Niamh Clune

Environment, poetry, comment, children's books,

Martin Luther King: Inspiring Children’s Stories

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Martin Luther King.
I remember crying my eyes out the day Martin Luther King was shot. I couldn’t believe that someone had killed such an inspirational man. I was 16 at the time and learned about Civil Rights because of him.
Having a childhood hero like Martin Luther King has not only influenced and inspired me all my life but now feeds into my children’s stories. In the classic fight of goodies against baddies, my heroes believe in and fight for, the sorts of ideals someone like Martin Luther King would have supported. My stories have underlying political themes, as I hope my grandchildren grow up to be aware of social issues and inequalities and care about the vulnerable and downtrodden.
Such background politics are the stuff out of which authors carve new worlds and encourage children to challenge the status quo and think for themselves ~ essential when inspiring the guardians of the future!
Here is a snippet from Barry Brown and The Dual Veil (a new book I am working on) that was inspired by Martin Luther King’s speech, “I Have A Dream…”
The scene is set in Tylwyth Teg in Elfenndorr (the world where all those creatures humans do not believe in, dwell. In a council chamber, a very important decision is being made about whether or not to close trade borders between realms…
            “We have jewels, commerce, and industry to share,” said the dwarf king, Gurt, tapping his golden hammer on the pew before him. “We offer wealth to all elfennaidds. If, because of unfair hunting raids, we are forced to control our borders, poverty would rise throughout the kingdom. Wealth and prosperity should be WITHOUT borders.” He stood down and stroked his fiery, red beard.

            Finbarr Flaherty, the tuath-king of Inisceol, stood next. “We offer hope, mighty fine music and craic! Yee never know when yee’ll need us. Sure yee can’t deny the power of a jig to bring a party to life! Music, dancing, singing and laughter recognise no borders.”
The dryad queen, Willoa, was next to stand,  “We offer trees.” Her words sounded like gentle breathing. “We breathe. So you breathe. We grow, so you shelter. Trees have no borders. ”
The salamander king, Angus, licked and danced, sending shadows flickering across the faces of all gathered. “We offer fire,” he crackled. “We cook, warm and light your way. Without us, kingdoms would be cold and dark. Fire does not acknowledge borders.”
“We offer water,” tinkled the queen nymph, Morya. “Life-giving. Die of thirst without us.  Water knows no borders.”
“We offer air,” blew the lord of breaths, Arial. “Without us, all would die. Air is for all and cannot know borders.”
Bridd, mother of creation, stood tall and beautiful with all of nature flowing through her hair. “We offer earth; out of me, all are born and all return. Earth is expansive and recognises no borders.”
Blathanna, queen of the flowers, spoke last:

“We tend the flowers, help the bees,
Pollinating plants and trees;
Serving landscape with our aid,
Growing food for hoe and spade;
Feeding kingdoms, lots to spare,
With the hope we all might share;
Being kin to nature’s heart;
Each of us must play our part!
Borders never shall we heed;
We are one, ‘tis nature’s creed.”

                 It seems that politics runs through everything, including children’s books.

About Dr Niamh

When I was a little girl (a very, very long time ago), I used to love learning new, really big words like ‘discombobulate’. As I grew, my love of words grew too, until I loved them so much, I could not stop writing them down. One day, as I was scribbling a particular word, a very peculiar thing happened. The word shouted at me, “Stop! Don’t put me there!” As you can imagine, I was shocked and nearly fell off my chair. When I recovered somewhat, I said to the word, “Could you stop shouting, please? I am not used to it.” Can you guess what happened next? No! I thought not. The word said, “I might be small, but I will misbehave if you do not use me properly. I will not tell the story you would like me to tell. I will say something entirely different!” I dropped my pen. I hoped that by dropping my pen, the word would stop talking. Alas! It did not. It carried on chitterchobbling, even after the ink had dried. I was in a pickle. I could not allow my words to run away with my story, now could I? I don’t know about you, but when this sort of thing happens, there is only one thing left to do if you prefer not to spend your time arguing. “Very well,” said I. “I will do as you ask if you will just be quiet and allow me to concentrate.” Since that day, I have been paying special attention to every word I invite into my stories. After all, a story should say exactly what it means to say and not be led astray. With love from Dr. Niamh, Ph.D in Learning Through The Imagination and Founder of Dr Niamh Children's Books.

5 comments on “Martin Luther King: Inspiring Children’s Stories

  1. Darlene
    January 15, 2018

    It was a sad day for many of us. He inspired an entire generation and those that followed. All the best with the new book. It sounds amazing!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Patricia Tilton
    January 17, 2018

    Will never forget that day! MLK was supposed to come and speak at a church where my husband was a co-pastor — but he never made it. Your post is inspiring.


    • Dr Niamh
      January 17, 2018

      That’s a shame he never made it. What an inspiration that would have been…almost in the presence of Divinity.

      Liked by 1 person

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