Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!
I think it can be easy for many of us to just see it as a day off of school or work, without recognizing the significance of this holiday.
If you want to open up a discussion with your children about why they have the day off or just want a quick refresher yourself about why we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr, these picture books are a great place to start.
5 Fantastic M
- I am Martin Luther King, Jr. by Brad Meltzer. I LOVE this series (I’ve read many of them and haven’t found a dud yet. They pretty much all make me weepy too) and it’s such an accessible way to get a good overview of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life from his early childhood on.
- I Have a Dream By Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., illustrated by Kadir Nelson. I first was introduced to Kadir Nelson’s illustrations when I was a grad student and I’ve been a mega-fan ever since. He perfectly brings to life the famous words of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech (the book comes with a CD that plays clips from the actual speech!).
- March On!: The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World by Christine King Farris, illustrated by London Ladd. Written by his sister, this book does a fantastic job of bringing to life the March on Washington and why it matters.
- Martin’s Big Words: The life of Martin Luther King, Jr. by Doreen Rappaport, illustrated by Bryan Collier. I’m a huge fan of Doreen Rappaport’s series that feature famous historical figures and this one is no exception. This one doesn’t shy away from the violence that was such a big part of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life, so if your child is young, you may way to pre-read this one.
- A Place to Land: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Speech That Inspired a Nation by Barry Wittenstein, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney. This book is getting serious Caldecott buzz and rightly so (it’s spectacular AND Jerry Pinkney is no stranger to the Caldecott – he’s won medal back in 2010 and he’s garnered another 5 Caldecott Honors). This one focuses on how Dr. King’s famous speech came about and how it almost never was!
And if you’d like a printable copy of this list that you can take to your library or screenshot on your phone for easy access, just pop in your email address below and it’ll come right to your inbox!
Any other Martin Luther King Jr. books you’d recommend? I’d love more suggestions!
If you’re looking for other great books to read today, my friend Charnaie, from Here Wee Read, has a great list on Brightly (Penguin Random House’s site all about books and reading that we both contribute to).