We carry a great responsibility in bettering the world for our children. The greatest and most difficult responsibility of that task is to make our children aware of the current problems we face as a society, but in a way that gives them hope and makes them feel empowered to make change for the better.
The Martin Luther King, Jr. book from the Little People, Big Dreams series is a wonderful book to add to your library to help convey our current issues and frame these challenges in a way that inspires children to make change and to stand up for what is right. This Martin Luther King, Jr. book was written by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara and illustrated by Mai Ly Degnan. A little detail I love about this book: at the end, there are two pages of book covers of many of the other books in this series, giving many more opportunities to discuss social, cultural, and scientific contributors that have been influential.
This book begins with Martin Luther King, Jr. as a little boy wanting to play with his white friend but asked to leave because he is black. This leads him to think about how when he grows up, he wants to stand up for what is right. He goes to school, learns about Gandhi and peaceful protest, and becomes a pastor. It shows him speaking to his congregation about speaking up for what is right. The book briefly discusses supporting Rosa Parks by boycotting the buses. The book also covers Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous speech at The Lincoln Memorial and how he became the youngest person to receive a Nobel Peace Prize.
I think this a wonderful book that highlights the life of the inspirational Martin Luther King, Jr. Not only is it an approachable introduction to Martin Luther King, Jr. but it discusses racism in plain, honest language. I would introduce this book to a child as young as 4.5 - 5 years old. There are a lot of topics to discuss that branch off of this book, so it is a great starting point to learn more about cultures and social intricacies.
I would recommend that if when reading this book, if you are unsure about a topic that is discussed in the book, plainly state to your child that you don’t know and suggest that you learn more together.
Reading books about social justice issues and discussing what you are reading together is an excellent way to open up to what can be for some a difficult conversation. I have listed three articles here as resources for those that may want to read up on how to discuss racism with their children:
Have you read this book with your child already? What have been your experiences in discussing racism or other social topics with your child? Post below and share your story!