Martin Luther King Jr. Day – Celebrating with Children

  • For the 2013 MLK info, click here

We honor the birthday of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. each year with a day off of school on the third Monday of January.  Of course our children love this bonus day off and most parents enjoy a three-day weekend, but are we truly celebrating the life of this leader, or just enjoying a day off?

On Monday in Saratoga Springs, there are several events that focus on MLK day at the Saratoga Springs Public Library.  The library is participating in a National Day of Service and volunteers can meet at the Dutcher Community Room at 9:30 to participate.  Their featured program includes a special guest presenter, music, film, discussions and readings.  It takes place in the Dutcher Community Room.  The young adult program runs from 2pm-3pm in the Susman Room where refreshments will be served.

The children’s event is a Diversity Program called Dream Something Big.  (details here)  Attendees will read a couple books that celebrate imagination, creativity and individuality.  The children will each create their own sculpture using a variety of materials.  No registration is required and it’s appropriate for ages 3 and up.

Dr. King’s life and accomplishments teach us valuable lessons about equality and compassion; characteristics we strive to instill in our own children.  This year, turn the holiday into a teachable moment and discuss with your kids why we celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Here are some talking points and suggestions:

  • Martin Luther King Jr. was born in Atlanta, Georgia on January 15, 1929, a time when blacks and whites were separated and attended separate schools, ate at different restaurants and never used the same water fountain.  Talk to your kids about what that would be like today and how it would make those black students feel.  
  • King fought for change as a result of another infamous African-American Rosa Parks.  When Parks refused to sit in the rear “colored” section of the bus, King advocated a boycott of public buses that lasted more than a year.  As a result, the US Supreme Court banned segregation on public buses in 1956.  Talk to your kids about Rosa Parks and how brave she was for standing up for her rights in a non-violent demonstration of inequality.  
  • Dr. King gave more than 2500 speeches in his lifetime!  He led protest marches, boycotts, published five books, and won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.  Talk about the Nobel Peace Prize and why its important.
  • King’s “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963 is by far his most remembered.   “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character,” .  What does that line mean?  Ask your kids to explain what they think.
  • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and killed in Memphis in 1968.  Why do we celebrate his life still today?  

Children’s Books about Martin Luther King Jr. & Rosa Parks

Story of Martin Luther King Jr


The Story of Martin Luther King Jr., by Johnny Ray Moore



A Picture Book of Martin Luther King Jr

A Picture Book of Martin Luther King, Jr.
by David A Adler



A Picture Book of Rosa Parks

A Picture Book of Rosa Parks, by David A. Adler




 Local Saratoga Events to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2012

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