Books for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Honoring an important part of American History with these children’s stories about Martin Luther King, Jr.'s life—and the Civil Rights movement of which he was part.

Compiled by:
Lizzie F.

Picture Books and Younger Elementary

The Cart That Carried Martin

Eve Bunting
Juvenile Nonfiction - J 323.092 Bun

Introduces young readers to details about Martin Luther King, Jr.'s funeral.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Margaret McNamara
Juvenile Early Readers – J ER Mcn

Mrs. Connor's students at Robin Hill School share their dreams for the future after learning about the day celebrating the life and dreams of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Doreen Rappaport
Juvenile Nonfiction – J 921 King Rap

 A picture book biography introducing the ideas and accomplishments of a gifted and influential speaker, by using his own words to tell his story.

That is My Dream!

Langston Hughes
Juvenile Nonfiction – J 811.54 Hug

An African American boy faces the harsh reality of segregation and racial prejudice, but he dreams of a different life—one full of freedom, hope, and wild possibility, where he can fling his arms wide in the face of the sun. Suitable for sharing with preschoolers too.

We March

Shane Evans
Juvenile Picture Books – Ej Eva

llustrations and brief text portray the events of the 1963 march in Washington, D.C., where the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered a historic speech. Great for sharing with preschoolers.

Older Elementary

As Good as anybody: Martin Luther King and Abraham Joshua Heschel's Amazing March Towards Freedom

Richard Michelson
Juvenile Nonfiction – J 323.092 Mic

The story of the friendship between Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, and their collective efforts to end discrimination through nonviolent peace protests and marches.

Brown Girl Dreaming

Jacqueline Woodson
Juvenile Nonfiction – J 811.54 Woo

The author shares her childhood memories and reveals the sparks that ignited her writing career in free-verse poems about growing up in the North and the South.

Freedom Walkers: The Story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott

Russell Freedman
Juvenile Nonfiction – J 323.119 Fr

Covers the events surrounding and including the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which ended segregation on pubic buses.

I Have A Dream

Martin Luther King, Jr.
Juvenile Nonfiction – J 323.092 Kin

An illustrated edition of Martin Luther King's famous "I Have a Dream" speech.

Love Will See You Through: Martin Luther King Jr.'s Six Guiding Beliefs (As Told by His Niece)

Angela Farris Watkins
Juvenile Nonfiction – J 323.092 Wat

The niece of Martin Luther King Jr. reveals six timeless and universal principles that encompass the Civil Rights leader's greatest legacy, reinforcing the truth that "the universe honors love."

Marching for Freedom: Walk Together, Children, and Don't You Grow Weary

Elizabeth Partridge
Juvenile Nonfiction – J 323.1196 Par

An examination of the landmark march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965 led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., this book focuses on the children who faced terrifying violence in order to walk alongside him in their fight for freedom and the right to vote.

Martin and Mahalia: His Words, Her Song

Andrea Davis Pinkney
Juvenile Nonfiction – J 921 King Pin

Explores the intersecting lives of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. and gospel singer Mahalia Jackson at the historic moment when their joined voices inspired landmark changes.

My Brother Martin: A Sister Remembers Growing Up with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Christine King Farris
Juvenile Nonfiction – J 921 King Far

The early life of Martin Luther King, Jr., as seen through the eyes of his older sister.

Nobody Gonna Turn Me 'Round

Doreen Rappaport
Juvenile Nonfiction – J 323.1196 Ra

Introduces readers to the people, armed with the songs and strength passed down from their ancestors, who profoundly impacted the American Civil Rights movement.


Nikki Giovanni
Juvenile Nonfiction – J 921 Parks Gio

The story of a young black woman's courageous act of defiance that set in motion the events that ended of the segregated south, gave equality to blacks throughout the nation, and forever changed the country in which we live.

Seeds of Freedom: The Peaceful Integration of Huntsville, Alabama

Hester Bass
Juvenile Nonfiction – J 323.1196 Bas

"In an engaging celebration of this lesser-known chapter in American and African-American history, author Hester Bass and illustrator E. B. Lewis show children how racial discrimination, bullying, and unfairness can be faced successfully with perseverance and ingenuity." —Amazon

Sit-in: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down

Andrea Davis Pinkney
Juvenile Nonfiction – J 323.1196 Pin

A picture book celebrating the 50th anniversary of the momentous Woolworth's lunch counter sit-in, when four college students staged a peaceful protest that became a defining moment in the struggle for racial equality and the growing Civil Rights movement.

Through My Eyes

Ruby Bridges
Juvenile Nonfiction - J 921 Bridges Bri

Ruby Bridges recounts the story of her involvement, as a six-year-old, in the integration of her school in New Orleans in 1960.

Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom : My Story of the Selma Voting Rights March

Lynda Blackmon Lowery
Juvenile Nonfiction – J 323.1196 Low

Shares the story of the youngest person to complete the Selma to Montgomery March, describing her frequent imprisonment for participating in nonviolent demonstrations— and how she felt about her involvement in Civil Rights events.

Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement

Carole Boston Weatherford
Juvenile Nonfiction – J 323.092 Wea

A collage-illustrated treasury of poems and spirituals, inspired by the life and work of Civil Rights advocate Fannie Lou Hamer.

Voices from the March on Washington

J. Patrick Lewis
Juvenile Nonfiction – J 811 Lew

Six fictional characters, in cycles of linked poems, relate their memories of the historic day in 1963 when more than 250,000 people from across the United States joined together to march on Washington, D.C. calling for civil and economic rights for African Americans.

We Troubled the Waters: Poems

Ntozake Shange
Juvenile Nonfiction – J 811.54 Sha

Poetry and paintings in tribute to the many who acted with courage for justice and change during the Civil Rights movement.

What Was the March on Washington?

Kathleen Krull
Juvenile Nonfiction – J 323.1196 Kru

Describes the 1963 March on Washington, helmed by Martin Luther King, Jr., where over two hundred thousand people gathered to demand equal rights for all races—and explains why this event is still important in American history today.

What Was Your Dream, Dr. King?: And Other Questions about Martin Luther King, Jr.

Mary Kay Carson
Juvenile Nonfiction – J 323.092 Car

"An introduction to the example and achievements of the influential civil rights leader poses and answers key questions about his life and time, offering insight into such topics as segregation, the 1963 Civil Rights March, and the history and purpose of his famous speeches." —Publisher