Martin Luther King, Jr. -- Getting Ready to Celebrate His Birthday and Him

On Monday (the third Monday of January) the United States celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. His actual birthday is today, January 15th. To celebrate his birthday there are many events and most have to do with community service--doing for others. There are also parades, special breakfasts and all sorts of ways different people celebrate. With Hazel being five and just starting to really notice a difference in race, I thought we would spend some time learning about Martin Luther King, Jr. and how he helped change the world we live in.

Martin Luther King Jr with medallion NYWTS
Source: By Phil Stanziola, NYWT&S staff photographer 
[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Now Hazel knows that Monday is holiday. She knows there is no school. She even knows it is Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday, but besides that she did not know too much about the holiday. We went to the library and took out some books on the actual holiday.

Now some of our favorites have been:
  • Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King by Jean Marzollo (story about his life)
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day by Jill Foran (has some crafts, recipe, and a quiz at the end)
  • Martin Luther King Day by Janet McDonnell (has some activities and crafts at the end)
  • What is Martin Luther King, Jr., Day? by Margot Parker (not pictured--has a black sister and brother telling their white friends--a brother and sister-- all about the holiday and Martin Luther King, Jr.)
  • Our Martin Luther King Book by Patricia C. McKissack (describes what a class did to learn about segregation and Martin Luther King, Jr and to celebrate the day.)
We also took some books out about Martin Luther King's life and his activism. 

Of the books we have already taken out (we have some on hold from other libraries), our favorites are:
  • Martin's Big Words by Doreen Rappaport (a book about his life with quotes from Martin Luther King, Jr.)
  • Young Martin's Promise by Walter Dean Myers (a story about Martin's childhood)
  • My First Martin Luther King Book by Dee Lillegard (not pictured, but written in a way for younger children to understand a bit more)
Hazel started asking me recently about the friends who are not white. She is really starting to notice skin color. Then when we read these stories her question about segregation and all the violence was, "Why?" I heard, "Why didn't they let them? Why would they do that? Why did they shoot him?" We had a discussion about it all and how these people did not understand that God wants us to love everyone as He does. 
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that." -- Martin Luther King, Jr.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

Hazel thought we should make a giant poster with a big heart on it to remind everyone to love each other and she thought everyone should make one for their house as well. We haven't made our poster yet, but we did have some fun making hands. We pulled out Hazel's People Colors crayons from Lakeshore Learning.
 I suggested she trace her hand and color it in while I cleaned up from the cupcakes we made for her birthday celebration at school. This is what she came up with.
Then after cleaning up, I traced her hand (and my hand once) to make a circle. I colored them in with different colors.
I want to write something in the middle, but have not decided what yet. You will probably see this again soon with a quote from some black civil rights leader. For today this is what we did. We will be focusing on Martin Luther King, Jr. for a few more days, so please join us again. I think we will be focusing a lot on love as well. Between Valentine's Day and fighting hate with love, it seems like the perfect focus for now.

We will also be joining a group of Multicultural Kid Blogs in doing a Black History Month Blog Hop with a focus on civil rights leaders. I hope you will join us too!! For other ideas to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day check out: