I Have a Dream: Martin Luther King, Jr

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I Have a Dream: Martin Luther King, Jr.
Illustrated by Kadir Nelson, Written by Martin Luther King, Jr

Publisher’s Summary:
From Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s daughter, Dr. Bernice A. King: “My father’s dream continues to live on from generation to generation, and this beautiful and powerful illustrated edition of his world-changing ‘I Have a Dream’ speech brings his inspiring message of freedom, equality, and peace to the youngest among us–those who will one day carry his dream forward for everyone.”

On August 28, 1963, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington, Martin Luther King gave one of the most powerful and memorable speeches in our nation’s history. His words, paired with Caldecott Honor winner Kadir Nelson’s magnificent paintings, make for a picture book certain to be treasured by children and adults alike. The themes of equality and freedom for all are not only relevant today, 50 years later, but also provide young readers with an important introduction to our nation’s past.

Primary Source Pairing:
The artwork of illustrator Kadir Nelson brings the momentous event of the March on Washington and Dr. King’s speech to life. Invite students to listen and follow along with the text. The illustrated text is an abbreviated form of the speech. The speech in its entirety is included at the back of the book. Use the print version of the Primary Source Analysis Tool for Sound Recordings or the online version by choosing Sound Recordings from the drop-down menu for this analysis. See YouTube and audio links below.

Alternatively, facilitate a picture walk using the images included above in the slideshow and linked below. Print out the pictures with the image on the front and the Library of Congress information about the item on the back. Have enough printed copies for each student. (Make several copies of each image as needed). Lay out the images on tables in your instructional space, stacking multiple copies of the images together, and invite students to walk through taking a slow look at each picture using the Questions for Discussion below as a guide to their slow looking process. Instruct students to choose one of the images to take to their seat. Students can fill out the Primary Source Analysis Tool for Photographs and Prints on paper or online by choosing Photographs and Prints from the drop-down menu.

Questions for Discussion for Picture Walk:

  • What do you notice first?
  • What people and objects are shown?
  • How are they arranged?
  • What is the physical setting?
  • What’s happening in the image?
  • Do you see words or text? Can you read it?

Book Cover and Summary: Follett

I Have a Dream Links:
Full Speech: YouTube
Abbreviated Speech: YouTube
Audio of Speech: American Rhetoric

Picture Walk Images / Images Included in Slideshow Above:

  • Civil Rights March on Washington Contact Sheet: Library of Congress
  • Demonstrators holding signs during the March on Washington, 1963: Library of Congress
  • Demonstrators sit, with their feet in the Reflecting Pool, during the March on Washington, 1963: Library of Congress
  • Final plans for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, August 28, 1963: Library of Congress
  • In front of 170 W 130 St., March on Washington, l t[o] r Bayard Rustin, Deputy Director, Cleveland Robinson, Chairman of Administrative Committee / World Telegram & Sun photo by O. Fernandez: Library of Congress
  • Marchers, signs, and tent at the March on Washington, 1963: Library of Congress
  • Photograph shows a crowd of African Americans behind a storm fence with police on the other side: Library of Congress
  • Photograph shows a procession of African Americans carrying signs for equal rights, integrated schools, decent housing, and an end to bias: Library of Congress
  • View of the huge crowd from the Lincoln Memorial to the Washington Monument, during the March on Washington: Library of Congress
  • Woman with camera and crowd at the March on Washington, 1963: Library of Congress

Additional Resources:
Kadir Nelson talks about his creative process for I Have a Dream
Kadir Nelson Interviews on Reading Rockets.org