“You can’t change how other people think and act, but you’re in full control of you. When it comes down to it, the only question that matters is this: If nothing in the world ever changes, what type of man are you gonna be?” – Dear Martin
Each year, America celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s amazing strength and civil rights activism in the face of extreme adversity on the third Monday in January. This year, the day falls on King’s actual birthday, January 15th.
Fighting both blatant and systematic racism was a cause that Dr. King dedicated his life to, and he was ultimately murdered while defending it. While the world has changed since his death, America’s race relations are far from perfect and we’re still fighting systematic racism on many levels– from police brutality and unjust incarceration sentences, to workplace discrimination and inappropriate advertising.
We’ve seen some Own Voices authors talking about race relations from the point-of-view of black teens in publishing recently, including Dear Martin by Nic Stone, which ties in directly with Martin Luther King. The novel follows Justyce McAllister, a prep school student bound for an Ivy League college who is polite and conscientious, but still finds himself in cuffs after people assume he’s victimizing his drunken ex-girlfriend, who he’s actually trying to help. After that day, McAllister begins writing a journal directly to Dr. King, chronicling the everyday racism he experiences and trying to react to those incidents with the same poise as MLK. But following the incident, Justyce is tested more than ever and he soon realizes that Dr. King’s methods may not be as easy to emulate as he hoped. When Justyce finds his life turned around by an encounter involving loud music and an off-duty police officer, he learns that there are no easy answers in a world where many people still refuse to see his side of the story.
The novel is as beautiful and important as it is heartbreaking, offering by fresh perspectives and strong messaging for readers of all ages. We think everyone should read it!
This MLK Day, we’re thrilled to be giving away one copy of Dear Martin by Nic Stone in partnership with Random House. Enter via the Rafflecopter widget below!
Per the publisher, this contest is open to US residents only.
Raw, captivating, and undeniably real, Nic Stone joins industry giants Jason Reynolds and Walter Dean Myers as she boldly tackles American race relations in this stunning debut.
Justyce McAllister is top of his class and set for the Ivy League—but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. And despite leaving his rough neighborhood behind, he can’t escape the scorn of his former peers or the ridicule of his new classmates. Justyce looks to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for answers. But do they hold up anymore? He starts a journal to Dr. King to find out.
Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up—way up, sparking the fury of a white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. Justyce and Manny are caught in the crosshairs. In the media fallout, it’s Justyce who is under attack.