Listen To My Dream
by Debi Pearl
Pearl Books

"There are some words I need to know.
Big words, neat words: words to show
How man should stand for what is right.
I gotta study with all my might
I must prepare my dream to share.
There's folks that need me
Waiting out there. "

In Listen To My Dream, Debi Pearl's poetic narrative cuts to the heart, sparking young reader's imaginations, while her vivid illustrations effectively dramatize Dr. Martin Luther King's determination, from a young age, to overcome raced-based inequality that was once the norm in America—prior to Congress passing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Drawing on her experience as a young woman in the small TN town where she volunteered in a single-story hospital—aiding wounded black soldiers barely older than she was—Pearl's initial "call to action" regarding the Civil Rights Movement was initiated when she began to view her familiar world of a bigoted "Old South" through the eyes of the wounded black soldiers that had never seen "No Coloreds Allowed" or "Whites Only" signs.

From the opening of the book, which depicts a young King asking his mother why he was black and wasn't treated like others... Mama Dear, Why am I black, and why do I have to be at the back? Through to the closing after King's murder in 1968... His dream became his passion, his passion our release, from the years of degradation from the years of misery. We have risen! We are free! So is he! Pearl highlights the theme of the importance of developing and pursuing dreams.

And though Pearl had initially created Listen To My Dream as a creative learning resource for teaching her children about an important piece of American history that she had lived through, word of mouth about her touching little book quickly spread, resulting in hundreds of orders by churches, schools, and libraries. But, the sales resulting from the first printing of Listen To My Dream, led to an unintentional infringement on Dr. King's legacy, and The King Foundation copyright. Absent the funds needed to pay for licensing fees, Pearl had no choice but to suspend her initial publication of the book.

Now, 24 years later, after Pearl has sold nearly a million books on parenting which have been translated into 30 different languages, the Heirs to the Estate of Martin Luther King Jr. have granted Pearl approval to republish, Listen To My Dream, allowing Pearl's simple and direct prose, depicting the influence of Martin Luther King Jr.'s influence on the Civil Rights Movement in America, to inspire generations to come.

Emotionally powerful, informative, and entertaining, Listen To My Dream is a delight to the eyes and ears (when read aloud) and it will surely prompt young readers to link Dr. King's determination to overcome hardships to their own lives and communities, their own relevant experiences, responsibilities, dreams, and visions of their world.

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