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Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King Jr.

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  617 ratings  ·  72 reviews
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Category: Biography

This book is a beautifully-rendered study of Martin Luther King Jr.'s life, told in simple, straightforward language for even the youngest of readers to understand. Pink
Paperback, 32 pages
Published January 1st 2006 by Scholastic Paperbacks (first published January 1st 1993)
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Average rating 4.10  · 
Rating details
 ·  617 ratings  ·  72 reviews

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Dec 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: rdg-4050
1. This is the story of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. told in a way that children of any age can understand. The artwork is incredible, and the story's flow is easy to follow.
2. Grades 2-4
3. Social Studies, Carpet read
4. Any student can benefit from this story.
5/6. This is an excellent book to use when talking about MLK. His story is one with which everyone should be familiar, starting from an early age. This book would be a great addition to the biographical section of any classroom library as we
Candi Lynn
Jan 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
a great introductory biography of MLK Jr for kiddos kindergarten and up.
Jan 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: teachers, parents, students
Recommended to Relyn by: Katie Struckhoff
This book is the most perfect introduction to MLK Day and a study of the Civil Rights Movement. It is appropriate and accessible for kindergarteners and first graders while giving plenty of information and food for thought for third graders. I always begin our Civil Rights unit with this book.
"Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King" fills a need for effective picture books for young readers about this important American leader. The scratchboard illustrations, although unusual for this format, create a vibrancy that enhances the text.

This narrative revolves around the statement: "The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., is famous because he helped our country change some of its laws." Then in simple language it goes on to explain some of the laws he helped change.

It goes on to say, "Poor peo
Julianne Doucet
Nov 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Happy Birthday Martin Luther King by Jean Marzollo is an excellent picture book for younger readers and a great way to introduce them to the one and only Martin Luther King. This picture book beautifully introduces this heroic figure in a way that addresses the seriousness of the inequality and suffrage of the time but in a way that I felt was appropriate for the targeted age group of this book. Moreover, the illustrations in this book were fantastic and full of detail and deep earthy colors tha ...more
Anna W.
Jan 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is excellent for teaching young children (K-3) about the basic life works of Martin Luther King, Jr. His birth date and place, given name, chosen profession, and vocations are all included in the short pages of this book. The art is beautiful, as well.

The book does discuss how MLK, Jr. died, which some young ones will wonder about. "Why was he shot?" some students asked when I read the book. I explained, but it is hard for younger (grade one and under) to understand why anyone would g
Tessa Duncan
This story tells of Martin Luther King Jr's life. Martin grew up in Atlanta as a pastor's son. He was always in his neighborhood trying to solve problems and help others. MLK Jr helped to change some of America's segregation laws. A great book to inform children on who MLK Jr was and why he is so important to American history.
Brooke Knuppenburg
Apr 16, 2018 rated it liked it
We used this text to talk about MLK on his birthday. This text gave great details to what he did for our country and how he was a pastor. I think it was written in a very mature manner, but easy enough for students to read on their own or listen to. We used the text for a read-aloud, and the students loved it!
This is a relatable, understandable book for young children relating the basic facts of the life of Martin Luther King Jr. My First grade students found it to be engaging and short enough that they could pay attention all the way through. We love that the illustrations are by Brian Pinkney because we learn and discuss that he is the son of Jerry Pinkney, one of our favorite illustrators.
Madison Persinger
This short story is a great story to read to children before or on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and why we celebrate it. Marzollo's word choice is simple enough for children comprehension but still portrays the strong message of Martin Luther's life.
Jan 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book to use to introduce pre-k students to Martin Luther King Jr. It includes a short history of his life and explains the issue of civil rights in a way simple enough for young children to understand. The illustrations are also fantastic.
CreateEveryday Classroom
Dec 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mlk, design-a-class
I still think this is the best book, the most straight forward and the most appropriate for young children on the life of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Christina Karvounis
Jan 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent for children of all ages to learn about the life of the extraordinary MLK jr.
Apr 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Finally found a good book about Martin Luther King Jr. to introduce to preschoolers. It even has a little blurb to teachers. Love it!
Laura Molinario
Jan 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Biography Picture Book
Bethany Cuppett
Beautiful pictures and a great way to describe Martin Luther King Jr.'s life. Great book!
Michelle Hessler
In Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King, by Jean Marzollo and the life and accomplishments of Martin Luther King are discussed. This book is a biography stating times and facts that relate to King and all he has done. In this book the life’s work of King is detailed, beginning with his birth and ending with his death. This book introduces topics that may be harder for younger children to process because the book discusses death by assassination. In the beginning of the book the author provides a f ...more
Oct 09, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: ryan, catalog
This book is beautifully-rendered study of Martin Luther King Jr.'s life, told in simple, straightforward language for even the youngest of readers to understand. Pinkney's scratchboard and oil pastel illustrations convey both the strength and gentleness of King's character. Both text and art carry his central message of peace and brotherhood among all people. _Anon.

Potential Audience (Reading level): Transitional (not recommended for young children because of strong suggestions of viol
Whitney Raeon
Oct 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biographies
This book has wonderful illustrations and is written with simple language for a range of reading levels. The book does not begin when Martin Luther King, Jr is an adult like many other biographies I have read. Instead, it introduces him when he is a boy and describes his childhood. This is important for young readers to learn about because it allows them to relate his childhood to their own. Most importantly, the book conveys Martin Luther King, Jr's message of peace and nonviolence, which is im ...more
Jennifer Lanman
Feb 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book tells the life of Martin Luther King Jr. He was famous for sticking up for African Americans by trying to make the laws equal for them. This has good pictures to show the special events that happened in our history. An important thing he did was never used violence. He wanted a peaceful protest and thats what he did. He has a famous speech and he is remembered for that. He was shot in 68 but never forgotten on how brave and influential he was to many Americans. This could be used in so ...more
Elisa Samano
Nov 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King by Jean Marzollo is the Biography of Martin Luther King Jr., and how he helped change America. It informs the reader about his birth, his education, and the laws he helped pass to help segregation and racism.

One can identify with this biography of Martin Luther King Jr. because it tells a story we are all very familiar with already. It tells us how he was a normal person, like us, and he helped and fought for everyones freedom. The information in this biography
Sara Castro
Nov 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"Happy Birthday Martin Luther King, Jr.", was an autobiographical book for children to read about how Dr. King became the American legend he is remembered to be. This book was an easy read aimed towards a younger audience. It was very short and easy to understand and it tells his life story all the way up until he passes away.

This story one most people are familiar with growing up. The book shows us how he grows up normally like anyone else. It summarizes how he faced trials in his life that ma
Apr 08, 2014 rated it it was ok
I liked the way that this book was formatted. It gave the students, many facts about Martin Luther King without it being too much for them to handle. She had it almost formatted in a way that was in-between a story and a timeline. This book would be a great book for younger student to use to do a biography book report on because of the simplistic of the book yet the education facts and truism in the book. This book also adds in history about when cities were segregated but at a level to where th ...more
Emilie Morris
Why this book?: Add depth to library

Genre: Historical Fiction

Theme/Keywords: Martin Luther King

Characteristics of quality: Great illustrations about MLK and his life.

Gender of primary character: Male

Race/ethnicity of primary character: African-American.

Cultural considerations: Need a historical/cultural understanding of why it was important that MLK spoke out and stood up for what is right.

Language considerations: Might not be great for younger audiences...depends on how much they understand a
First let me say that I loved the illustrations in this book. This book would be perfect to read around black history month. When teaching/discussing/introducing the civil rights movement. I read this story to a pre-k class as well as a 2nd grade class and I feel that the book does a beautiful job of capturing King's role during that time in history, yet it is still appropriate for younger children as well. This book could also be taught/read any time of year when discussing treating people how ...more
Courtney Nipper
Sep 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I love this book. I loved it because it tells a very important story of a man's life and puts it in a simple form that children can understand. The artwork in the book is original as well. It's different from what I'm used to seeing.

I could use this book in my classroom as a read aloud, a group read or a take turns reading. I believe I could use it from K-4 for various reasons. At kindergarten it would be a teaching book about Martin Luther King and learning what a name means when junior or sen
Jordyn Mcleod
Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King Jr., is written in a portrait style. The scribble style drawings remind me that the events throughout the story happened in the past. The events that are discussed happened during Martin Luther King Jr.'s life and I feel that it is very informative for students and the information is told in a simple way that it is easy for students to understand. The images are surrounded with white borders and the features on the faces of the people in the book are not very d ...more
Mar 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books
This story does a very good job of telling younger students who Martin Luther King Jr. was and what he did to help people. The book gives details about how Marin Luther King Jr. journeyed through his life to change how things were in the United States. This book also explains how Martin Luther King Jr. died and what happened at his funeral.

I chose this book, because it can be a hard subject to teach small children about and this book does an amazing job of explaining who Martin Luther King Jr. i
Abbey Smith
I have many different books about Martin Luther King Jr.'s life. The students are very interested in learning about this part of our history. However, there are few books that relate to young second grade students as much as this book does. I really enjoy reading this aloud because there are great talking points, and illustrations that paint an appropriate picture (for second graders) of that time in our history.
Megan Piero
This is a biography of Martin Luther King Jr. It is written in such a way that the author really paints a picture of his life. The language in this story is very simple and would be easy for even very young children to understand. I think as a teacher, this book would be a good way to show children that writing doesn't have to be complicated to be good. Although this text is simple it is still a wonderful story. This is a technique that could be very useful for my students in the future.
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MLK's Top 5 Book Recommendations 1 1 Feb 21, 2018 02:42PM  

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Jean Marzollo was the award-winning author of over 100 books for kids, including the I SPY series, Pierre the Penguin, Help Me Learn Numbers 0-20, Soccer Sam, Happy Birthday Martin Luther King, Close Your Eyes, Mama Mama/Papa Papa, the Shanna Show books, and In 1776, as well as books for parents and teachers. She was the author/illustrator of Ten Little Christmas Presents, Ten Little Eggs, Bible s ...more

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