In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, here are two excellent picture books about his life.
My Brother Martin: A Sister Remembers Growing Up with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is written by Christine King Farris and illustrated by Chris Soentpiet. This engaging biography by King’s older sister focuses on their childhood and family. Children will be able to relate to warm family relationships and mischievious antics of the siblings. Farris also introduces aspects of racism and discrimination that existed during King’s childhood and that shaped his life.
Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is more focused on King’s actions during the Civil Rights movement. It’s written by Doreen Rappaport and illustrated by Bryan Collier. This simple biography weaves together King’s words and Rappaport’s text to share King’s philosophy of nonviolence and equality. This book has won numerous awards, including being named as a Caldecott Honor book, a Coretta Scott King Honor book, and an ALA Notable Children’s book.
There are also excellent online resources for learning about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Check out the slide show of historical photographs at Scholastic Teacher, the resource list at the Center for Civic Education, and the National Civil Rights Museum e-Learning experience showing what life was like before the boycott.