Two Children's Books to Bring Alive the Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.
In celebration and remembrance of Martin Luther King, Jr., we’re reading to and with our kids about the life and legacy of an American hero. The authors of these children’s books below help to bring his story to life in younger minds. Our kids vary in age and development, and these books target a range of stages. After reading, ask your little ones to recite their MLK-inspired dreams to make our country even better.
Historian and novelist Brad Meltzer dives into the children’s book world with this picture book biography series called Ordinary People Change the World. Through it, he inspires little ones to dream big, one great role model at a time. He shows how “we can all be heroes” based on the real-life values in action by those before us.
I am Brave focuses on the values that made Martin Luther King, Jr. a civil rights leader and American hero, such as courage, hope, faith, family, and integrity. Meltzer emphasizes King’s effective trademarks, like using peaceful yet powerful words, gathering people together for nonviolent protests and marches, and speaking up about loving other human beings and doing what’s right. Per the publisher summary, “This friendly, fun biography series focuses on the traits that made our heroes great—the traits that kids can aspire to in order to live heroically themselves. In this new board book format, the very youngest readers can learn about one of America's icons in the series's signature lively, conversational way. The short text focuses on drawing inspiration from these iconic heroes, and includes an interactive element and factual tidbits that young kids will be able to connect with.”
A Primerrily family favorite book series called Who Was. . .? explains the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. The MLK edition is ideal for older kids who are ready for a more detailed look at the life of this American icon and an introduction to the Civil Rights movement. Per the publisher summary, “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was only 25 when he helped organize the Montgomery Bus Boycott and was soon organizing black people across the country in support of the right to vote, desegregation, and other basic civil rights. Maintaining nonviolent and peaceful tactics even when his life was threatened, King was also an advocate for the poor and spoke out against racial and economic injustice until his death—from an assassin's bullet—in 1968. With clearly written text that explains this tumultuous time in history and 80 black-and-white illustrations, this Who Was? celebrates the vision and the legacy of a remarkable man.”