DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. was an iconic leader in the United States. During the 1950s and 1960s, Reverend Dr. King led many productive, peaceful efforts that advanced the civil rights movement within our society. On Monday, January 21st, we honor his life’s work.
In commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, PJ Library recommends the following Jewish children’s books that relate directly to the values supported by Dr. King. We hope you take the opportunity to read them aloud as a family.
Consider this synoposis of the book:
Baptist preacher from Atlanta. A rabbi born in Poland. Their names came to stand for the struggle for justice and equality.
Martin Luther King Jr. grew up in a loving family in the American South, at a time when many of this country’s doors were closed to African Americans. He aimed to open those doors. He became a minister like his daddy, and he preached and marched for his cause.
Abraham Joshua Heschel grew up in a loving family in a Europe that did not welcome Jews. He found a new home in America, where he was a rabbi like his father, carrying a message of peace and acceptance.
Martin put out a call for others to join him. Abraham knew he must answer Martin’s call.
Here is the story of how two men formed a remarkable friendship and turned their personal experiences of discrimination into a message of love and equality for all.
PJ LIBRARY SELECTIONS FOR MLK DAY
In addition to As Good as Anybody, families should consider reading these PJ Library selections:
|Across the Alley
Author: Richard Michelson
Illustrator: E.B. Lewis
Abe and Willie are next door neighbors. During the day they don’t play together, because Abe is Jewish and Willie is black. But at night, when nobody is watching, they’re best friends.
All summer long, Abe and Willie open their windows across the alley to play catch. Abe lends Willie his violin and Willie show Abe how to throw a real big-league slider. Then one night, Abe’s grandfather catches them — will Abe and Willie have the courage to cross the alley and bring their friendship out in the open?
Set against a backdrop of old-time Brooklyn, Michelson’s stirring prose captures both the fun and danger of having a secret best friend.
|The Legend of Freedom Hill
Author: Linda Jacobs Altman
Illustrators: Cornelius Van Wright and Ying Hwa-Hu
During the California gold rush era, Sophie, a Jewish girl, and Rosabel, an African American girl, conspire to save the life of Rosabel’s mother, a runaway slave captured by a slave catcher. The girls realize they must have money to redeem her, and armed only with daring and determination, they find enough gold to buy the freedom of Rosabel’s mother and many other slaves.
A lively narrative and powerful images bring this heartwarming story of love, bravery, and friendship to life, and offer readers a little-known slice of California cultural and ethnic history.
The Legend of Freedom Hill is an Association of Jewish Libraries Notable Children’s Book of Jewish Content and a Storytelling World Honor Book.
|Mrs. Katz & Tush
Author: Patricia Polacco
Illustrator: Patricia Polacco
In this special Passover story, Larnel Moore, a young African-American boy, and Mrs. Katz, an elderly Jewish woman, develop an unusual friendship through their mutual concern for an abandoned cat named Tush. Together they explore the common themes of suffering and triumph in each of their cultures.
VIDEO FOR FAMILIES
Older children and adults may enjoy watching Dr. King’s pinnacle “I Have a Dream” speech, which was delivered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washinton D.C. on August 28, 1963. View it here: