We wanted to take the opportunity in honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. on this day. Below are a few words from the author of All About Martin Luther King, Jr., Todd Outcalt.
It was a couple of years ago when publisher, Tom Doherty, invited me to contribute to the All About series of children’s biographies. Specifically, he asked me to consider writing the biography of Martin Luther King, Jr. But right away, he wanted to know if I knew anything about the Civil Rights leader, or at least enough to get started on the project.
Since I was born in 1960, I was rather young to remember Dr. King from direct memory and experience, but later in life I did find some rather interesting connections as I studied Martin’s ideas and his writing. I knew, for example, that Martin had attended a United Methodist related graduate school–Boston University–for his Ph.D. studies. I had also applied to BU when I was considering seminaries (I am a United Methodist pastor) and had been accepted to that school as well as to Duke University. And noting Martin’s doctoral dissertation–which was a paper on neo-orthodox theologian Paul Tillich–I realized that I also had written papers on Tillich during my graduate studies.
And then there were the other influences, such as Gandhi and Henry David Thoreau–a diverse duo that I, too, had read and studied years later.
But writing All About Martin Luther King, Jr. was most of all a learning experience. Writers often write in order to learn, and for me, writing this children’s biography was both captivating and challenging.
My hope is that children from all walks of life will gain much from studying about Martin and will come away feeling encouraged and empowered to make changes in their world. Remembering is just one facet of the book. Walking the walk is another.
About the Author
Todd Outcalt is a United Methodist pastor who has helped hundreds of people through cancer and beyond, including his own wife of thirty years. He is also the author of more than twenty books in six different languages including, Before You Say “I Do” (Penguin, 2006), Your Beautiful Wedding on Any Budget (Sourcebooks, 2009), and The Best Things in Life Are Free (HCI, 2005). He has also written widely in health and wellness for such magazines as American Fitness, Cure, and Aim. Since 2004 Todd has served as lead pastor of Calvary United Methodist Church in Brownsburg, where he lives with his wife, Becky, and they now manage an empty nest and enjoy hiking, kayaking, and reading in their spare time.
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