When Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke, people listened. People from all nations listened to his powerful words that inspired many to march, sing, protest, and pray for justice. On this special day honoring the birthday of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., Jean Marzollo’s children’s book is a wonderful way to educate young readers about his life. Younger generations like my students who have grown up playing together, eating together, and going to school together often find the harsh reality of racial segregation hard to comprehend. Happy Birthday Martin Luther King is a simple introduction to Martin Luther King’s struggle to find peaceful ways to change the Jim Crow laws in America. It talks of the Montgomery bus boycotts started by Rosa Parks. It shows the 1963 March on Washington, where Martin Luther King gave his most famous "I Have a Dream" speech to a quarter of a million people. It tells of the tragic day when King was shot and killed in 1968. But most importantly, this book shares with children the reason why the United States has chosen to celebrate the birthday of a man who gave his life for the freedom of others.
“Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty we’re free at last!” – Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
For more children's books about people who fought for freedom, try Coretta Scott by Ntozake Shange or If a Bus Could Talk: The Rosa Parks Story by Faith Ringgold (click on links below).