The unveiling of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial is more than a celebration of history. It’s a claim to the future. The memory of MLK and the civil rights movement will not fade if this granite tribute has anything to do with it.
The memorial will provide an opportunity to pass down the stories of the man and the crusade. During the unveiling festivities, especially, is a good time to share some of that history with our children.
The D.C. public library system is offering a series of memorial events and exhibits throughout its branches, including an interactive project that asks the public to share their “King stories” on the library’s Twitter and YouTube accounts.
Among the offerings, the main branch of the system, fittingly named the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, will hold MLK-themed story times Wednesday morning for 2- to 3-year-olds and Thursday morning for preschoolers. There will also be a film screening Wednesday afternoon.
The children’s librarians there, Mary F. Phelan and Eboni Curry, have shared below a list of suggested books for different age groups. A more comprehensive collection is on display and available at the library.
Preschool and early elementary
“Martin’s Big Words,” by Doreen Rappaport, illustrated by Bryan Collier (Hyperion, 2001).
“My Brother Martin: A Sister Remembers Growing Up With the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.” by Christine King Farris, illustrated by Chris Soentpiet (Simon & Schuster, 2003).
“Grandmama’s Pride,” by Becky Birtha, illustrated by Colin Bootman (Albert Whitman & Company, 2005).
“Ron’s Big Mission,” by Rose Blue and Corrine J. Naden, illustrated by Don Tate (Dutton Juvenile, 2009).
“I’ve Seen the Promised Land: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” by Walter Dean Myers, illustrated by Leonard Jenkins (Amistad, 2003).
“A Taste of Colored Water,” written and illustrated by Matt Faulkner (Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, 2008).
“Richard Wright and the Library Card,” by William Miller, illustrated by Gregory Christie (Lee & Low Books, 1999).
“Ruth and the Green Book,” by Calvin A. Ramsey, illustrated by Floyd Cooper (Carolrhoda Books, 2010).
“Freedom Riders: John Lewis and Jim Zwerg on the Front Lines of the Civil Rights Movement,” by Ann Bausum (National Geographic Children’s Books, 2005).
“When Marian Sang: The True Recital of Marian Anderson, the Voice of a Century,” by Pam Munoz Ryan, illustrated by Brian Selznick (Scholastic Press, 2002).
Middle school and teens
“Freedom Walkers: The Story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott,” by Russell Freedman (Holiday House, 2006).
“Marching for Freedom: Walk Together, Children, and Don’t You Grow Weary,” by Elizabeth Partridge (Viking Juvenile, 2009).
“Through My Eyes,” by Ruby Bridges (Scholastic Press, 1999).
“Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice,” by Phillip Hoose (Square Fish, 2010).
“If a Bus Could Talk: The Story of Rosa Parks,” written and illustrated by Faith Ringgold (Aladdin, 2003).