Monday, January 13, 2020

Books to Celebrate MLK Day

Next Monday is Martin Luther King Day, what are you reading? You may have the day off work or school and it's a perfect time to read a book together to honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King. Not sure what to read? I have four suggestions for different ages here today.

For the very youngest: 

I am Brave: A Little Book About Martin Luther King, Jr. by Brad Meltzer, illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos (Dial, 2019). This board book, part of the Little People Change the World series, gives a glossy overview of Martin Luther King, Jr. It doesn't get into super deep topics, but rather concentrates on King's qualities: brave, loving, etc., making this a good choice for sharing with the very young. The cutesy illustrations are designed to appeal to young children and this has been a super popular series at my library.

For young elementary kids:


Be a King by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by James E. Ransome (Bloomsbury, 2018). With simple, direct text, Weatherford pares down Dr. Martin Luther King's dream and presents it to kids in a way that's easy to understand. The text encourages young readers to "be a King" by doing things like "beat the drum for justice" and "set your sights on the mountaintop". This is a good resource for connecting kids with the everyday actions that can lead to change and for celebrating the spirit of Martin Luther King Day.

For older elementary kids:


A Place to Land: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Speech That Inspired a Nation by Barry Wittenstein, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney (Neal Porter Books, 2019). This gorgeous picture book presents the backstory of one of the most famous American speeches. The poetic text is a perfect pairing for this powerful story about powerful and memorable words that changed our nation.

For tweens and teens:

Martin Rising: Requiem for a King by Andrea Davis Pinkney, illustrated by Brian Pinkney (Scholastic, 2018). This gorgeous book explores the months leading up to Martin Luther King's assassination, including his involvement with the Memphis sanitation workers' strike and his last riveting speech in which he seemed to predict his own death. It also explores the continuing work of civil rights after his death. The illustrations are striking and the poetic text is a fitting tribute to such a great man. This is a moving book that's unlike anything else I've read about Martin Luther King and it's not to be missed.