This book suggestion comes with some cautions, so you may want to read through the entire post before purchasing the book.
For me and our homeschooling curriculum, I want to be sure to talk to my daughter about different aspects of history and the important people in it. So it was clear that we would talk about Martin Luther King, Jr.
With MLK Day coming soon, I decided to order a book online to pair with the a recipe. I chose Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Doreen Rappaport. Because of the significance of King and his journey, I wanted a children’s book that was accurate and not filled with fluff that skirts the issues. After reading the synopsis online, this biographical book seemed to fill that.
The book starts with King as a child and his understanding of racism (with seeing “Whites Only” signs) and moves all the way through significant events in his life to his death.
I love that the book incorporates different quotes from King within the story and covers the importance of the civil rights movement in a basic way without getting too detailed and going over children’s heads. There are fantastic watercolors that fill each page, also.
CAUTION: This is a difficult topic and I do not recommend this particular book to young ages. The book is listed as age 5 and up, but I think it’s more for ages 8 to 12. I read it to my 4 year old, but I spent a great deal of time discussing each page and the issue of race and civil rights and hatred from some people. Although the book doesn’t go into details on his death, it does reveal that he was shot and died, which may be too much for little children.
Later, after reading the book and discussing it, I asked my daughter if she was happy we read it and she said “yes and no” and then she wanted to look at the page that talked about him getting shot again. We’re very open talking to our daughter about death; however, if you are not or your child is easily disturbed, you may want to reconsider purchasing this book.
I do not recommend this to educators (teachers, etc.) for kids under age 8. (There are other MLK books that may be more appropriate for this age group.)
Since this was such a serious and important topic, it was hard to come up with a recipe to pair with this book. However, in a nod to Dr. King’s birthplace of Atlanta, we decided to make a peach smoothie. The four year old said, “this is the best smoothie I’ve ever had!” (It is pretty tasty! If you’re making it for a healthy smoothie for yourself, throw in a tablespoon of flaxseed when blending to get more fiber in your diet.)