Bandy, Michael S., and Eric Stein.
White Water: Inspired by a True Story
. Somerville, Mass.: Candlewick Press, 2011. Print. Based on his own experiences as a child, Bandy relays a story about segregation, told through the experiences of a young boy who dares to question the way things were during this tumultuous period in history.
. Des Plaines, Ill.: Heinemann Interactive Library, 1998. Print. This non-fiction text tells the story of one of history's most influential men and encourages children to think about the historical time period, the country he lived in and his achievements. The text features within this book provide children with a great many ways to understand and relate to new vocabulary and information.
Martin Luther King Jr
. New York: Aladdin Paperbacks, 2008. Print. The text features within this non-fiction book allow readers to feel as an eyewitness to ten critical days in the life of Martin Luther King including the events, which led up to his peaceful protests as well as the monumental moments, which define his character to this day as a peaceful hero.
Coles, Robert, and George Ford.
The Story of Ruby Bridges
. New York: Scholastic, 1995. Print. This moving story tells a true account of how a six-year-old girl demonstrated courage and honor as the first African American sent to a first grade in an all white school. Ruby Bridges demonstrates to young readers how age does not limit one's ability to be a true hero in the face of adversity.
Curtis, Christopher Paul.
The Watsons Go to Birmingham--1963
. New York: Delacorte Press, 1995. Print. Christopher Paul Curtis's novel won both the Newbery Honor and the Coretta Scott King Honor due to its deeply moving yet entertaining way of combining the fictional account of an African American family with the factual events of the violent summer of 1963 wherein the Sixteenth Avenue Baptist Church is bombed and innocent children are victims. The narrator of this story is a fourth grader named Kenny and his sincere nature and innocence brings young readers authentically into to his world as his story unfolds.
. New York: Margaret McElderry Books, 2001. Print. This beautifully illustrated account of Gandhi's life allows children to learn about the events which led to his title, Mahatma or 'great soil', by way of choice quotes which highlight Gandhi's message of nonviolence, simplicity and peaceful protest.
Enix, Veronica, and T. Taylor Bruce.
The Day Martin Luther King, Jr. Died
. Bothell, WA: Wright Group, 1997. Print. This historical fiction tells the story of what a third grade girl, modeled after the author herself, experiences the day MLK Jr. was shot in such a way that any child around this age could understand and relate to the emotions which arise with such a tragedy. Readers who are removed from these events gain insight into the significance MLK must have had in the lives of so many Americans.
Farris, Christine King, and London Ladd.
March On!: The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World
. New York: Scholastic Press, 2008. Print. This electric picture book, told from the viewpoint of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s older sister, is a personal, honorary account of the 1963 March on Washington. Although the main focus of this book is on the march itself, Farris takes a moment to reflect on their childhood as a way to highlight their upbringing, which taught them the importance of doing good, yet not bragging about it. King's sister also gives us a look into the night before the march, when Dr. King stayed up to work on his speech until the very last minute demonstrating his perseverance, determination and commitment to this momentous movement.
One Crazy Summer
. New York: Amistad, 2010. Print. In the summer of 1968, our country was going through great changes. In April, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, and President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act. The Black Panthers organized to promote Black Power in Oakland. Garcia tells a story of three young girls who go to Oakland to visit their mother, who has abandoned them to be a poet. Through the eyes of an eleven-year-old girl, Delphine, the reader is led to understand the historical changes our country was undergoing in a way only an innocent child could express.
Giovanni, Nikki, and Bryan Collier.
. New York: Henry Holt, 2005. Print. This marvelously illustrated picture book takes readers on a journey through Rosa Park's life, beginning with her role as a loving daughter, dedicated wife and talented seamstress. The story fluidly moves to the historical moments she is most famous for making sure to intertwine those events, which further defined her peaceful protest, like the Brown v, Board of Ed. Decision, the aftermath of murder of Emmit Till and MLK's movement.
Holland, Leslie J.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s I Have a Dream Speech in Translation: What It Really Means
. Mankato, Minn.: Capstone Press, 2009. Print. This informational text is replete with text-features, which assist a young reader in understanding more concretely MLK Jr.'s famous speech. Through explanatory fact boxes, photographs, bold-faced words, timelines and kid-friendly glossaries, this text guides young readers to analyze, connect to and deeply comprehend the gravity King's dream.
Jackson, Garnet, and George Ford.
Martin Luther King, Jr.: A Man of Peace
. New York: Scholastic, 2001. Print. This informational text is an excellent choice for struggling readers as it presents MLK's life through simple text supported by illustrative photographs.
Levine, Ellen, and Beth Peck.
If You Lived at the Time of Martin Luther King
. New York, NY: Scholastic, 1990. Print. Ellen Levine herself writes, "Writing nonfiction lets me in behind the scenes of the story. I enjoy learning new things and meeting new people, even if they lived 200 years ago. Real heroes aren't necessarily on TV or in the news. They can be ordinary people who are willing to take risks for causes they believe in. Nonfiction offers a way to introduce young readers to real people who have shown tremendous courage, even when faced with great danger. All of us have the potential. And one doesn't have to be a grown-up." In all of her non-fiction books, Levine takes great care to understand her young audience just as ineptly as she researches the historical information the she relays. Through his text, Levine takes the reader on a journey back in history in a way, which engages young readers and informs them of a time less familiar.
Medearis, Angela Shelf, and Anna Rich.
Dare to Dream: Coretta Scott King and the Civil Rights Movement
. New York: Lodestar Books, 1994. Print. Using Coretta Scott King's autobiography as her primary source, Medearis relays a straight-forward, entertaining biography for young readers which charts the milestones in Coretta Scott King's life from her early dream to be an opera singer, her marriage to MLK, her involvement in the civil rights movement, and her continued dedication to her husband's work after his death. As a way to support a naïve young reader, the author makes sure to include information on segregation, Rosa Parks and the Montgomery bus boycott, and other key events in the civil rights movement as well as illustrations and photographs which assist visual learners.
Pinkney, Andrea Davis, and J. Brian Pinkney.
Sit-in: How Four Friends Stood Up By Sitting Down
. New York: Little, Brown, 2010. Print. Andrea Davis Pinkney skillfully employs literary techniques of metaphor, imagery and poetic prose to inform the reader of the moving story of four young students, who followed Martin Luther King Jr.'s words of peaceful protest and dared to sit at the "whites only" Woolworth's lunch counter. Brian Pinkney uses his artistic style to create expressive paintings filled with emotion that reflect the hope, strength, and determination that drove the dreams of these students and many others.
Ballad of Birmingham
. Detroit: Broadside Press, 1965. Print. This simple yet moving poem about the bombing of the church in Birmingham and the death of four young girls is an artistic way to introduce the tragic event to young children who will be spared the gruesome details yet connect with the heartfelt sentiment of a mother who lost her beloved child in a most violent way.
Rappaport, Doreen, and Bryan Collier.
Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
. New York: Hyperion Books for Children, 2001. Print. Rappaport crafts this biography in such a way that the reader is left to ponder the importance of each word, most notably, Marin Luther King's own words, on the page. The watercolor and collage illustrations exude with the emotion felt by King throughout the marches, peaceful protests, boycotts and speeches leaving the reader to share in the same spirit, which lives on through his memory.
Roop, Peter, Connie Roop, and Rebecca Zomchek.
Tales of Famous Heroes
. New York: Scholastic Reference, 2010. Print. This collection of introductions to various famous heroes with its caricature illustrations and fun facts allows children to get a taste of what makes a hero and pique their interest in reading more in-depth about one which inspires them the most.
Ruffin, Frances E., and Stephen Marchesi.
Martin Luther King, Jr. and the March on
Washington. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 2001. Print. This informational text is appropriate for struggling readers to get a clearer understanding of the March on Washington by way of simple text and illustrations which guide a lower reader in an exploration of his or her own independent reading.
Shelton, Paula Young and Raul Colon.
Child of the Civil Rights Movement
. New York: Schwartz & Wade Books, 2010. Print. This is a story about a little girl who lives through the civil rights movement and is based on real events, which the author experienced as a child. The story follows the experiences of her family as they move from New York, where segregation is not as prevalent, to Georgia where whites and blacks are clearly separated. The story is one of inspiration as the family faces the adversities of racism and works together to make a difference, closely aligning themselves with King's message of peaceful protest and equality.
Little Rock Girl 1957: How a Photograph Changed the Fight for Integration
. Mankato, Minn.: Compass Point Books, 2012. Print. In 1957, after nine African American girls bravely tried to integrate into an all white high school, a photograph would capture the harassment, torture and threats one of these girls faced at the hands of an angry mob. This photograph speaks one thousand words and is a most effective way to demonstrate the truth of the times to those less familiar with the realities of segregation.
Weatherford, Carole Boston, and Jerome Lagarrigue.
Freedom On the Menu: The GreensboroSit-Ins
. New York: Dial Books for Young Readers, 2005. Print. This story is told through the experiences of an eight-year-old girl who witnesses the sit-in movement at Woolworth's lunch counter and what she ends up doing to be a part of such a movement which would allow her to eat a banana split sundae with all the others, regardless of skin color.
Winter, Jonah, and Sean Addy.
. New York: Arthur A. Levine Books, 2009. Print. This collection of introduction to the lives and work of heroic men and women heralds not only their accomplishments as heroes but the peaceful means by which the attained their heroic title. Both Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. found their place in this honorary collection and are reflected as brothers in the pursuit of non-violence.