Dear Diary,

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, observed Monday, January 18, is a day of service, celebration and remembrance. It’s a time to honor of a man who dedicated his life’s work to equality and justice for African Americans. He’s part of the reason why your child is able to make friends across color lines.  Even if you don’t get a day off from work, you can still observe the holiday with your little ones by reading. 

Here is a list of books for children birth to six-years-old to help  your child recognize the day.

I am Martin Luther King, Jr.

I am Martin Luther King, Jr.

I am Martin Luther King, Jr. (Ordinary People Change the World) by Brad Meltzer (2016)

This book comes highly recommended from moms in my teaching circle whose kids fell in love with the New York Times Bestselling picture book biography series from historian and author Brad Meltzer. Kids connect with the story, which starts when Martin Luther King, Jr. is just a little boy. They hear how his friendship ended with the boy across the street, all because of the color of their skin. Often, we hear about MLK’s accomplishments as an adult, so this story has a fresh take on the timeless tale. Other books in the series include stories about Amelia Earhart and Jackie Robinson.

I Have a Dream

I Have a Dream

I Have a Dream by Martin Luther King, Jr. (2012) by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (Author), Kadir Nelson (Illustrator)

This is a beautifully illustrated copy of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous I Have a Dream speech. If your child isn’t old enough to understand the words, he/she will be mesmerized by the colorful, eye catching artwork. 

Screen Shot 2016-01-16 at 5.03.39 PM

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Robin Hill School) by Margaret McNamara (2007)

This is a simple yet thought-provoking story about a 1st grade class learning about Martin Luther King, Jr. and realizing their own dreams. After you read the story, you can ask your child what he wants to be when he grows up. Add an art activity and draw the answer. 

The Story of Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Story of Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Story of Martin Luther King, Jr. by Johnny Ray Moore (2002)

This is a great board book for our littlest learners, which explains Martin Luther King, Jr.’s work to end segregation. Using only 200 words, the author simplifies the Civil Rights movement. 

A Picture Book of MLK

A Picture Book of Martin Luther King

A Picture Book of Martin Luther King by David A. Adler (1989)

I’ve had this book as well as others from Adler’s picture book series in my children’s library before they were even born. Short, easy to read book to introduce children to Martin Luther King, Jr.

Hey DFTM Fam–What titles are you reading to your little one about our great civil rights leaders?


About The Author

Kerrin Meriwether
Teachable Moments Mom/Senior Editor

Kerrin is married mom raising a 2 1/2-year-old son and a 2-month-old daughter in Clarksburg, Maryland. he writes from an educator's perspective about life's teachable moments for young children. She loves being a mom, because she enjoys seeing life through her little ones' eyes. When not writing for DFTM, Kerrin teaches English Language Arts to middle school ESOL students and manages a local tutoring company, Believe in Yourself Tutoring.

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