustrations work with no animation (some minor exceptions). The title short March On! also includes black and white photographs from the civil rights protests of 1963 and Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech preparations and presentations, just as Rosa shares archival photographs.

Running approximately 69 minutes in length, the DVD also features two wonderful extra features, interviews with Martin Luther King Jr.’s sister, the author of March On! and Ellen Levine, the author of Henry’s Freedom Box.

Selling for approximately $15.00, March On! The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World is an affordable choice for parents and educators. An excellent range of high-quality picture books dealing with the quest for equal rights for people of all colors is provided for the cost of a single picture book, and the production quality is excellent. This DVD can easily be used for supplemental teaching or introductions to Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Black History Month.

It is easy for our young children to take the lack of segregation and abundance of freedom in our society for granted. I doubt any of us can argue that we’ve fully arrived, but still, my young children have had a difficult time wrapping their heads around concepts such as slavery, segregation, and racial discrimination. Forays into a history not long past can ensure that we don’t forget the legacy begun by the works of courage of African Americans such as those we meet on this DVD.

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