Inspiring Adults

Written and Illustrated By Jeanette Winter

Where do you get your books?

If you lived in the Northern mountains of Colombia, it might be hard to visit a library or even have any books at all.  But that was before the Biblioburro – a library carried by a donkey!

Based on a true story, the Biblioburro traveling library was created by a teacher named Luis Soriano who loved kids and loved books.  He was so dedicated to reading and literacy that he has been willing to take his two special donkeys (Alfa and Beta) into remote and even dangerous places.

Although Luis started with about 300 books years ago, stories like this one have shared his amazing work and he now has thousands of books to share with kids – mostly donated by people who love reading about him from all over the world.


Luis loves to read, but soon his house in Colombia is so full of books there's barely room for the family. What to do? Then he comes up with the perfect solution--a traveling library! He buys two donkeys--Alfa and Beto--and travels with them throughout the land, bringing books and reading to the children in faraway villages. Beautiful!

Complete with an author's note about the real man on whom this story is based.
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Written by Doreen Rappaport, Illustrated By Bryan Collier

What is it like to grow up feeling like a second-class citizen?

Doreen Rappaport’s book explains the climate of racism and prejudice that existed in the 1950’s when young Martin Luther King, Jr. was growing up.  She also describes his love of the Bible and hymns and how the “big words” that he found there gave him hope, comfort and a sense of peace.  His father was a minister and MLK grew up to become a minister as well, in part to share these important concepts and big words with others.

How do you return love for hatred?  How do you talk about the values of all of God’s children in the face of prejudice and intolerance?  This book tells that story in a realistic and memorable way.

One of my favorite aspects of this book is the use of many great MLK quotes to illustrate the text.  These “big words” are still as powerful today as they were decades ago.  This book is well worth picking up and sharing for MLK day or any time of the year to inspire kids (or adults) of all ages.

This picture-book biography is an excellent and accessible introduction for young readers to learn about one of the world's most influential leaders, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Doreen Rappaport weaves the immortal words of Dr. King into a captivating narrative to tell the story of his life. With stunning art by acclaimed illustrator Bryan Collier, Martin's Big Words is an unforgettable portrait of a man whose dream changed America-and the world-forever.
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Written by Christine King Farris, Illustrated By London Ladd

Almost everyone is familiar with MLK’s famous “I Have A Dream” speech given at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in August of 1963.  But what led up to that March and what went on during that day?  How did MLK write these important and inspirational words that motivated so many people during the struggle for civil rights and beyond?

The story of the March on Washington is told beautifully by MLK’s sister; Christine King Farris, who gives you a behind the scenes look at the events of that important day when so many people stood up for change that would be as powerful as it was positive.

Although this book was written especially for younger readers, it is highly recommended for anyone interested in the civil rights era or anyone who wishes to be inspired by MLK’s nonviolent means of achieving his vision of peace, justice and equality for all people.

Martin Luther King, Jr.'s, sister remembers the March on Washington.

From Dr. Martin Luther King's sister, the definitive tribute to the man, the march, and the speech that changed a nation.
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Written by David A. Adler

Almost everyone knows about Rosa Parks and the story of the incident on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. In fact, she is sometimes called the “grandmother of civil rights” as many people mark the beginning of the struggle for civil rights by the day Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus and had to go to jail for it.

David Adler’s book tells you the whole story of Rosa Park’s life and shares many of the difficult and painful details that surround the conditions in the American South that necessitated such a mighty struggle for fair and equal treatment.

This is a great book for sharing how additional figures played important roles in the struggle for civil rights.  It’s also a good book for discussing tough topics such as racism, prejudice and unequal treatment.

Her refusal to give up her seat on a bus helped establish the civil rights movement.
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Written By Christine King Farris, Illustrated by Chris Soenpiet

This beautifully written and illustrated book takes you into the childhood of Martin Luther King as told by his sister, Christine King Farris.  Since most people know the most about MLK as an adult and a civil right leader, Christine wanted people to know about him as a boy and as her brother.  She shares wonderful details about their family life.  You get to meet his father, the minister; his mother, the wonderful musician and his Aunt Ada who often read to the children about a whole world full of interesting things.  She also shares how her brother Martin came to get a sense of the unequal treatment of people and slowly became aware that he might take part in making the world a more just and equitable place.

This is a marvelous book for sharing with kids as it helps them understand the person who came to be Martin Luther King, Jr.  Along with glorious illustrations by Chris Soenpiet, this book will inspire any child to feel they may grow up to do marvelous things in the world from their own humble beginnings.

And my favorite part of this book?  Christine takes the time to mention a hysterical prank that she and her brothers would play on passers-by.  It really made me laugh. By sharing these humorous little moments, the author helps to balance out the serious nature of MLK’s struggle for civil rights while telling an accurate tale of his childhood and personal history.

Highly recommended!

"Mother Dear, one day I'm going to turn this world upside down."
Long before he became a world-famous dreamer, Martin Luther King Jr. was a little boy who played jokes and practiced the piano and made friends without considering race. But growing up in the segregated south of the 1930s taught young Martin a bitter lesson -- little white children and little black children were not to play with one another. Martin decided then and there that something had to be done. And so he began the journey that would change the course of American history.
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Written and Illustrated By Jeanette Winter

What would you do if your library was in danger?  And all the books in it?  This is a story based on what happened to a courageous woman named Alia Muhammad Baker who was the librarian in the town of Basra, Iraq.  The story unfolds as war comes to their town and Alia suspects that the library may be in danger.  It may be looted and burned and all the books destroyed.  How does she save the books… almost 30,000 of them?

Although the book shares images of war, the illustrations also focus on Alia dreaming of peace and the actions that bring her community together in troubled times.  Although the topic or war is a difficult one, the book remains child-appropriate and an inspiring tale of what one person can do to make a difference even in the most harrowing of times

Suggested Reading Level – 5 and Up

"In the Koran, the first thing God said to Muhammad was 'Read.'"*
--Alia Muhammad Baker

Alia Muhammad Baker is a librarian in Basra, Iraq. For fourteen years, her library has been a meeting place for those who love books. Until now. Now war has come, and Alia fears that the library--along with the thirty thousand books within it--will be destroyed forever.

In a war-stricken country where civilians--especially women--have little power, this true story about a librarian's struggle to save her community's priceless collection of books reminds us all how, throughout the world, the love of literature and the respect for knowledge know no boundaries. Illustrated by Jeanette Winter in bright acrylic and ink.

Includes an author's note.
*From the New York Times, July 27, 2003

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