9 Children’s Books Honoring the Life and Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.

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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