You can find many of these Martin Luther King Jr books for kids at your local library, school library, as read alouds on YouTube, or you can purchase them online or at your local bookstore.
For your convenience, I am providing affiliate links when applicable.
(This means that Amazon will send a few pennies my way for orders placed through the link at no extra charge to you.)
This picture book by Doreen Rappaport is a great introduction to Martin Luther King Jr. The illustrations are stunning, the quotes are powerful, and the quick read makes very easy to read at any point in the day.
The quotes within in the book make great conversation starters about inequality and justice or as reflection prompts. One example of the powerful quotes found within this read aloud book is "Wait! I have heard the word 'Wait!' We have waited more than three hundred and forty years for our rights."
This picture book by Christine King Farris, Martin Luther King Jr.'s sister, highlights the day Martin Luther King Jr. prepared and gave his "I Have a Dream" speech. The story is told through his sister's perspective, and emphasizes the pride she felt watching her brother. She provides details on how he carefully crafted the speech, how the march was organized, and illustrates the effects of the speech.
Christine includes various forms of figurative language throughout the book as well which make this book more suitable for upper elementary students. It is also a great way to be able to integrate social studies with ELA.
Examples of figurative language included in the book are:
- "There was a blanket of people..."
- "There were all kinds of folks, looking like patches of color in a great quilt..."
- "Martin's words were as loud as thunder."
Monica Clark-Robinson writes about the courage thousands of children and teens displayed as the volunteered to march for their civil rights in the place of their parents, who were fearful of losing their jobs. The illustrations by Frank Morrison are captivating and truly highlights some of the hardships, suffering, and effects these children faced and were willing to face to stand up for their rights.
According to the book, Dr. King later wrote, "Looking back, it is clear that the introduction of Birmingham's children into the campaign was one of the wisest moves we made. It brought a new impact to the crusade, and the impetus that we need to win the struggle."
This book is a great a way to not only expose upper elementary students the events surround the Civil Rights Movement, but to show them that no matter how young or small you are, everyone can make a difference.
This "Who Was" book is a chapter book that includes 13 chapters. It is an informative biography of his life with clearly written text that makes it easy for upper elementary students to understand. It celebrates his vision and the legacy he left behind.
This book can not be read in one day as read aloud, but it can be broken up and read within a week or placed in the classroom library making it accessible for the students to read independently.
Do you have a read aloud about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. you enjoy sharing with your upper elementary students? Let me know in the comments below. I'd love to hear about it.