Little People, Big Dreams
Martin Luther King Jr.
Written by Maria Isabel Sánchez Vegara
Illustrated by Mai Ly Degnan
This past weekend, I took home a stack of books about Martin Luther King Jr., determined to think about and plan a read aloud for our whole school. Our Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion Committee at our school has decided that we will read aloud a book about MLK together, as a community, to springboard conversations about important figures in black history.
My ideas for this work are a bit conflicted. I would love to get to the place that our curriculum and the books we share with kids are rich and diverse all year long. We are certainly growing stronger, but there is still work to be done. I dream of the day when our daily curriculum invites all students to reflect upon perspectives, ask themselves tough questions, and conversations are sparked regularly about how we can make the world a better place.
Right now, we are beginning with Black History Month.
So, this weekend, as I worked through my stack of books, I kept coming back to the words, “He knew that hate can’t drive out hate; only love can,” in Maria Isable Sánchez Vegara’s book, Martin Luther King Jr., part of the Little People, Big Dreams series. In light of all that is going on in our country right now, especially even in just the last week, I know I needed to hear and remember that change can happen in peaceful ways.
This text is a simple story about the early life and major impacts that Dr.King had on the world. This book will easily reach our youngest kindergarten students, but has enough depth that we will be able to push conversations with our fifth graders.
If nothing else, I hope our students come away from this read aloud, thinking about the kind of person Martin Luther King Jr. was, how he dreamed about making a difference, and took steps to make change in peaceful ways. It is possible.