Teaching very young children about American history can be a challenge, but it's a cinch when you have a good book about an amazing American. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday is coming up, and even if your child is a preschooler, there are many books you can use to share about this leader's life and legacy.
These six picture books present Dr. King not only as a civil rights leader but also as a brother, father, and great American who dared to change his country for the better, all in age-appropriate ways for children 3 and up.
1. My Brother Martin by Christine King Farris
This is one of my favorite books, period. Looking at Dr. King as a child allows young children to relate to him and his message even more.
2. My First Biography of Martin Luther King, Jr. by Marion Dane Bauer
This title is a good introduction to Dr. King and his life's work, and also provides great context about the times he lived in.
3. March On! The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World by Christine King Farris
This book looks at how Dr. King prepared for his famous speech and the March on Washington.
4. My Daddy, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Martin Luther King, III
This book has a wonderful perspective of Dr. King for young kids, through the eyes of his son. Children can relate to his story — both the triumphs and the tragedies — through the experiences of his children.
5. The Story of Martin Luther King Jr. by Johnny Ray Moore
This has been my go-to book for teaching 3- to 4-year-olds about Dr. King for years. Both of my children were introduced to him with this board book, and I can't recommend it enough.
6. Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Doreen Rappaport
This is beautifully abrupt at times, but its magic is in the stunning illustrations by Brian Collier. They teach as much as the text does.
Featured Photo Illustration © London Ladd/Jamie Smith/AG Ford
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