‘It Starts With Me!:’ King, Johnson Discuss New Children’s Book

Dr. Bernice A. King, the daughter of the late Martin Luther King Jr., is making a stop in Blytheville on Friday for the 2022 Nonviolence Youth Summit. King recently released “It Starts With Me!,” a children’s book written by herself and co-author, Dr. Kimberly P. Johnson. 

The duo released this book for many reasons, but according to King, who is the CEO of The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Change, this was a way to involve children in the process of creating a better world. 

“We were originally focused mostly on the adult community because we were dealing with such a polarized climate, and as we continued the process, we realized we needed to include kids,” King said.

The book starts with the story of Amora, a girl who sets out to encourage her friends to Be Love™. As she grows through the story, she sets an example to her friends by changing her words, actions and thoughts to match her mission of allowing love to set the intention for everyday life. 

Johnson explained that the book title actually stemmed from a phrase she found King saying a lot: “It Starts With Me.”

“Dr. Bernice A. King often says ‘it starts with me,’ and she often has taught us in training that the mission starts with a person staring in the mirror back at you. This book is about a young girl who decided she wanted to change her community and because we all have a choice, she started with herself,” Johnson said. “The message really is focused on the process of wanting to change the community you’re in, and knowing that you have to start with love. When you start with love, you continue with love and watch it grow.” 

The King Center was established in 1968 by Mrs. Coretta Scott King, and has since become a global destination, resource center and a community institution. According to its website, it sees nearly a million people each year, as people travel to the National Historic site. 

Be Loveis a movement that encourages courageous acts for the mission of achieving justice. “We can create the #BeLovedCommunity. It’s not a utopia, but it is realistic and achievable, a society of justice and love. It’s not conflict-free, but shuns acquiescence to violence,” King states on The King Center website. 

King is continuing her father’s legacy through her work as CEO of The King Center, and in doing so, has found herself encouraging both adults and children to act in the way they want to see change. 

“If you want to see love, be love. If you want to receive compassion, be compassionate. If you want respect, you have to show respect,” King said, in a final note. 

King and Johnson will be signing copies of “It Starts With Me!” on Friday at the Blytheville High School arena from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.  For more information about the book signing event, read this earlier article. To learn more about The King Center, visit its website, and to learn more about “It Starts With Me!,” click here

READ ALSO: GRANT APPLICATIONS NOW OPEN AT HEFLIN YOUTH FOUNDATION

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