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

By Doreen Rappaport

We read this book all year long.  Simone and Nadia, who have an ear for lyrical text, pull it off the shelf on a regular basis. The lessons are obvious but still need to be taught or preached. I want Simone and Nadia to know they can do anything and they shouldn’t shy away from using big words. Among the other lessons: standing up for what’s right, standing up for others, and peacefully pursuing a purpose.

The book is written for children 4 and older and tackles tough subjects with grace. The picture book begins with King’s experience of seeing “White Only” signs in his hometown, and his mother makes sure he knows he is “as good as anyone.” Young readers and listeners receive an introduction to the civil rights icon and some history about him, including his role in the Montgomery Bus Boycott and a march for the Sanitation Workers’ Strike in Memphis. “On his second day there, he was shot. He died.”

This is the only children’s King book we own, and for now it is all we need.