Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Books for Kids To Celebrate MLK Day

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?’”

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

image from Wikipedia

To celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day on January 20th, I thought I would compile my previous posts on MLK day and the Civil Rights Movement.  I hope these lists will be helpful if you are looking for a children’s book to celebrate MLK day or Black History Month in February.


Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. with 3 Children’s Books

If you need just three books, I’ve chosen my favorite picture book, advanced picture book and chapter book to tell the story of the civil rights from three points of view. The great man himself in his own words. Ruby Bridge’s story as told by her child psychologist Dr. Robert Coles. And through the point of view of a Caucasian girl trying to figure out what was going on when her town pool closed to avoid desegregation.

Martin Luther King Day books for kids, MLK books for kids

Top 10: Best Children’s Books On Civil Rights Movement

This list has many genres from Young Adult to non fiction covering the Civil Rights Movement for kids.

Top 10: Best Children’s Books On Civil Rights Movement



Best Children’s Books on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Brotherhood by Ann Westrick is a new addition to this list and tells the story of the rise of the Ku Klux Klan.

The year is 1867, the South has been defeated, and the American Civil War is over. But the conflict goes on. Yankees now patrol the streets of Richmond, Virginia, and its citizens, both black and white, are struggling to redefine their roles and relationships. By day, fourteen-year-old Shadrach apprentices with a tailor and sneaks off for reading lessons with Rachel, a freed slave, at her school for African-American children. By night he follows his older brother Jeremiah to the meetings of a group whose stated mission is to protect Confederate widows like their mother. But as the true murderous intentions of the group, now known as the Ku Klux Klan, are revealed, Shad finds himself trapped between old loyalties and what he knows is right. 

Martin Luther King Day books for kids, MLK books for kids


Civil Rights for Kids Picture Book of the Day

It was an honor and a priviledge to weclome Ruby Bridges to our elementary school! Her school visit both mesmerized the kids and inspired them that one kid can make a difference. This message is true as well in another civil rights story captured in As Fast As Words Could Fly.

Ruby Bridges

Civil Rights Icon Ruby Bridges visits our elementary school! 

As Fast As Words Could Fly


Picture Book of the Day: Booker T Washington

I’ve heard of Booker T. Washington but I didn’t know much about his childhood and the adversity he overcame to get an education.

Booker T Washington picture book

Top 10: African-American Picture Books

This picture book list tells the story of the African American experience if you read the books in order from 1 to 10. It starts with Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt and slavery and ends with modern times in Amazing Grace.

African History Month

What are your favorite children’s books to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day or Black History Month? Please share and I’ll add your books and posts to mine! Thanks so much!

By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. I love these books. It\’s so nice to know that there are so many quality books about such an important subject. I love your chapter book selections for civil rights, too.
    Erica recently posted…20 Indoor Ball Games for KidsMy Profile

  2. Great listing and valuable resource for classroom teachers.

  3. Erica’s list is fantastic! I also subscribe to her blog.

    Anything by Andrea Davis Pinkney (and her illustrator husband) is ideal for MLK Day, but her Sit In is one of my favorites.

    And for older kids, Christopher Paul Curtis’s The Watsons Go to Birmingham and Philip Hoose’s work of nonfiction Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice is also very moving and a true account of a teenager who refused to move on the bus pre-Rosa Parks.

  4. Great recommendations. I think Ruby Bridges is an incredible woman, and I love that she uses her story to inspire kids to make a difference.
    maryanne recently posted…Homemade PastaMy Profile

  5. I forgot to add Kristin Levine’s The Lions of Little Rock–great story of friendship and brings the strife of the time to life.

  6. Great post – and timely too! Thanks for sharing this with the Kid Lit Blog Hop!
    Katie recently posted…Kid Lit Blog Hop #30My Profile

  7. Damien Drago

    Always appreciate these lists. Great resources and reminder to take time to teach our children about this incredibly important movement!

  8. Nice list Mia!We recently read Martin and Mahalia and loved it!
    Thanks for sharing on Kidlit Blog Hop!
    -Reshama @ Stackingbooks
    Reshama recently posted…Kid Lit Blog Hop #30My Profile

  9. Even though we’re in Australia I love seeing all of the MLK day info and so mnay great resources to celebrate such an important man in history. Thanks for sharing these great books – we’ll definitely be tracking some of these down.
    Just For Daisy recently posted…10 FREE Printable Calendars for 2014My Profile

  10. Excellent books to celebrate a great man. Thanks for sharing!

  11. I really liked As Fast As Words Could Fly, and recently daughter mentioned something from it even though we read it a few months ago. I am glad that books like this make a lasting impact.
    Natalie recently posted…Crafts by Fathers – A Cardboard Puppet TheaterMy Profile

    • Hi Natalie,
      I loved As Fast As Words Could Fly too! It’s a lesser known but equally important story of a child who stood up and made a difference in the fight for civil rights. I think those lesser known stories are inspirational because it lets kids know that you don’t have to be famous to make a difference. An ordinary kid like themselves have that same ability.
      Pragmatic Mom recently posted…Johnson and Johnson Twitter Party with PrizesMy Profile

  12. A great collection of books to honor a great man! Thanks for sharing at After School!

  13. I loved learning about Booker T. Washington. What a great man. There have been a lot of greats! Thank you so much for sharing this list. There are some really fantastic book recommendations here.
    Lisa Nelson recently posted…The Reasons your Homeschooler (or any schooler) Should go to CollegeMy Profile

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