Educate your kids about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with this list of Martin Luther King, Jr. Books For Kids. Plus there are additional educational resources at the bottom of the post.
For more books for kids and for gifting, check out all of our books resources.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is Monday, January 15, 2023. It’s one of the few days that schools in our area are closed. In New York, our schools were closed for a plethora of holidays, but North Carolina’s holidays are far and few between.
But MLK Day is more than just a day off, an excuse to sleep in and enjoy a three day weekend.
If your kids are off from school, you probably want to sit down and educate them about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and how the civil rights leader shaped our country.
To help you, I had help putting together a list of 10+ Martin Luther King, Jr. books for kids.
You can find all of the books on Amazon, which makes getting them just a little bit easier. Find the titles, in no particular order, below.
10+ Martin Luther King, Jr. Books For Kids
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Martin Luther King Jr.: A Peaceful Leader by Sarah Albee
This Martin Luther King Jr.: A Peaceful Leader is an I Can Read Level 2 book. Of course, reading levels depend on your child, but Level 2 books are filled with simple text, generally for young readers, ages 4 to 8.
The book, which is good for Preschool to 3rd grade, is 32 pages. It’s filled with illustrations, a timeline of King’s life, and a ton of actual photos of Martin Luther King, Jr. and his family.
Robin Hill School Martin Luther King Jr. Day by Margaret McNamara
This Robin Hill School Martin Luther King Jr. Day book is a little meta, almost like a book within a book. But not really. It’s part of the Robin Hill School, which is focused on what the young children in a first grade class are learning about. So it’s a storybook more than a biographical book.
This Martin Luther King Jr. Day book focused more on what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stood for (and the hopes and dreams of this fictional first grade class) more than it is focused on the story of his life.
Dream March: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the March on Washington by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson
Dream March: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the March on Washington is a Level 3 Step into Reading Biography Reader, which is generally for kids who are ready to read on their own. It is geared towards grades 1 to 3.
The book is 48 pages long, with lots of illustrations on every page. It specifically focuses on the Dr. King’s historic march on Washington in the summer of 1963.
A Lesson for Martin Luther King Jr. by Denise Lewis Patrick
This A Lesson for Martin Luther King Jr. is Level 2 Ready-to-Read book, making it perfect for elementary schoolers (in late first grade to fourth grade).
This book isn’t a biography. It’s a story from when Martin Luther King, Jr.’s was a little kid that shaped him.
I honestly can’t find out if it’s a true story or a fictional story (it is a story about racial discrimination), but the lesson and sentiment are more important than anything else. The book is a great way to talk to your kids about this topic.
I Am: Martin Luther King Jr. by Grace Norwich
This I Am: Martin Luther King Jr. book is part of the “I Am” series, which is filled with biographies of important figures. Part of the book tells the story from the first person perspective, hence the name of the series.
This chapter book is filled with illustrations, a timeline, maps, a top ten list of important things to know about Martin Luther King, Jr., and more. It is geared towards kids in grades 3 to 5.
This book is (mostly) from the third-person voice, with sentences like, “I helped organize the Montgomery Bus Boycott” telling the story.
National Geographic Readers: Martin Luther King, Jr. by Kitson Jazynka
This National Geographic Readers: Martin Luther King, Jr. book is a level 3 reader, which is geared towards kids in grades 1 to 3 who are learning to read on their own. Many of the reviews state this is better for kids who are a little bit older, so keep that in mind.
There are sketches and photographs in the book, then questions at the end of the book to check in with the reader and see if she/he understood what she/he read, which makes it the perfect book to facilitate conversations about Martin Luther King and what he stood for.
Who Was Martin Luther King, Jr.?: A Who Was? Board Book by Lisbeth Kaiser
Who Was Martin Luther King, Jr.? is a board book for very young kids, ages 2 to 4. It’s the perfect way to introduce your youngest readers to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The book is 26 pages, filled with illustrations and words that toddlers can follow along to with ease.
Martin Luther King, Jr. and the March on Washington by Frances E. Ruffin
Martin Luther King, Jr. and the March on Washington focused on the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963, but it does also touch upon the segregation and discrimination prior to this event.
The book is a level 3 reader and is appropriate for kids in grades 1 to 3.
My First Biography: Martin Luther King, Jr. by Marion Dane Bauer
So. There’s mixed feelings on My First Biography: Martin Luther King, Jr. in the comments. The trouble some of the commenters have is that for a book on racism and segregation, the illustrations are pretty poor because the characters in the book are all roughly the same skin tone.
So, keep that in mind when you decide on this one or if you decide to go with an earlier book from this list.
Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Doreen Rappaport
This Martin’s Big Words is described as a picture book, but it’s so much more than that. Yes, the illusThis Martin’s Big Words is described as a picture book, but it’s so much more than that. Yes, the illustrations tell such a great story of Martin Luther King Jr.’s life, but the words of this book do so as well.
Quotes from some of his powerful speeches are used to tell his life story. And they fit perfectly with the watercolors and illustrations in the highly acclaimed book (it has won the Caldecott Honor, Coretta Scott King Honor, and the New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Children’s Book).
Purchase Martin Luther King Jr. Books Online:
We obviously couldn’t include all the great books written on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in this list. Like I am Martin Luther King, Jr. (Ordinary People Change the World) by Brad Meltzer pictured above. It’s great, but didn’t make our official list of books.
For more Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. children’s books, head to the stores below:
Be sure to check the store’s minimum cart total to qualify for free shipping. Or, choose instore or curbside pickup, where available, to avoid shipping costs.
Need educational resources on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.?
The majority of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. books in this list have Kindle versions. So if you’re finding this list on Martin Luther King Day, you can still read them today via an e-reader.
But, if you’d rather wait for the physical book, but want to teach your children about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. today, we have some resources below that can help.
You can stream this quick PBS Kids video on YouTube, which touches on his life, winning the Noble Peace Prize, the civil rights movement, and how Martin Luther King Day is meant to be a day of volunteering and service. It asks what kids are planning on doing in their own lives to support that idea today.
You can also stream Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Dream speech on YouTube as well.
For screen-free activities, check out the following:
- How To Talk To Kids About Martin Luther King Jr. Day from Scholastic
- Martin Luther King Jr Lessons, Worksheets and Activities from Teacher Planet
- Free Martin Luther King, Jr. Activities for Kids from The Kindergarten Connection (pictured above)
- Martin Luther King Jr. Day Worksheets and Lesson Plans from Education.com
- King Resources Overview from The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute
For some fun, check out these Martin Luther King color by number free printables and this Martin Luther King Jr. word search printable too.
More Books For Kids:
We have a few other posts about books for kids that you might want to check out as well. Those are Back-To-School Books (Preschool To Sixth Grade), Top Classic Little Golden Books To Add To Your Collection, and Dr. Seuss Books.
And, don’t forget about our 10+ Gifts For Young Book Lovers gift guide too.
Which of these Martin Luther King, Jr. Books For Kids are you going to start with?