Beyond the Book: Be a King

Be a King: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Dream and You by Carole Boston Weatherford

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Book Summary

Be a King: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Dream and You by Carole Boston Weatherford encourages young children to be a King in their personal lives. From loving one another to standing up for social justice, no voice is too small to make an impact.


4 – 8 years

Pre-reading activity:

Discuss what you see on the cover of the book and ask your little one if they a familiar with Dr. King. Talk about Dr. King and what he means to you. Ask your child to describe a big dream they have or what they dream of becoming.

During the story:

Example Questions:

Have your little one predict the text based on the illustrations. Provide definitions and connections for any of the target vocabulary words listed below that may be unfamiliar. Ask questions throughout the story to help your child comprehend what’s being read. Have your child repeat unfamiliar words.

  • Why do you think the teacher made the little girl apologize to her two friends?
  • How do you think the boy felt after being bullied?
  • Why is it important to stand up for what is right?
  • What is one would way we could help someone else?
  • Tell me about a time you had to say “I’m sorry” to someone.
  • Several children in the story held up posters. If you could make a poster for a march or a parade, what would it say?
  • What was Dr. King’s dream? Do you think it came true?

Target Vocabulary:

to feel great surprise, wonder, or admiration
a person who was someone’s family in the past
the act of strongly and unfairly disliking other people
to say in an unwilling way that you accept or do not deny the truth
a line or object that separates two areas

a lack of knowledge, understanding, or education
someone who frightens, hurts, or threatens smaller or weaker people
a quiet and calm state, where there is no fighting
a person who disapproves of someone or something
the process of using laws to fairly judge and punish criminals


  • Have your little one re-read the book in their own words using the illustrations.
  • Make your own “You Can Be a King” mantra and post it somewhere you can see it daily.
  • Imagine you were attending a parade for MLK day. Create a poster that would stand out in the crowd.
  • Look back at the illustrations and try to spot famous civil rights events. Search for images of those real-life events using Google.


You Can Be a King Mantra

Materials: Paper and various coloring utensils

Go back through the illustrations of the book to discuss how each page described a characteristic of Dr. King. Help your child develop his or her own “You Can Be a King” mantra that can be practiced regularly. Together, draw an illustration that goes along with your new mantra.

Additionally, I came across several activities on Pinterest that would be great for discussing diversity with young children.

Diversity Eggs

Using one brown egg and one white egg, discuss how the eggs are the same and different. For example, both are smooth, can roll, and can be eaten. The eggs are different only because of their color. Next, crack the eggs to demonstrate that while they may be different colors, they are the same on the inside. This activity can also be done with M&Ms or apples.

Diversity Cookies

Bake sugar and gingerbread cookies with your little one. Discuss how people come in different shades, just like the cookies.

Would you like to use this Beyond the Book guide at home or with your students? Download a printable copy below!

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