Plano Reads: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Learn more about the life and time of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with this book list.

Whether you’re looking to learn more about Dr. King or his famous speech, this book list has something for everyone to enjoy. We’ve included titles for all ages, from preschool to adult. You can see the books below and place them on hold in our catalog.

Board Books

Note: Board books are unavailable for holds requests. To check out these titles, you’ll need to come to a library and grab it from the display. The catalog link will show you where the book is available.

I Am Brave: A Little Book about Martin Luther King, Jr. by Brad Meltzer Request
Uses Martin Luther King’s life to teach young readers to be brave in the face of adversity.

Picture Books

I Am Martin Luther King, Jr. by Brad Meltzer Request
A biography of Martin Luther King Jr. that tells the story of how he used nonviolence to lead the civil rights movement.

Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop: The Sanitation Strike of 1968 by Alice Faye Duncan Request
This historical fiction picture book presents the story of nine-year-old Lorraine Jackson, who in 1968 witnessed the Memphis sanitation strike–Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s final stand for justice before his assassination–when her father, a sanitation worker, participated in the protest. 

We March by Shane W. Evans Request
Illustrations and brief text portray the events of the 1963 march in Washington, D.C., where the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. delivered a historic speech.

Junior Nonfiction

Be a King: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Dream and You by Carol Boston Weatherford Request
You can be a King. Stamp out hatred. Put your foot down and walk tall. You can be a King. Beat the drum for justice. March to your own conscience. Featuring a dual narrative of the key moments of Dr. King’s life alongside a modern class as the students learn about him, Carole Weatherford’s poetic text encapsulates the moments that readers today can reenact in their own lives. See a class of young students as they begin a school project inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and learn to follow his example, as he dealt with adversity and never lost hope that a future of equality and justice would soon be a reality. As times change, Dr. King’s example remains, encouraging a new generation of children to take charge and change the world . . . to be a King.

Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day by Sally Lee Request
Discusses the history and importance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, as well as ways that Americans celebrate it.

March On!: The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World by Christine King Farris Request
Having led thousands in a march for civil rights to the foot of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. made the most of the historical moment by giving a speech that would forever inspire people to continue to fight for change in the years ahead.

Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Doreen Rappapport Request
Martin Luther King, Jr., was one of the most influential and gifted speakers of all time. Doreen Rappaport uses quotes from some of his most beloved speeches to tell the story of his life and his work in a simple, direct way. Bryan Collier’s stunning collage art combines remarkable watercolor paintings with vibrant patterns and textures. A timeline and a list of additional books and web sites help make this a standout biography of Dr. King.

Martin & Mahalia: His Words, Her Song by Andrea Davis Pinkney Request
Explores the intersecting lives of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. and gospel singer Mahalia Jackson at the historic moment when their joined voices inspired landmark changes.

Martin Rising: Requiem for a King by Andrea Davis Pinkney Request
In a rich embroidery of visions, musical cadence, and deep emotion, Andrea and Brian Pinkney convey the final months of Martin Luther King’s life — and of his assassination — through metaphor, spirituality, and multilayers of meaning.

My Daddy, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Martin Luther King III Request
An account of the author’s brief years shared with his civil rights leader father offers insight into their special bond, their separation during Dr. King’s imprisonment, and the author’s five-year-old witness to the famous “I Have a Dream” speech.

My Uncle Martin’s Words for America: Martin Luther King Jr.’s Niece Tells How He Made a Difference by Angela Farris Watkins Request
Angela Farris Watkins, the niece of Martin Luther King Jr., recounts her uncle’s work to promote racial equality and introduces key events during the civil rights era.

A Place to Land: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Speech that Inspired a Nation by Barry Wittenstein Request
The true story behind the writing of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

Junior Biography

Martin Luther King Jr. by Emma E. Haldy Request
The My Itty-Bitty Bio series are biographies for the earliest readers. This book examines the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. in a simple, age-appropriate way that will help children develop word recognition and reading skills. Includes a timeline and other informative backmatter.

Martin Luther King Jr. by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara Request
In this book from the critically acclaimed, multimillion-copy best-selling Little People, BIG DREAMS series, discover the life of Martin Luther King Jr., the inspiring minister and civil rights activist.

Who Was Martin Luther King, Jr.? by Bonnie Bader Request
An introduction to the life Martin Luther King, Jr. Including how he organized the Montgomery Bus Boycott and African American people across the country in support of the right to vote, desegregation, and other basic civil rights.

Young Adult

Chasing King’s Killer: The Hunt for Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Assassin by James L. Swanson Request
James Earl Ray and Martin Luther King, Jr. had two very different life journeys — but their paths fatally collide when Ray assassinates the world-renown civil rights leader. This book provides an inside look into both of their lives, the history of the time, and a blow-by-blow examination of the assassination and its aftermath.

Martin and Bobby: A Journey Toward Justice by Claire Rudolf Murphy Request
Martin and Bobby follows the lives and final days of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert Kennedy, showing how and where their work intersected and how their initially wary relationship evolved from challenging and testing one another to finally “arriving in the same place” as allies fighting poverty and racism.

Martin Luther King, Jr.: A King Family Tribute by Angela Farris Watkins Request
Martin Luther King Jr.’s family comes together for the first time to share their reflections and memories of the great civil rights leader. Included are contributions from his sister (the only surviving member of his immediate family), his children, his in-laws, his nieces and nephews, and even his grandchildren, who, although they never met him, explain what his legacy means to them.

Strong Voices: Fifteen American Speeches Worth Knowing Request
Presents a collection of speeches, with historical context and insights, that have shaped the culture of the United States, including Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg address, Lou Gehrig’s “Farewell to Baseball,” and Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream.”

Adult

The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. by Clayborne Carson Request
Celebrated Stanford University historian Clayborne Carson is the director and editor of the Martin Luther King Papers Project; with thousands of King’s essays, notes, letters, speeches, and sermons at his disposal, Carson has organized King’s writings into a posthumous autobiography.

The Dream: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Speech That Inspired a Nation by Drew D. Hansen Request
Opening with an enthralling account of the August day in 1963 that saw 250,000 Americans converge at the March on Washington, The Dream delves into the fascinating and little-known history of King’s speech. Hansen explores King’s compositional strategies and techniques, and proceeds to a brilliant analysis of the “I Have a Dream” speech itself, examining it on various levels: as a political treatise, a work of poetry, and as a masterfully delivered and improvised sermon bursting with biblical language and imagery.

I May Not Get There With You: the True Martin Luther King, Jr. by Michael Eric Dyson Request
A private citizen who transformed the world around him, Martin Luther King, Jr., was arguably the greatest American who ever lived. Now, after more than thirty years, few people understand how truly radical he was. In this groundbreaking examination of the man and his legacy, provocative author, lecturer, and professor Michael Eric Dyson restores King’s true vitality and complexity and challenges us to embrace the very contradictions that make King relevant in today’s world.

Redemption: Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Last 31 Hours by Joseph Rosenbloom Request
An “immersive, humanizing, and demystifying” (Charles Blow, New York Times ) look at the final hours of Dr. King’s life as he seeks to revive the non-violent civil rights movement and push to end poverty in America.

To the Promised Land: Martin Luther King and the Fight for Economic Justice by Michael K. Honey Request
Fifty years ago, a single bullet robbed us of one of the world’s most eloquent voices for human rights and justice. [This book] goes beyond the iconic view of Martin Luther King Jr. as an advocate of racial harmony, to explore his profound commitment to the poor and working class and his call for ‘nonviolent resistance’ to all forms of oppression–including the economic injustice that ‘takes necessities from the masses to give luxuries to the classes.’ Phase one of King’s agenda led to the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts. But King also questioned what good it does a man to ‘eat at an integrated lunch counter if he doesn’t earn enough money to buy a hamburger and a cup of coffee?’ In phase two of his activism, King organized poor people and demonstrated for union rights, while also seeking a ‘moral revolution’ to replace the self-seeking individualism of the rich along with an overriding concern for the common good. ‘Either we go up together or we go down together,’ King cautioned, a message just as urgent in America today as then. To the Promised Land challenges us to think about what it would mean to truly fulfill King’s legacy and move toward his vision of ‘the Promised Land’ in our own time.

The Sword and the Shield: The Revolutionary Lives of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. by Peniel E. Joseph Request | eBook
The Sword and the Shield is a dual biography of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King that transforms our understanding of the twentieth century’s most iconic African American leaders. Peniel E. Joseph reveals a nuanced portrait of two men who, despite markedly different backgrounds, inspired and pushed each other throughout their adult lives. This is a strikingly revisionist biography, not only of Malcolm and Martin, but also of the movement and era they came to define.

The American Story: Conversations with Master Historians by David M. Rubenstein and Carla Hayden eBook
Patriotic philanthropist David M. Rubenstein takes readers on a sweeping journey across the grand arc of the American story through revealing conversations with our greatest historians. In these lively dialogues, the biggest names in American history explore the subjects they’ve come to so intimately know and understand, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


The library will be closed Sunday, January 17 and Monday, January 18 in observance of the holiday. Book drops will be closed during this time, but be sure to browse the library catalog online here, and use your library card number and PIN (last four digits of your phone number) to place a hold request.

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