Looking for the best Martin Luther King Jr. children’s books?
Even if you do nothing to celebrate or acknowledge Dr. King, the holiday is a wonderful opportunity to talk to children about racism, diversity, equality, kindness, friendship, and peace. Since his death in April 1968, many have stepped up to carry on his legacy including: Stacey Abrams, Bryan Stevenson, Tamika D. Mallory and others. It has truly been inspiring to see so many new activists and politicians continuing to stand up and speak out against injustices the same way Dr. King did years ago.
Below I’m sharing some great children’s books inspired by the life and legacy of one of our nation’s most prominent civil rights activists, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I’ve also included book recommendations for his wife, Mrs. Coretta Scott King. Let me know in the comments some of your favorite Dr. King children’s books.
Who Was Martin Luther King, Jr.?: A Who Was? Board Book
The chronology and themes of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s meaningful life are presented in a masterfully succinct text, with just a few sentences per page. With a read-aloud biographical summary in the back, this age-appropriate introduction honors and shares the life and work of one of the most influential civil rights activists of our time.
I Am Brave: A Little Book about Martin Luther King, Jr.
In this new board book format, the very youngest readers can learn about one of America's icons in the series' signature lively, conversational way. The short text focuses on drawing inspiration from these iconic heroes, and includes an interactive element and factual tidbits that young kids will be able to connect with. This volume tells the story of Martin Luther King, Jr., the civil rights leader.
My Little Golden Book About Martin Luther King Jr.
Learn all about Martin Luther King Jr. Day with this Little Golden Book biography all about the civil rights leader! The perfect introduction to nonfiction for preschoolers.
This Little Golden Book captures the essence of Martin Luther King, Jr. for the littlest readers. They'll learn how his childhood in segregated Atlanta—and in his father's church—shaped the future civil rights leader. And they'll gain a clear understanding of the way he became an eloquent, powerful voice for African Americans.
The Story of Martin Luther King, Jr.: A Biography Book for New Readers (The Story Of: A Biography Series for New Readers)
Discover the life of Martin Luther King Jr—a story for kids ages 6 to 9 about standing up for civil rights.
Martin Luther King Jr became one of the most important civil rights leaders in America by fighting for equality for black people. Before he made history with his powerful speeches and peaceful protests, Martin was a dedicated, smart kid who loved to learn. He challenged racism and overcame hardships to follow his passion and do the right thing.
Of all the Martin Luther King Jr books for kids, this one really helps you explore how Martin went from being a kid with a dream to an outstanding leader who made America a better place for everyone. How will his life inspire you to do what’s right?
Be a King: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Dream and You
Featuring a dual narrative of the key moments of Dr. King's life alongside a modern class as the students learn about him, Carole Weatherford's poetic text encapsulates the moments that readers today can reenact in their own lives. See a class of young students as they begin a school project inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and learn to follow his example, as he dealt with adversity and never lost hope that a future of equality and justice would soon be a reality.
My Daddy, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
What was it like growing up as a son of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.? This picture book memoir, My Daddy, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Martin Luther King III, provides insight into one of history’s most fascinating families and into a special bond between father and son.
Martin Luther King Jr. (Little People, BIG DREAMS)
Little Martin grew up in a family of preachers: his dad was a preacher, his uncle was a preacher, his grandfather was a preacher…so maybe he’d become a great preacher too. One day, a friend invited him to play at his house. Martin was shocked when his mother wouldn’t let him in because he was black. That day he realized there was something terribly unfair going on. Martin believed that no one should remain silent and accept something if it's wrong. And he promised himself that—when he grew up—he’d fight injustice with the most powerful weapon of all: words. This moving book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the inspiring activist’s life.
Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr., was one of the most influential and gifted speakers of all time. Doreen Rappaport uses quotes from some of his most beloved speeches to tell the story of his life and his work in a simple, direct way. Bryan Collier's stunning collage art combines remarkable watercolor paintings with vibrant patterns and textures. A timeline and a list of additional books and web sites help make this a standout biography of Dr. King.
Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop: The Sanitation Strike of 1968
This picture book tells the story of a nine-year-old girl who in 1968 witnessed the Memphis sanitation strike - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s final stand for justice before his assassination - when her father, a sanitation worker, participated in the protest.
Martin's Dream (Ana & Andrew)
For Black History Month, Ana & Andrew join a research group at the Community Center. They learn many interesting things about Martin Luther King Jr.! Later, with the help of some other children, they make one of Martins famous dreams come true. Aligned to Common Core standards and correlated to state standards.
A Place to Land: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Speech That Inspired a Nation
Martin Luther King, Jr. was once asked if the hardest part of preaching was knowing where to begin. No, he said. The hardest part is knowing where to end. "It's terrible to be circling up there without a place to land."
Finding this place to land was what Martin Luther King, Jr. struggled with, alongside advisors and fellow speech writers, in the Willard Hotel the night before the March on Washington, where he gave his historic "I Have a Dream" speech. But those famous words were never intended to be heard on that day, not even written down for that day, not even once.
Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me 'Round: My Story of the Making of Martin Luther King Day
This brilliant memoir-in-verse tells the moving story of how a nation learned to celebrate a hero. Through years of protests and petition, Kathlyn's story highlights the foot soldiers who fought to make Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday a national holiday.
A Sweet Smell of Roses
Two young girls not only witness but help to change history in this inspiring and urgent Civil Rights-era picture book by three-time Coretta Scott King Award winner Angela Johnson.
Inspired by the countless young people who took a stand against the forces of injustice, two Coretta Scott King Honorees, Angela Johnson and Eric Velasquez, offer a stirring yet jubilant glimpse of the youth involvement that played an invaluable role in the Civil Rights movement.
When Martin Luther King Jr. Wore Roller Skates
Martin Luther King Jr. led the American Civil Rights Movement. But do you know what he was like as a child? From roller skating to playing football and basketball, Martin was a fun-loving child. This playful story of his childhood will help young readers connect with a historic figure and will inspire them to want to achieve greatness.
Let the Children March
In 1963 Birmingham, Alabama, thousands of African American children volunteered to march for their civil rights after hearing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speak. They protested the laws that kept black people separate from white people. Facing fear, hate, and danger, these children used their voices to change the world. Frank Morrison's emotive oil-on-canvas paintings bring this historical event to life, while Monica Clark-Robinson's moving and poetic words document this remarkable time.
Resist!: Peaceful Acts That Changed Our World
Today, a new generation of activists has arisen, speaking up in unprecedented numbers against systemic oppression, bias, and injustice.
Resist!, a collection of 21 brief but comprehensive essays accompanied by striking artwork and rich supplementary material by Diane Stanley, reminds us of the activists who came before: the men and women who have used peaceful resistance and non-violent protests to make their voices heard.
Featured figures include: Harriet Tubman, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Woody Guthrie, Mohandas Gandhi, Irena Sendler, The Hollywood Ten, Claudette Colvin and Rosa Parks, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, The Greensboro Lunch Counter Sit-in protestors, Martin Luther King, Jr., and more!
Martin & Anne: The Kindred Spirits of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Anne Frank
Anne Frank and Martin Luther King Jr. were born the same year a world apart. Both faced ugly prejudices and violence, which both answered with words of love and faith in humanity. This is the story of their parallel journeys to find hope in darkness and to follow their dreams.
Great Lives in Graphics: Martin Luther King
Using colorful infographics, this book presents over 250 facts about Martin Luther King Jr, a minister who campaigned for the rights of African Americans during America’s Civil Rights Movement.
This graphic retelling of his story gives children a visual snapshot of his life and the world he grew up in, while educating them on everything from civil rights to the power of words. It includes an overview of his life, a timeline spread, a family outline, and a geographical summary of important places. It also features ‘Did You Know’ facts and inspiring quotes.
Martin & Mahalia: His Words, Her Song
On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous "I Have a Dream" speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, and his strong voice and powerful message were joined and lifted in song by world-renowned gospel singer Mahalia Jackson. It was a moment that changed the course of history and is imprinted in minds forever. Told through Andrea Davis Pinkney's poetic prose and Brian Pinkney's evocative illustration, the stories of these two powerful voices and lives are told side-by-side -- as they would one day walk -- following the journey from their youth to a culmination at this historical event when they united as one and inspiring kids to find their own voices and speak up for what is right.
The Story of Martin Luther King Jr.
Teach little learners about beloved civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. with this 200-word board book.
This little book introduces Martin Luther King Jr., an iconic leader of the civil rights movement. Simple, toddler-friendly text tells how King grew up, how he became a minister, and how he worked to end segregation in America. Accessible for even the youngest of children, The Story of Martin Luther King Jr. helps readers understand who King is, what he did, and why his story still matters today.
Love Will See You Through: Martin Luther King Jr.'s Six Guiding Beliefs (as Told by His Niece)
Growing up as the niece of Martin Luther King Jr., Angela Farris Watkins witnessed firsthand the principles and values that “Uncle M.L.” practiced and lived by throughout his fight for equality. Drawing from experiences and episodes both personal and well-known, Dr. Watkins artfully details the guiding beliefs of one of the greatest men in history. Including “have courage” and “love your enemies,” these six hallmarks of virtue and nonviolence reinforce the truth that “the universe honors love” and will inspire readers of all ages.
Martin's Dream Day
Martin Luther King Jr. was nervous. Standing at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial, he was about to address 250,000 people with what would become known as his "I Have a Dream Speech"--the most famous speech of his life. This day--August 28, 1963--was a momentous day in the Civil Rights Movement. It was the culmination of years spent leading marches, sit-ins, and boycotts across the South to bring attention to the plight of African Americans. Years spent demanding equality for all. Years spent dreaming of the day that black people would have the same rights as white people, and would be treated with the same dignity and respect. It was time for Martin to share his dream.
Martin Rising: Requiem for a King
With imagination and power, the award-winning Pinkney duo celebrates MLK's nonviolent struggle for civil rights -- as he transforms America through the spirit of love.
I Have a Dream
Experience history with this picture book of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s iconic speech, including an audio CD. This Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book will inspire young readers!
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.”
Who Was Martin Luther King, Jr.?
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was only 25 when he helped organize the Montgomery Bus Boycott and was soon organizing black people across the country in support of the right to vote, desegregation, and other basic civil rights. Maintaining nonviolent and peaceful tactics even when his life was threatened, King was also an advocate for the poor and spoke out against racial and economic injustice until his death—from an assassin's bullet—in 1968. With clearly written text that explains this tumultuous time in history and 80 black-and-white illustrations, this Who Was? celebrates the vision and the legacy of a remarkable man.
Who Was Coretta Scott King?
The wife of Martin Luther King Jr., Coretta Scott King was a civil rights leader in her own right, playing a prominent role in the African American struggle for racial equality in the 1960s.
Here's a gripping portrait of a smart, remarkable woman. Growing up in Alabama, Coretta Scott King graduated valedictorian from her high school before becoming one of the first African American students at Antioch College in Ohio. It was there that she became politically active, joining the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). After her marriage to Martin Luther King Jr., Coretta took part in the Civil Rights Movement. Following her husband's assassination in 1968, she assumed leadership of the movement. Later in life she was an advocate for the Women's Rights Movement, LGBT rights, and she worked to end apartheid in South Africa.
Trailblazers: Martin Luther King, Jr.: Fighting for Civil Rights
Get inspired by the true story of the civil rights leader whose peaceful fight for justice still motivates people today. This biography series is for kids who loved Who Was? and are ready for the next level.
On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. spoke to more than 250,000 people in Washington, DC about his dream of racial equality. His message of peaceful protest inspired a generation to stand up for their rights. Find out how a boy who was not allowed to go to school or the movies with white people blazed a trail in civil rights.
My Brother Martin: A Sister Remembers Growing Up with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Renowned educator Christine King Farris, older sister of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., joins with celebrated illustrator Chris Soentpiet to tell this "outstanding" (School Library Journal) and inspirational story of how one boyhood experience inspired a movement that would change the world as we know it.
As Fast as Words Could Fly
Young Mason Steele takes pride in turning his father's excited ramblings about the latest civil rights incidents into handwritten business letters. One day Pa comes home with a gift from his civil rights group: a typewriter. Thrilled with the present, Mason spends all his spare time teaching himself to type. Soon he knows where every letter on the keyboard is located. This book is a fictional story that reflects Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s mission.
Riding to Washington
Janie is not exactly sure why her daddy is riding a bus from Indianapolis to Washington, D.C. She knows why she has to go-to stay out of her mother's way, especially with the twins now teething. But Daddy wants to hear a man named Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speak and, to keep out of trouble, Janie is sent along. Riding the bus with them is a mishmash of people, black and white, young and old. They seem very different from Janie. As the bus travels across cities and farm fields to its historic destination, Janie sees firsthand the injustices that many others are made to endure. She begins to realize that she's not so different from the other riders and that, as young as she is, her actions can affect change.
This middle grade novel follows Justyce McAllister, an Honor student and loyal friend. When police officers put him in handcuffs, though, everything changes. Justyce looks to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for answers. But do they hold up anymore? He starts a journal to Dr. King to find out.
Then comes the day Justyce and a friend spark the fury of an off-duty cop. Words fly, shots are fired, and the boys get caught in the crosshairs. But in the media fallout, it's Justyce who is under attack.
She Persisted: Coretta Scott King
In this chapter book biography by award-winning author Kelly Starling Lyons, readers learn about the amazing life of Coretta Scott King--and how she persisted.
Coretta Scott King is known for being the wife of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., but she was a civil rights activist and leader in her own right! She was a singer and an author too, and her work made a difference for Black Americans and for all women for decades to come.
Complete with an introduction from Chelsea Clinton, black-and-white illustrations throughout, and a list of ways that readers can follow in Coretta Scott King's footsteps and make a difference! A perfect choice for kids who love learning and teachers who want to bring inspiring women into their curriculum
Lift Every Voice and Change: A Sound Book: A Celebration of Black Leaders and the Words that Inspire Generations (Original... Lift Every Voice and Change: A Sound Book: A Celebration of Black Leaders and the Words that Inspire Generations
With the touch of the button, hear impactful quotes spoken by inspiring Black Americans in primary source audio files. Aimed at children ages 7–12, a succinct profile of the speaker alongside an explanation of the significance of the quote and moment provide the context for each audio clip. A vibrant illustration of the speaker completes the picture.
Through the included quotes, kids gain an age-appropriate understanding of the strides made in the ongoing journey for equality, from the early days of sound recording to modern day.
Lift Every Voice and Change features the voices of:
Booker T. Washington
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr
Gladys Mae West
The voices chosen represent an equal number of men and women, historical and modern figures, across a variety of disciplines. Some are household names and others may very well be introduced to children for the first time! Inspire the next generation of leading voices by inviting them to listen to and learn from the Black leaders of yesterday and today.
Coretta: The Autobiography of Mrs. Coretta Scott King
This is the autobiography of Coretta Scott King––wife of Martin Luther King, Jr.; founder of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change (the King Center); architect of the MLK, Jr. legacy; and global leader in movements for civil and human rights as well as peace. Learn about how a girl born in the segregated deep south became a global leader at the forefront of the peace movement and an unforgettable champion of social change.
Walking many miles to school in the dusty road, young Coretta Scott knew the unfairness of life in the segregated south. A yearning for equality began to grow.
Together with Martin Luther King, Jr., she helped lead change through nonviolent protest. It was the beginning of a journey—with dreams of freedom for all.
Coretta's Journey: The Life and Times of Coretta Scott King
Much more than just a wife, Coretta Scott King was Martin's partner in the fight for justice. It wasn't always easy. From an early age, she stood strong against white violence toward her family in the South, and against discrimination as a music student in the North. Coretta found her voice as a classical singer, but she struggled mightily to speak out as an activist in the face of men who thought she should be seen and not heard. But she never wavered. When Martin died, it was Coretta who carried on the struggle, and preserved his legacy so that his voice would be heard by future generations. This important story, told in poetry and prose, is a riveting introduction to an important and instrumental figure in the history of activism and civil rights.
We Dream a World: Carrying the Light from My Grandparents Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King
In this stirring tribute to Coretta Scott King and Martin Luther King, Jr., their granddaughter, Yolanda - a national civil rights figure in her own right - is ready to lead in this powerful picture book text! With inspiration from Langston Hughes and deep love for her grandparents, Yolanda King shows the world that young people are strong enough to carry on their elders' legacy while creating a new path for themselves. Her words are meaningful and universal, painting an expressive tableau of the issues facing young people today - racial equality, bullying, gun violence, climate change, disease, community, empowerment, inclusion, and more. Yolanda's words will comfort and inspire the next generation of dreamers.
Only Light Can Do That: 60 Days of MLK – Devotions for Kids
Through Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.'s words and Bible verses, kids will discover that Dr. King's Christian faith was the foundation for his activism and that God calls us to stand up for justice and love. This illustrated children's devotional will inspire the next generation with the passion of Dr. King, America's greatest Black leader, and equip them to make a difference for God, both today and tomorrow.
Through Dr. King's timeless words, children ages 8 to 12 will be challenged and inspired to
"drive out darkness" with light and love;
go to the Bible for the truth about evil, love, identity, and responsibility;
respect the Creator-given human dignity in everyone;
build relationships across boundaries and spread kindness in all communities; and
stand for God's truth about themselves and others.