You can also read these books with your sibling, your niece, your best friend’s child, or any young person you care about. Take this opportunity to share a good book while discussing the civil rights movement with the next generation of Americans.
1. Child of the Civil Rights Movement, written by Paula Young Shelton and illustrated by Raul Colón.
Written by the daughter of civil rights activist Andrew Young, this book recounts a child’s perspective on growing up among a community of civil rights families, eventually culminating in the historic march from Selma to Montgomery. Grade Level: K-3
Author Doreen Rappaport weaves Martin Luther King Jr.’s own words into this picture book about his life. A Coretta Scott King Honor book, it’s a beautifully illustrated and lyrical story that’s accessible for all ages and perfect for lap-reading. Grade Level: K-4
When she was six years old, Ruby Bridges was one of the first African American children to integrate into a whites-only school in New Orleans. She walked through protesters and sat in empty classrooms after white parents pulled their children out. Ruby persevered, showing bravery and strength. The anniversary edition has an afterword by Ruby herself, fifty years later. Grade Level: 3-5
Set in 1968 Oakland, this book tells the story of Delphine and her two younger sisters as they spend the summer with their estranged mother. She sends the girls out to the local community center, run by the Black Panthers, and over the next four weeks the girls learn a good deal about the revolution. A touching and hard-won story about that ways that movements affect personal lives and about building family. Grade Level: 3-5
For the kid who loves comics, here’s a graphic novel that tells the story of Martin Luther King Jr.’s life, including the issues that spurred his involvement in the civil rights movement. Using quotations from his actual speeches, this book would be an ideal read for an older child who’s ready to learn more about this pivotal time in history. Grade Level: 4-6