Illus. with black-and-white photos. This revised edition of the popular Random House Step Up(TM) Biography of the great civil-rights leader and advocate for peaceful resistance now includes new text and additional dynamic photos. Reading level: 2.2.
ABOUT THIS BOOK
Martin Luther King, Jr. may well be one of the greatest American heroes of the 20th century. Like Lincoln, he wanted freedom for black Americans, but unlike Lincoln, he wanted to accomplish it in a peaceful manner. The recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, King died because of his quest for freedom and equality for all people. These books celebrate these men and their contribution to the American way of life.
The following books are also in this guide:
Meet Abraham Lincoln
Meet George Washington
In the Classroom
These easy-to-read biographies of three of America’s greatest heroes serve as brief introductions to the lives of these complex men.
The themes of leadership, courage, bravery, heroism, and freedom connect the work of these men and guide young students to a better understanding of the battle for freedom throughout our nation’s history.
In addition to discussion questions related to themes, this guide offers suggestions for activities that link the language arts, social studies, art, and music curriculum.
Brainstorm the meaning of freedom with the class. Then ask students to write a paragraph about what freedom means to them. Encourage students to share their writing orally with the class.
George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King, Jr. were all outstanding leaders in American history. Ask students to discuss the qualities of a leader. Then ask them to cite events in the lives of each of these Americans that indicate their leadership qualities. Discuss at what age these men demonstrated their leadership abilities. Martin Luther King, Jr. didn’t plan to become a minister. Why did he feel that he could better help people if he became a minister?
Ask students to define courage. Washington, Lincoln, and King each faced defeat in their lifetime, but they never gave up. Discuss the courage it took for each man to continue his dream. Based on the information in these biographies, which man do you think fought the most courageous battle? How did it take courage for Martin Luther King, Jr. to fight his battle peacefully?
Discuss the meaning of bravery. How does bravery relate to courage? How does it take bravery to be a leader? Divide the class into three groups and assign each group one of these famous Americans to discuss. Ask them to talk about the many ways each of these men showed bravery. How is their bravery celebrated today?
Discuss the qualities of a hero. It is said that George Washington was a hero to Abraham Lincoln. How might both of these men have been heroes to Martin Luther King, Jr.? Discuss why Mohandas Gandhi of India was a hero to Martin Luther King, Jr. How is each of these men a hero to all Americans?
Washington, Lincoln, and King each fought for freedom. Compare and contrast the type of freedom for which each man stood. Ask each student to take a look at the paragraph they wrote about freedom in the pre-reading activity. What might Washington, Lincoln, and King say about their interpretation of freedom?
Read aloud "The Gettysburg Address" by Abraham Lincoln. Analyze the meaning of Lincolnís words. Ask the class to discuss why it is considered the "one of most beautiful speeches ever made."
Review the meaning of metaphor. Martin Luther King, Jr. was called the "drum major for justice." (p. 104, Meet Martin Luther King, Jr.) Ask students to explain this metaphor and then have them write their own metaphors for Washington, Lincoln, and King.
Draw a map of the United States and label the 13 original colonies. When did these colonies become states? Then find out how many states existed during Lincoln’s presidency. Which states were considered a part of the confederacy?
Divide the class into three groups and assign each group Washington, Lincoln, or King to research. Ask each group to construct an illustrated timeline of the most important events in the life of the person assigned to them. Share the timeline in class.
Ask the class to plan a special celebration for Martin Luther King’s birthday in January and President’s Day in February. Encourage students to use poetry and songs to pay tribute to these men.
We Shall Overcome" is a famous freedom song that was sung during the civil rights movement. Locate the lyrics to this song and read them to the class. How might this song of freedom have been appropriate for Washington and Lincoln’s era? Students may also enjoy locating songs from the American Revolution and the Civil War.
Have the class draw or paint a mural called "Freedom." They should include tributes to Washington, Lincoln, and King in the mural.
Teaching ideas prepared by Pat Scales, Director of Library Media Services, the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities.
Vocabulary/Use of Language
The vocabulary in these biographies isn’t difficult, but students should be encouraged to jot down unfamiliar words and use a dictionary to look up the definitions. Such words may include:
Meet George Washington colony (p.8), surveyor (p.15), and independence (p. 45).
Meet Abraham Lincoln politics (p. 33), representative (p. 46), territory (p. 49), surrendered (p.68), and debate (p. 50).
Meet Martin Luther King, Jr. segregation (p. 15), unjust (p. 23), boycott (p. 38), and justice (p. 104).
Review for the Landmark Series
"One of the most critically acclaimed, best-selling childrenís book series ever published." The New York Times
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