Books for Celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Next Monday is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. We all owe a great deal to this man. I hope we all take some time to celebrate him.

 I Have a Dream by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., illustrated by Kadir Nelson
This book is brand new – published this year. Using the text of Dr. King’s I Have a Dream speech, the beautiful illustrations capture his words and lift them up. This is a perfect book. It includes a CD of Dr. King’s original speech.

 I, Too, Am America by Langston Hughes, illustrated by Bryan Collier
Although this poem by Langston Hughes is not about Dr. King, it is all about Dr. King’s vision of change. The words and pictures tell a big story.

 As Good as Anybody by Richard Michelson, illustrated by Raul Colón
This is an outstanding picture book! It tells the stories of Dr. King and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel. Both men were affected by prejudice and segregation throughout their lives: Dr. King in the U.S. and Rabbi Heschel in Germany and Poland. Both had fathers who told them, “You are just as good as anybody!” When Dr. King put out a call for people to join him in marching for freedom, Rabbi Heschel joined him.

 Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King by Jean Marzollo, illustrated by J. Brian Pinkney
Beginning with when Dr. King was little, this book describes his childhood, his life as a church pastor and his involvement in the civil rights movement. It shows how Dr. King asked people not to fight with each other and told them there were peaceful ways to solve problems. The text is clearly written and supported well by the warm illustrations.

 Marching to the Mountaintop by Ann Bausum
This book covers the days in 1968 that led up to the assassination of Dr. King. Written for middle school kids and older, it shows the civil right movement and the power of nonviolent resistance. Although this is considered a kids’ book, it gives such a solid background of the U.S. back then, adults will find it a terrific resource also.

 Martin Luther King, Jr. I Have a Dream! by Jacqueline A. Ball
With clear text (4th grade reading level), this book covers a lot of Dr. King’s life: early years, the marches, being a minister, threats on his life, the Children’s Crusade and his death. The text is supported by many photographs of the time.

 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day by Reagan Miller
Although Dr. King’s life is discussed, this book is mostly about MLK Day itself. It talks about the reasons for the holiday, celebrations, places to visit and ways of making MLK Day a day of service. Each page has large print, photographs and a Did you know? section of interesting trivia.

My Uncle Martin’s Words for America by Angela Farris Watkins, illustrated by Eric Velasquez (link is in the title)
The author is Dr. King’s niece. She tells about how Dr. King used his speeches to inspire people of all colors. She shows how his words (love, nonviolence, justice, freedom, brotherhood and equality) led people to change. Throughout the book, she uses this sentence: When Uncle Martin used the word NONVIOLENCE (or JUSTICE, EQUALITY…), people listened, and things began to change! The illustrations are as powerful as the text.

I am happy there are so many fine books to read about Martin Luther King, Jr. Do you have a favorite? Write about it in the Comments Box!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *