Huge thanks to Bloomsbury Kids for sharing a copy of Be a King with our #bookexcursion group! #bookexcursion is a team of ten educators who read and share new children’s and middle-grade titles. For more of my #bookexcursion reviews, click here!
“Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don’t have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don’t have to know Einstein’s theory of relativity to serve. You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.”
– Martin Luther King Jr.
When Be a King by Carole Boston Weatherford opened with the above quote, I knew it would be perfect for the little leaders in my classroom. Be a King gives suggestions for ways kids (and grown-ups, too!) can pay tribute to Dr. King as they live their lives. James E. Ransome has illustrated scenes in civil rights history alongside suggestions like: “You can be a King. Have a dream. Make yours great enough to grow into.” On other pages, kids see illustrations of everyday situations in which they can take action and “be a King.”
In our classrooms today, we teach tomorrow’s world-changers, but we also need to have to have faith in their ability to take action today. There are so many ways in which our children can begin changing the world with their kindness and heart. There are so many ways in which they can begin to take action against injustice. This beautiful picture book gives kids practical suggestions for doing just that.
This book certainly deserves a place in classrooms as we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. day, but it also deserves a place in our classrooms year round. As Vera of The Tutu Teacher explains, “If January 15th is the first time you’re talking to your students about leaders of color, you’re doing it wrong.” We can all grow as educators as we work to incorporate civil rights history into our classrooms. There are so many ways in which we can all be Kings.