Martin Luther King Jr. Day is the perfect opportunity to reflect on King’s life and the revolutionary steps he took for Civil Rights. Inspire your kids to learn more about this leader by reading the children’s books below. Hopefully, they will motivate the whole family to have conversations about service and activism and how to be more like MLK.
- Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Written by Doreen Rappaport and Illustrated by Bryan Collier. This biography brings MLK’s message to life in a simple and succinct way that is appropriate for all children. The story is beautifully illustrated and has direct quotes from King woven throughout. It shows the reader his growth from a young boy learning about the segregated world that he lives in into an inspiring man who’s a leader that embraces love and hope for a better future that no longer separates people by their appearance. Watch a video story time here.
- A Place to Land: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Speech that Inspired a Nation. By Barry Wittenstein and illustrated by Jerry Pinkney. “Martin Luther King, Jr. was once asked if the hardest part of preaching was knowing where to begin. No, he said. The hardest part is knowing where to end. ‘It’s terrible to be circling up there without a place to land.’” This book details King’s journey the night before his most famous speech to hone in on the message that he wanted to share and how he wanted to share it. Older elementary kids and up will enjoy this peek behind the curtain that shows the little-known story that celebrates not only the “I Have a Dream” speech but the Civil Rights leaders who influenced those famous words. Watch video story time here.
- A Sweet Smell of Roses By Angela Johnson and Illustrated by Eric Velasquez. This is a sweet book that follows two young sisters as they sneak out of the house to join a freedom march with Martin Luther King Jr. This heartwarming story is written with a lyrical quality that is enhanced by the beautiful charcoal illustrations with only a hint of red in each picture. Watch video story time here.
Emiley Bainbridge is the editorial assistant at MetroFamily Magazine. She’s currently taking forever to get a Master’s Degree in Library Science at UNT. She’s married to Russ and mother of Olivia and Nicholas. She enjoys reading, musical theater and dance parties.