Every January we take a day to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. and his life and accomplishments. If you are looking for books, videos, facts, and activities to help teach your child more about this influential man, then look no further!
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Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is so much more than just another day off from work and school. It is a great time to teach our kids about who this extraordinary person was and all that he did. I’ve included some of the helpful resources that are available so you can spend less time planning, and more time teaching!
I love using books to teach about people, places, and events, so I started this post with a list of books about Martin Luther King Jr. These can be read independently if your child is old enough, or read together as a read aloud – either way, books are a great way to learn more about the amazing story of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
I have also included links to other helpful resources, ideas, and activities so that you have even more ways to help you teach your child why we are celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. And if you are looking for other holidays and unique days, check out my list of fun holidays to celebrate all year long!
Kids Books About Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin’s Big Words by: Doreen Rappaport
This is my go to book that we read every Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – it’s one of our favorites. In Martin’s Big Words, the author uses quotes from speeches that Martin Luther King, Jr. gave to help tell his story in a way that children can understand. That, combined with the unique and meaningful illustrations as well as the helpful timeline of his life, makes this book a wonderful choice when learning more about this amazing person (you can also watch a video with this book being read aloud).
I Have a Dream by: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The book I Have a Dream brings Martin Luther King, Jr.’s own words to life. It takes his “I Have a Dream” speech and combines them with beautiful illustrations, providing us with a introduction into his life as well as to the history of our nation during that time. This book also includes an audio CD of his speech.
A Picture Book of Martin Luther King, Jr. by: David Adler
Combining a narrative of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life with beautiful pictures, the author of A Picture Book of Martin Luther King, Jr. tells the story of this amazing man. He also includes a timeline, helping to teach more about Dr. King’s life, as well as the events taking place at that time in our history.
National Geographic Readers: Martin Luther King, Jr. by: Kitson Jazynka
In this National Geographic Reader, your child will learn more about the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. through the use of text, diagrams, timetables, sidebars, illustrations, and facts (There is also a read aloud version of this book on YouTube).
I am Martin Luther King, Jr. (Ordinary People Change the World) by: Brad Meltzer
Based on the PBS Kids TV show Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum, I am Martin Luther King, Jr. uses facts and cute comic book style illustrations to teach about the life of Dr. King. It also incorporates a timeline, real photos, and what virtues the person in the book exhibits. There are quite a few books in this Ordinary People Change the World series if your child likes this style of writing and illustrations, or is a fan of the Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum show (Head over to YouTube if you want to watch the read aloud for this book).
Easy Chapter Books About Martin Luther King, Jr.
And another series that has easy to read biographies for kids is, The Story Of: A Biography Series for New Readers and offers many titles including:
There are so many good books about Martin Luther King, Jr. that it can be hard to pick just a few, but I hope that you find the ones listed above helpful and enjoyable.
And while I love using books as a way to teach various topics and subjects, I also like to incorporate other methods as well such as videos and fun activities (my children like these methods as well!).
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Activities to learn more about Martin Luther King, Jr.
Take a virtual field trip
Since most of us aren’t able to actually go and visit the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park in Atlanta, a virtual trip is the next best thing! While the video is a bit on the long side, it does show you the various parts of the museum and the home of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Or if you want a shorter video that gives a bit of history as well as a short tour of the museum and the home of Martin Luther King, Jr. then this video here will be helpful. This is the video I prefer due to its shorter length, but during part of the video, the tour is given by Martin’s sister, which makes it even more meaningful I feel.
Watch Martin Luther King, Jr. give his famous “I Have a Dream” speech
If you have older students, they may have read the famous “I Have a Dream” speech before, but if not (or if you want to review what he says), then this video is the perfect one for you! You can watch an old clip of Martin Luther King, Jr. himself giving his famous speech, which at least for me, is so much more powerful than reading it.
More video resources:
Since many kids learn best through hearing and seeing something, I have added a few shorter YouTube video resources that do a good job in explaining to children who Martin Luther King, Jr. was, what he did, and what our nation was like during that time in history.
- Homeschool Pop – Martin Luther King, Jr.
- Free School – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr: Biography for Children
- Kid President – The Story of Martin Luther King Jr.
- Little Fox – Martin Luther King Jr. | Civil Rights Movement | Stories for Kids
- PBS Kids – Martin Luther King Jr. Day
- BrainPOP – The Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
- Scholastic – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: A Leader and a Hero
- T&H – Inspiration & Motivation – An Eye Opening Interview with Martin Luther King Jr.
- Dill Purple Geniuses Learning Channel – Martin Luther King Biography for Kids
More projects and ideas
- Make a portrait of Martin Luther King, Jr. – At Deep Space Sparkle your child can learn how to draw a portrait of MLK and then add meaningful words to it.
- Martin Luther King, Jr. egg activity – Crack open two different colored eggs to teach your kids about how we may look different on the outside, but are all the same on the inside. Read more about this lesson at Lessons 4 Little Ones.
- How would you change the world? – This activity from No Time for Flashcards combines art and writing into one fun, yet meaningful project.
- Free printables and activity ideas – A Day In Our Shoes has a great list of activities as well as printables that you can use when planning how to teach about MLK.
- Dream Clouds – Make clouds and have your child write down what their dream for the world is.
- Write Your Own “I Have a Dream” Speech – Get MLK lesson ideas as well as a free printable that your kids can use as a guide to write their own speech at Education World.
- And for even more ideas on how to learn about and celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr., head on over to 123 Homeschool 4 Me.
I hope that all of these book, video, and activity ideas have been helpful as you think about and plan how you will teach and celebrate the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. with your kids. What are some of the things you do with your children to celebrate this meaningful day?