Martin Luther King Jr. Books

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.


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.

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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.


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!

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