How many books by Martin Luther King, Jr. have you read? We talk about this great man and quote his words all the time, but to see deep inside him we need to read his books.
The following four books are wonderful reading for high students and adults:
Strength To Love by Martin Luther King, Jr.
This collection of sermons and meditations, written during the Civil Rights struggles of the '60s, provides insight into King's spirituality and non-violence principles. But most of all it is about love - love for each other and the willingness to stand up for each other's rights. As King says: "Only through an inner spiritual transformation do we gain the strength to fight vigorously the evils of the world in a humble and loving spirit."
Why We Can't Wait by Martin Luther King, Jr.
"Never in American history has a group seized the streets, the squares, the sacrosanct business thoroughfares and the marble halls of government to protest and proclaim the unendurability of their oppression." Written in 1963, Why We Can't Wait explains the events and forces that created the civil rights movement and led to his protests and imprisonment in the Birmingham jail. Included here is his "Letter from the "Birmingham Jail."
Where Do We Go From Here by Martin Luther King, Jr.
Written in 1967, this book is a book of hope. Here Martin Luther King lays out his dream and strategic plans for the future and how his goals might be reached. Not only does he focus on the familiar and still existing need for jobs, good education, decent living conditions, and adequate wages in this country, but he makes the point that we have the resources and technology to end global poverty and suffering. The fact that his dream hasn't happened is something we all need to ponder.
So if you haven't read this book or read it long time ago. It is time to read it again. As one reviewer writes: "Over 45 years after its publication, this is a very relevant manuscript on America and her true potential."
The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. edited by Claybourne Carson
While not truly an autobiography (it was written after King's death) this book provides a sweeping over view of his life, told in the first person format that draws a reader in. The editor, a King scholar at Stanford University, has taken his papers and quoted directly or re-imagined what King would say about his life.
For young children, there are several books about Martin Luther King, Jr. that can be used to introduce his ideas and beliefs.
Martin's Big Words by Doreen Rappaport
Winner of the Loretta Scott King Award and the Caldecott, this picture book biography uses King's own words to create the narrative. Suitable for Preschool through upper elementary.
I Have Dream by Martin Luther King, Jr., illustrated by Kadir Nelson
Another winner of the Loretta Scott King Award, and illustrated by Caldecott winning Kadir Nelson, this picture book presents selected text from King's 1963 Lincoln Memorial "I Have a Dream Speech" set against beautifully detailed and inspirational illustrations. At the end of the book is the complete speech. A CD of the actual speech is also included.
The Martin Luther King National Historic Site provides an extensive list of easy-to-follow, thoughtful lessons for both the elementary and secondary levels as part of it's Curriculum for Empowerment
We offer books, activities, lesson plans, and ideas that teachers, parents, and students can use to promote values, attitudes and behaviors which encourage non-violent resolution of conflict, respect for human rights, democracy, intercultural understanding and tolerance.