Me: Who is Martin Luther King, Jr.?
Daughter (7yo): They have a book about him in the library, but I forgot who he was.
Son (9yo): Ok Mommy, Martin Luther King, Jr. was the first person who started the civil rights. Blacks and Whites were separated. It was called racism. Blacks couldn’t go to certain restaurants, restrooms, or schools and Martin Luther King had a problem with all that! He stood for Jesus and Civil Rights! Everybody loved him, but then someone walked up to him and shot him! That’s who Martin Luther King, Jr. was!
After listening to my children tell me what they know or don’t know about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., it made me feel like I honestly need to do more. My daughter has a book about him, that we’ve read a few times but it seems like the information went in one ear and out of the other.
I believe my son knows more about Dr. King because he has been learning more about racism, slavery and black history at school over the last two years. I will be honest, I haven’t taught my children a lot about racism. My son started learning about slavery, being called colored, and what being separated because of color means and then the questions started.
I believe I didn’t want to teach them about racism yet, because I didn’t want to see the hurt in their eyes after I explained that people will actually treat you different because of the color of your skin. The fact is, that their great grandparents didn’t live and enjoy the freedoms they do now. I knew the light in their eyes would dim, and even look at the world differently. It’s something that we have to teach and talk about, but I just wasn’t ready yet.
It is time.
Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday & holiday are coming up on January 15/19, and I wanted to share a few books, and one printable activity that you could use to teach your children about a man whose present actions changed our future.
Who is Martin Luther King, Jr. $4.27
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was only 25 when he helped organize the Montgomery Bus Boycott and was soon organizing black people across the country in support of the right to vote, desegregation, and other basic civil rights. With clearly written text that explains this tumultuous time in history and 80 black-and-white illustrations, this Who Was?? celebrates the vision and the legacy of a remarkable man.
A Picture Book of Martin Luther King, Jr. Paperback $5.29
As with Adler’s previous books in this series, the picture-book format serves as a highly effective, empathetic way to introduce the life and legacy of important Americans to young children. Here the highlights of King’s life are presented with an emphasis on his childhood and family. Children will immediately relate to his painful early experiences of racism and understand the genesis of his lifelong struggle for racial equality. Ages 4-9
Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Martin Luther King, Jr. Paperback $7.99
This picture-book biography is an excellent and accessible introduction for young readers to learn about one of the world’s most influential leaders, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Doreen Rappaport weaves the immortal words of Dr. King into a captivating narrative to tell the story of his life. With stunning art by acclaimed illustrator Bryan Collier, Martin’s Big Words is an unforgettable portrait of a man whose dream changed America-and the world-forever.
Printable Activity! After you read these books, here’s a fun tool that will allow them to write who is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr and what dream do they have for themselves and family. Click to download!
What do your children know about Martin Luther King, Jr.?
Have you talked to your children about racism?
Tiffani G from MyMommyVentsJanuary 9, 2015 at 9:28 am
My boys are still too little too grasp the concepts of racism and slavery, but we do teach them that we were kings and queens in Africa. They have a small book about MLK that we got from Target, but we’ve only read it a few times.
StacieJanuary 9, 2015 at 10:00 am
These are awesome resources you put together. I think every child should know the importance of such a great man. Hopefully I’ll get the chance to visit he Dr. Martin Luther King memorial.
Siobhan (BeFree Project)January 9, 2015 at 2:37 pm
What a great teachable moment… to visit the MLK monument, the books and printable worksheets. Thank you for sharing and I will check out these books for my children. 🙂
RenaeJanuary 9, 2015 at 2:59 pm
Thanks for sharing this!
Carin Kilby ClarkJanuary 9, 2015 at 9:11 pm
We definitely have to step in and augment what our children learn in school… and what troubles me is that as I’ve seen my 17yo son, 11yo daughter, and 7yo son grow and learn, they seem to teach less and less about racism and black history… so I’ve been adding to what they get from traditional school with more in-depth teachings at home.
Simone S.GrayJanuary 10, 2015 at 1:32 pm
It seems that every year I learn different things about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Thank you for sharing the book, although my kids are big (17&14 ) I think they’ll enjoy reading it.
MJJanuary 11, 2015 at 9:21 am
I will refer to this when Zoe is old enough to understand. For now I show her pictures and say a prayer. I’ve also played the I Have A Dream speech for her. She is two but I know it is important that we start young and hearing the speech is a part of that.
I can’t wait to take my family to visit the MLK exhibit in DC. Great pictures.
Katherine GJanuary 14, 2015 at 11:08 am
Yes. Do to recent events we have talked more about racism but we’ve been open about racism since the day they started to speak. I’m that person who is obsessed with watching old time movies. I think it leaves the door open for conversation.
Martin Luther King Jr Day of Service Project IdeasJanuary 15, 2015 at 11:17 am
[…] D.C. with her family. To help her children have a better understanding of his legacy she created a printable MLK activity sheet you can download for […]