Remembering MLK

Graphic by Jane Ann, my school's webmaster
What resources will you be using to talk about Martin Luther King, Jr. this year? 

A few of my favorite books with a civil-rights theme include:

A Taste of Colored Water by Matt Falkner
Sit-In by Andrea Davis Pinkney
The Colors of Us by Karen Katz

The one that I'm going to use in guidance this month is 
Ron's Big Mission by Rose Blue and Corinne Naden.

Do you know this book? It's about Challenger astronaut Ron McNair and his fight to get a library card. That's right, I said a library card ... can you imagine? I can't wait to see my students' reaction when they experience this boy's struggle to secure something as simple as a library card! 
Consider this question: Why was he allowed to read books at the library but not to check them out? 
Extend it further to prompt an interesting persuasive paragraph or speech: You have been denied a library card, just like Ron. Convince me that you should be allowed to have one. 
Reflect on this inquiry: How might the story - and life - be different if Ron McNair hadn't gotten that library card?
Ask students: How could you be a leader like Ron McNair?
Compare and contrast the rights and responsibilities of children today and those living in Martin Luther King's time.
Illustrate these expressions on a blank piece of paper folded into four quadrants:

Fair and Square
Fair Play
Fair Deal
Fair Game

I still find segregation hard to fathom, much less understand, and I'm grateful to Martin Luther King, Jr. for helping to change all of that and make the world a friendlier, more equitable place.

On a personal note, I actually met Dr. McNair's wife, Cheryl, on a flight this past year. She was wearing a beautiful gold pendant and, when another passenger aboard our plane asked her about it, she explained that her husband had been an astronaut. I was able to connect with her because we shared not only NASA (my husband works there) but also music. Her husband was a saxophone player, set to record a song from space to be played at a concert in Houston by Jean Michel Jarre that I attended back in the summer of 1986. The French musician later renamed the song Ron's Piece in honor of this accomplished musician and scholarly man.

Last year at this time, Krystal from Kreative In Kinder hosted a link-up following her comprehensive article about Teaching Diversity to Children {here}

For fun, show Elmo's INCLUDE video.

Denise over at Sunny Days in Second Grade is featuring MLK Day activities and ideas, so click the graphic below to head that way and link up.


  1. Wow! Imagine that! What a great post this is! From the book review to the story of meeting Mrs. McNair, to all the great suggestions. Thanks so much!

  2. You have a special place in the heart of the Teaching Blog Circle! I invite you to stop by and learn more... Your blog has inspired and helped me :)
    The Teacher's Chair


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