Ways for kids to honor and learn about Martin Luther King Jr.

“I am Martin Luther King, Jr.” by Author Brad Meltzer and illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos.

By Donna Duarte-Ladd

Kids may be excited about having Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday off on Monday. We all need a day off. However, it’s essential, especially with the current state of affairs, that children understand the holiday’s significance.

While we may be celebrating differently this year minus parades and huge social outings, here are some educational ways kids can learn and honor Martin Luther King, Jr.


The Story of Martin Luther King Jr. by Kid President

Kids listen to kids, and this video by Kid President (when can we vote for this genius?) shares Martin Luther King Jr’s story, and he has the gift of storytelling that even adults will appreciate. 

Brain Pop Animated Video

In a little over 6 minutes, BrainPop Jr. shares an in-depth story on MLK Jr., which is told in a way that even the youngest of kids will understand and learn about one of the most important civil rights leaders of all time.  

“Selma” movie directed by Ava DuVernay

“Selma” is a movie that focuses on three months of what has been stated as a “tumultuous” time. Sharing the story in 1965 of Montogomery marches for voting rights, this movie is a telling. Although not a history lesson on civil rights but of a pivotal time in the fight for civil rights, it feels unfortunately relative to the struggles that the Black Lives Matter movement faces today. Most importantly, it shares a time of the life of the great Martin Luther King, Jr. The movie is rated PG-13 and features violence.


Free printables of Martin Luther King, Jr:

Print out these free printables for your little one, courtesy of Crayola.  

Books for young readers:

This sweet picture book by historian Brad Meltzer and illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos tells how, as a child, Martin Luther King Jr. was shocked at how unfairly Black people were treated. It shares how, as an adult, he made a difference with peaceful marches and powerful words. The beautifully illustrated book shares MLK’s “dream” and will inspire kids to not only understand who he was but know that they can make a difference.

I Am Martin Luther King Jr by Brad Meltzer

Listen to Brad Meltzer’s I am Martin Luther King Jr with Read Books Aloud by Ms. Melange.

Listen to MLK Jr. inspired tunes:

If the kids need a break from the books, than it’s time to break out the music and listen to some tunes. Oscar-winner for Best Original Song (2015), this tune from Common and John Legend, Glory is from the movie Selma and one of the most moving and powerful songs about civil rights struggle. 

Stevie Wonder’s Happy Birthday is sung on many birthdays. Still, this song was written as a tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. and to this day, next to the traditional Happy Birthday melody is one of the most popular birthday songs sung around the world.