Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Children's Books

Seira Wilson on January 16, 2017
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MLK200Today we celebrate the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. and 2017 is a particularly good year to reflect on how far we've come and also how far we still have to go.  While our educational system is slow in catching up, children's books are getting with the times and bringing diversity to the page at a much faster pace. Below are ten new children's books that recognize not only Martin Luther King Jr.'s fight for equality, but also the contributions and accomplishments of other African-Americans in our country's history.

 

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Martin's Dream Day by Kitty Kelley
(Ages 5-up)
 
 Famed author and journalist Kitty Kelly tells the story of the 1963 March on Washington.  Period photos throughout the book make the reader feel like they are right there, in the middle of it all.
 

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Frederick Douglass: The Lion Who Wrote History by Walter Dean Myers
(Ages 4-8, releases 1/24/17)
 
A beautiful and thorough picture book biography of Frederick Douglass written by bestselling author Walter Dean Myers and award-winning illustrator Floyd Cooper.
 

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Let's Clap, Jump, Sing & Shout; Dance, Spin & Turn It Out!: Games, Songs, and Stories from an African American Childhood by Patricia C. McKissack
(Ages 8-up)
 
A delightful collection of games, poems, and stories that will be a new classic for families everywhere.
 
 

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One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance by Nikki Grimes
(Ages 10-14)
 
A beautiful collection of poetry from Nikki Grimes that combines her own original poetry with works from important voices of the Harlem Renaissance era.
 

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The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a Young Civil Rights Activist by Cynthia Levinson
(Ages 5-10)
 
Kids will appreciate learning about how nine-year-old Audrey Faye Hendricks made history as the youngest child to be arrested for her participation in a Birmingham civil rights protest. 
 

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Fancy Party Gowns: The Story of Fashion Designer Ann Cole Lowe by Deborah Blumenthal
(Ages 4-8)
 
A fascinating picture book about Ann Cole Lowe who overcame adversity to follow her dream of becoming a fashion designer. Lowe created Jackie Kennedy's wedding dress and became "society's best kept secret" but thanks to Deborah Blumenthal, Lowe is finally in the spotlight.
 
 
 

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The March Against Fear: The Last Great Walk of the Civil Rights Movement and the Emergence of Black Power by Ann Bausum
(Ages 12-up)
 
An important moment in history, James Meredith's 1966 march in Mississippi was a pivotal moment in the civil rights movement.  Ann Bausum retells Meredith's story and how it drew powerful people together for an over-200 mile walk against fear and injustice.
 

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Hidden Figures Young Readers' Edition by Margot Lee Shetterly
(Ages 8-12)
 
The movie adaptation of the bestselling book is in theaters now, and with this young readers' edition kids can learn more about the remarkable contributions of four African-American female mathematicians at NASA.
 

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Lift Your Light a Little Higher: The Story of Stephen Bishop: Slave-Explorer by Heather Henson
(Ages 4-8)
 
A picture book account of Stephen Bishop, a slave who was tasked with guiding visitors into Mammoth Cave. Despite his circumstances, Bishop was an explorer and an expert on the Cave and this picture book serves as a great point of conversation about all that one person can accomplish.
 

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March: Book Three by John Lewis
(Ages 14-up)
 
The 2016 National Book Award Winner for Young People's Literature. The powerful conclusion to a trilogy that shares a firsthand account of the civil rights movement told in the style of a graphic novel.
 


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