Kids Books - MLKThere are many ways we can honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. One way is through books. Books can be a powerful tool in educating kids on Dr. King’s contributions to humanity, particularly human rights and civil rights. Civil rights can be a rather complicated topic for young kids to tackle and absorb; that’s why we’ve selected these 10 books. 

We’ve chosen them primarily because they cover everything from Dr. King’s childhood to his adult years in the simplest ways kids can easily comprehend. They provide greater insight and understanding of who Dr. King was and what he stood for. We would love to hear from you. Tell us about some of the children’s books you use to educate, celebrate, or honor Dr. King’s legacy. Until then, dive in and let’s reflect on the life and legacy of one of America’s greatest human rights and civil rights leaders of all times. 

MLK JR7Meet Martin Luther King Jr.  by Johnny Ray Moore (Author),  Amy Wummer (Illustrator)

Book Synopsis: This title is suitable for ages 4 to 8 years. Beginning with King’s childhood and following his life through his ” I Have a Dream Speech” and subsequent death, this book reveals (in age-appropriate language) how King ended segregation in America and influenced the way we live our lives today. (Ages 4-8 years)

MLK JR2The Story of Martin Luther King Jr.  by Johnny Ray Moore (Author),  Amy Wummer (Illustrator)

Book Synopsis: This little board book uses only approximately 200 words to tell about the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. and to explain, in simple terms, how he ended segregation in America. (Ages 2 and up)

A Picture Book of MLK JrA Picture Book of Martin Luther King, Jr.  by David A. Adler (Author), Robert Casilla (Illustrator)

Book Synopsis: “Martin Luther King, Jr. was one of America’s great leaders. He was a powerful speaker, and he spoke out against laws which kept black people out of many schools and jobs. He led protests and marches demanding fair laws for all people.” Dr. King dreamed of a world free of hate, prejudice and violence. This book is about the life and ideals of an outstanding man. (Ages 6-8 years)

The MLK JR StoryThe Martin Luther King, Jr. Story: The Boy Who Broke Barriers with Faith (Great Hero Series) by T. S. Lee (Author)

Book Synopsis: The Passionate life of Martin Luther King Jr. A leader of unfailing faith who spent his life fighting for civil rights. From a small-town nobody as a boy to the “Father” of all black people around the world, black civil rights activist Martin Luther King changed the world through his faith in man and an endless passion for peace and equality. (Ages 9 and up)

MLK JR8Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with Mrs. Park’s Class (Stories to Celebrate) by Alma Flor Ada & F Isabel Campoy (Authors)

Book Synopsis: The students in Mrs. Park’s class prepare to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Day by thinking about the values he taught. Contains an informative section on Martin Luther King, Jr. (Ages 5 and up)

MLK JR12My First Biography: Martin Luther King, Jr. by Marion Dane Bauer (Author), Jamie Smith (Illustrator) 

Book Synopsis: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a great man. His words changed the way people thought, and his actions spurred them on to change the world. With simple, lyrical text and bold, kid-friendly illustrations, this book introduces Dr. King to the youngest readers and inspires them to change the world. (Ages 4-8 years)

MLK JR6My Daddy, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Martin Luther King, III (Author), AG Ford (Illustrator)

Book Synopsis: What was it like growing up as a son of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.? This picture book memoir provides insight into one of history’s most fascinating families and into a special bond between father and son. “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” Martin Luther King III was one of those four little children mentioned in Martin Luther King’s groundbreaking “I Have a Dream” speech. In this memoir, Martin Luther King Jr.’s son gives an intimate look at the man and the father behind the civil rights leader. Mr. King’s remembrances show both his warm, loving family and a momentous time in American history. (Ages 4-8 years)

MLK JR5 I Have a Dream by Martin Luther King, Jr. (Author), Kadir Nelson (Illustrator) 

Book Synopsis: From Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s daughter, Dr. Bernice A. King: “My father’s dream continues to live on from generation to generation, and this beautiful and powerful illustrated edition of his world-changing “I Have a Dream” speech brings his inspiring message of freedom, equality, and peace to the youngest among us—those who will one day carry his dream forward for everyone.”

On August 28, 1963, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington, Martin Luther King gave one of the most powerful and memorable speeches in our nation’s history. His words, paired with Caldecott Honor winner Kadir Nelson’s magnificent paintings, make for a picture book certain to be treasured by children and adults alike. The themes of equality and freedom for all are not only relevant today, 50 years later, but also provide young readers with an important introduction to our nation’s past. Included with the book is an audio CD of the speech. (Ages 5 and up)

My Brother Martin3My Brother Martin: A Sister Remembers Growing Up with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Christine King Farris (Author), Chris Soentpiet (Illustrator)

Book Synopsis: “Mother Dear, one day I’m going to turn this world upside down.” Long before he became a world-famous dreamer, Martin Luther King Jr. was a little boy who played jokes and practiced the piano and made friends without considering race. But growing up in the segregated south of the 1930s taught young Martin a bitter lesson—little white children and little black children were not to play with one another. Martin decided then and there that something had to be done. And so he began the journey that would change the course of American history. (Ages 6-11 years)

By: Dawn Hoff, Book Kids

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Book Club – Book of the Month – January

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During the Great Depression, Esperanza is compelled to abandon her comfortable lifestyle in Mexico and enter into one filled with physical, emotional, social, and financial hardships and challenges in America. How does she cope and overcome?

In case you haven’t already guessed, our January tween/ teen book club selection is Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan. We’ve highlighted this book in the past, during National Hispanic American Heritage Month as a “highly recommended read.” Moreover, due to positive responses, we’ve decided to select it as our book club pick.

This book is a fitting selection for January because it ties in so well with the general themes of a new year; themes that reflect new beginnings, fresh start, triumphs over trials, victory over obstacles, overcoming challenges, rising above, moving forward, leaving the past behind, etc. -themes of inspiration and aspiration you’re bound to find throughout the book.   

Hope you’ll enjoy reading this book with your tweens and teens. Let me leave you with a very profound proverb, reflecting one of the many great messages found in Esperanza Rising, “The rich person is richer when he becomes poor, than the poor person when he becomes rich.”  Marinate on it as you dive into this inspiring read. Happy Reading!

We would love to hear from you. What books are you reading this New Year? Please leave a comment or two below.

By: Dawn Hoff, Book Kids

 

Bite-Sized Reading Resolutions with Oversized Results

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New Year’s resolutions have their ups and downs. They are as easy to break as they are to make. For this reason, more and more people prefer to shy away from making them rather than deal with the disappointments of breaking them.

This is especially true when it comes to reading resolutions. We can certainly guarantee falling off the reading wagon at some point during the year, more times than we’d like to admit. Typically, we do when our expectations either exceed or fail to measure up to our abilities and level of commitment.

Truth is, we all mean well and have good intentions. The problem is we sometimes set the bar too high and become overwhelmed and discouraged before we even begin;  our goal then becomes seemingly unreachable. Other times we set it too low and become under-challenged and bored; our goal then becomes dull and meaningless. The solution is making sure the bar we set for ourselves align with our abilities and level of commitment. See how well these align with your abilities and level of commitment:

1. Read daily. I read daily, no matter how lengthy or short the reading material is. On a busy day, I read something short. On a less busy day, I read something lengthy.  Reading doesn’t necessarily have to consist of reading a book. Reading a newspaper or magazine article is indeed considered reading.

2. Visit a library weekly. Even when I don’t have a book in mind, I go anyway. Usually, I end up with a book or two that are well worth the trip. I also find that my weekly trips to the library amount to me reading more books, considering the fact that I am borrowing and returning books on a weekly basis.

3. Organize a family book club monthly. Select a book the entire family can read and discuss it on a monthly basis. This has been especially simple and doable for my family because our family book selection usually falls in line with Book Kids’ Book of the Month.  We encourage you to use this as your book selection guide as well.

4. Purchase a book quarterly. Treat yourself to a book you’ve always wanted and simply can’t wait to dive into. I use this as a reading reward for my kids and they love it.

5. Visit a book event biannually. Check your local event or community calendar for book events. These are usually held at schools, libraries, bookstores, community centers, etc. Moreover, these are held throughout the year so you’re bound to find one you and your family can attend.

6. Meet an author annually. Authors are touring year-round. Track down your favorites. This can also be a great opportunity to purchase an autographed copy of a book by your favorite author, a great supplement to your quarterly book purchase.

Keep in mind that, like any resolution, these reading resolutions aren’t one-size-fits-all; particularly taking into consideration the daily demands of life pushing and pulling us all in various directions. What works for one may not work for another. These, however, are easy-to-follow suggestions that will help keep you from falling off the reading wagon. Remain persistent and the rewards will be well worth the efforts. Happy New Year! Happy Reading!

What are your New Year’s reading resolutions? We would love to hear about them. Please leave a comment or two below.

By: Dawn Hoff, Book Kids