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Introducing MLK’s Legacy
18th January 2024 • Beyond a Bedtime Story • HVSPN
00:00:00 00:25:39

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Hopewell Valley Student Podcasting Network 

Show Name: Beyond a Bedtime Story

Episode Title: Introducing MLK’s Legacy 

Episode #8

You are listening to Beyond a Bedtime Story the podcast with your host Emily.

In this episode of Beyond a Bedtime Story the Podcast I will discuss ways to introduce Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy to young children.

Segment 1:  Helpful Tips

Hi, Welcome back, I’m your host Emily, and you’re listening to Beyond a Bedtime Story: A Parent’s Guide to Children’s Reading! With this episode you’ll be one step closer to taking your bedtime stories to the next level, so let’s get into it! I found the idea for this episode when 

  • MLK day (this year Jan 15) → always 3rd monday in January 

Research sources for how to introduce race, heavy historical topics:  

Provides advice for educators but it is also applicable to parents 

  • “Despite the sensitive nature of these subjects, do not sanitize or simplify the past or present”
  • “While it is certainly our responsibility to teach the ‘hard history,’ we must also teach the ways various individuals, groups, organizations, etc. have resisted throughout each and every time period. Help students see that in today’s world, which is still grappling with so many of the same issues, they are our future leaders
  • Teaching w/ hope 
  • The picture books I selected emphasize this (describes resistance from black Americans, such as the Bus Boycott) 
  • Advises teachers to know their students well enough: can they handle the material? Are they represented w/n the material? 
  • YOU as a PARENT know your child → have a better sense of what they know of the world already and where they may need guidance, but also ensure that you are willing to challenge your child w/ exposing them to new things 
  • Advises teachers to create safe space
  • YOU as a PARENT w/n YOUR HOME your child is inherently safe with you and that environment, extra level of comfort may make these difficult discussion easier
  • By beginning the conversions at home, your child may be extra prepared for classroom content 
  • Validate & support frustrating feelings 
  • Encourage your child to be honest about if they feel nervous or upset when learning this information 
  • But remind them of “why it’s important to do this work anyway” 

  • “Dr. King is almost a fictional historical character to many young people,” says Tarana Burke, the former associate director of the National Voting Rights Museum in Selma, AL, and the director of Just BE, Inc., a nonprofit that benefits teen girls. “They don't get that they are (in many cases) one generation away from him and that they are directly affected by some of the gains he and others like him fought to achieve.”
  • “This is a disservice to children — and not just because they’re missing out on the significance of a crucial piece of American history. Relegating it to dusty history books makes them miss out on how far our country has come; how much further it has to go; and, most importantly, how the passion, righteousness, ideals, and actions of even one person can change our entire world for the better.”

Helpful Resource: Talking to Young Children About Race and Racism by PBS Kids for Parents 


Segment 2: Book Reviews

Alright, I’m back and ready to dive in!

Possible recommendation: 

  • The Story of Martin Luther King Jr. by Johnny Ray Moore → for much smaller children
  •  Be wary that the story sort of gives a false illusion that things in the world are now perfect (because it is catered towards small children) 
  • More of a foundation that should be built upon once children are ready 

Segment 3: Follow-up activities and possible acts of service 

Using the list of words from the first book you read, have your child choose a word to illustrate 

  • “Love” instead of hate (7)
  • “Together” & “peace” (9) 
  • “Dreams” & “hope” (21)
  • “Cared” (24) 
  • “Helped” (25) 

Remind them that these are all values of Martin Luther King Jr. and they are celebrating him with their drawing 

Acts of service: 

  • Book drive? 
  • Any volunteering is valuable → by introducing volunteering now, children will develop a habit of it

Thanks for listening and be sure to catch the next episode!

Get reading and remember: you are never too old to love picture books!

Music Credits:  

  • Lawrence by TrackTribe
  • Palace of Roses by Aakash Gandhi
  • The Urban Groove by Hanu

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