Children’s Books to Read for Civil Rights Day

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Celebrated on the third Monday of January, Civil Rights Day is an alternative name for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Like MLK Day, this holiday is dedicated to human rights and one of the most notable figures in modern history (Martin Luther King Jr.). Mark this very special day by helping your young child to understand what civil rights are and the humanitarians who have helped people to get them. If you’re not sure how to communicate the importance of this day (and what civil rights are) these children’s books are easy for kids to understand and fun to read!

A Picture Book of Martin Luther King, by David A. Adler and Robert Casilla. This easy to understand book looks at MLK’s life, including his family and notable events. It’s perfect for children in the early elementary grades (grades one through three).

I Am Martin Luther King Jr., by Brad Meltzer and Christopher Eliopoulos. This kid-friendly biography teaches children about King and why his work was so very important. Children in kindergarten and the early elementary grades will enjoy this read.

The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a Young Civil Rights Activist, by Cynthia Levinson and Vanessa Brantley Newton. This children’s book introduces kids to a child who protested for civil rights. At 9-years-old, in 1963, she was arrested in a civil rights protest in Birmingham, Alabama. This book is an interesting read (or read to) for children in kindergarten through the elementary years.

Child of the Civil Rights Movement, by Paula Young Shelton and Raul Colon. The daughter of civil rights activist Andrew Young brings her own view of history to this children’s book. This pick is perfect for preschoolers through third graders.

Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hammer, by Carole Boston Weatherford and Ekua Holmes. This award-winner (it’s a 2016 Caldecott Honor Book, 2016 Robert F. Sibert Honor Book and 2016 John Steptoe New Talent Illustrator Award Winner) celebrates the life and work of equal voting rights activist Fannie Lou Hammer through poems and pictures. Children in the upper grade school levels and middle school will enjoy this one.