One Million Men and Me

One Million Men and Me 

Kelly Starling Lyons, Author

Peter Ambush, Illustrator

Just Us Books, Inc., 2007, Historical fiction

Suitable for:  Kindergarten and up  (Ages 5 nd up)

OpeningMy cousin, Omari, said no girls were allowed.  But Daddy took me.  Our bus rumbled through ebony night.  My head snuggled into Daddy’s warm chest until pink rose around us and the driver called, “Washington, D.C.”   A father takes his daughter, Nia, on a long bus trip to take part in a march with one million men.  They walked peacefully, sang songs and “stood tall and proud as mighty oaks, the men, Daddy and me.”  They listened to speakers like Maya Angelou, Rev. Jesse Jackson and Minister Louis Farrakhan.  Everyone held hands in unity.  Nia notices that their faces were filled with pride and their hearts filled with hope.  Everyone seemed to know everyone as they all nodded, smiled and hugged each other.  At the reflecting pool Nia makes a wish.  She will never forget the day her daddy took her on a journey where she made history with one million men.

Why I like this story:  This story is about one special day, Oct. 16, 1995, when a generation of one million African-American men made history.  A generation of proud men committed to make changes for themselves and their communities.  They peacefully gathered at the Lincoln Memorial garnering the attention of the media worldwide.  Among them was the author, who covered the story as a journalist.  In the sea of men, Kelly spotted a father gripping his daughter’s hand near the Reflecting Pool.  “She walked like a little princess among kings,” said Kelly.  This one little girl inspired Kelly to tell  this momentous occasion through Nia’s eyes.  The story is poetic and heartwarming, the illustrations are bold and beautiful, befitting of the occasion.  The children who will read this book today, weren’t even born.  One Million Men and Me is an excellent classroom book.

Activity:  You can learn more about the history of the  Million Men March in the back story at the end of the book, and by visiting Kelly Starling Lyons website.  The author also has a classroom guide with discussion questions and activities and printable coloring pages and other materials.  On Martin Luther King Day participate in a  walk or activity in your community.

For more books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.  Or click on the Perfect Picture Book Fridays  badge in the right sidebar.

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

47 thoughts on “One Million Men and Me

  1. I don’t know this book, Pat, nor did I know that only men were part of this march, having not grown up with this history. It makes me realize how far we have come for the rights of all people: black, women, children.. We still have a long way to go, but we can celebrate how far we have come!


  2. What a lovely opening – such lyrical language. I love the subject of this book, and I love your extra note about what gave the author the idea – it’s always so interesting to know what sparked a story. Thanks so much for sharing this book, Pat. You always find such good ones! 🙂 I will add this to PPBs for sure!


    • Susanna,
      Yes, I loved knowing what inspired Kelly to write this book. It is such a beautiful story. And, I liked knowing that there was a 16th year celebration last October and called on men of all color to focus their activities on hunger, street violence and politcal accountability. They are still striving to change their communities.


    • Erik, I’m so glad you enjoyed the book. Glad you are interested in learning more about the march and about racism. Your generation has a very important part to play in finding the solution.


  3. I love this book and I haven’t even read it so you did a good job on persuading me, Patricia. My daughter is biracial and I love for her to know the struggles of Blacks and even the Russian and Italian side of her. We all have social struggles to overcome and a history to both shun and move past. I look forward to reading this and sharing it with my daughter, as well as celebrating today with her by having her listen to MLK.’s speeches and talking about OVERCOMING!


    • Mimi, I’m so glad you enjoyed this book. I fell in love with it immediately. Sounds like you have a pivotal role to play in your daughter’s life. She has so much history in her blood. You have so much to celebrate with her. I watched a series on PBS, than ordered it –“Faces of America,” hosted by Dr. Henry Gates. Your library might have it.


  4. Excellent-sounding book, Pat. Thank you so much for sharing. It was particularly good to know some of the background of how and why it was written — and the trailer is fantastic.

    Perfect post for MLK Day!


    • Beth, I was excited about sharing this story. I was intrigued about how Kelly was there as a journalist and the story grew out of the exerience. Did further research as I mentioned. Learned so much more.


  5. I remember this march – how awesome that the story is told through the eyes of one little girl present at that very moment to witness history. Thank you for sharing this book, on this very special day.


  6. This was another great find by you. Even though we never experience racialism like this, we did know of Martin Luther King and what he achieved. Loved this story, sounds so beautifully written. It surely would have been a moving moment for the author to have been there.


  7. Patricia, Thanks so much for featuring One Million Men and Me on your wonderful blog! I appreciate your lovely review. And thank you to all of your visitors for their kind comments. I’m honored to have my book showcased here.

    I have coloring pages and other printables that go along with One Million Men and Me on my site, There’s also a teacher’s guide.

    Thanks again for your generosity and support! Wish you continued joy and success.


    • Kelly, I’m glad you liked the review. I was so moved by your book when I read it, I knew I would review it for MLK Day. Thank you for giving me resources from your site. I will add them to my post as a group of authors and bloggers are creating a list of Perfect Picture books with activities and resources for parents, teachers, homeschoolers and librarians. Again, it was my pleasure to review your book. – Pat


  8. I remember this march and am glad there is a children’s book about it. What a good way to memorate MLK and what he stood for. Thanks for this selection on this special day.


  9. Hi Patricia, this sounds like another awesome book! I was thinking that we could include this book as well in celebration of Black History Month which is happening in a few weeks’ time. Thank you for sharing this. I also like how you organize your posts according to why you enjoyed the book and possible activities that can be done with it – and the video clip is lovely too! Many thanks for sharing.


    • Myra, I heard about this book through an author interview and knew I had to review it. It is such a special story about one little girl who experiences a very historic event. Love how we see it through her eyes. Kelly did an outstanding job. – Pat


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  11. I love this book – and when I met her at the SCBWI Carolinas conference last year, Kelly Starling Lyons struck me as such a kind and genuine person. Thanks for reviewing, and happy Martin Luther King Day!


  12. What a perfect book for MLK day. I loved the trailer and the background of the story. This is recent history but important for the children of today. As you mentioned, those who the book is geared for were not even born yet when it happened.


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