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My Brother Martin

Reading Group Guide


    This book looks at the early life of Martin Luther King, Jr., as seen through the eyes of his older sister.


    Biography; African Americans; Christine King Farris; King family; Race relations


    € What was young Martin Luther King, Jr.'s response when his mother told him about the world and the things some people believed?

    € Why did Martin and others want to end the laws that made life different for black people than it was for white people?

    € What makes a hero?

    € What did Dr. King want to change in the United States?

    € What can we do today to help make the world a better place?


    € Have students fill in the blanks in the following sentences:
    o Martin Luther King, Jr.'s father was a ________.
    o This book was written by his ________.
    o We know this story about Martin is true because____.

    € Begin your lesson on the life of Martin Luther King, Jr., by assessing your students' prior knowledge using a K-W-L chart: List on a chart the facts that your students know about King. Next, ask them to tell you what they want to know about him. After reading the book, have students tell you what they have learned about him.

    € Research events of Dr. King's life and times and perform a classroom skit or play based on the information gathered.

    € As a class project, publish a little book on the life of Martin Luther King, Jr.

    € Have students work in cooperative groups of two or three to make a time line called "the life of Martin Luther King, Jr." Each group should use an 18" x 24" sheet of paper to depict one part of Dr. King's life and accomplishments.

    € Have students write a newspaper account of the march on Selma, Alabama, or any other significant event in the life of Dr. King.

    € Discuss the significance of the Nobel Peace Prize. Award each of your students a Peace prize for their work toward getting along well with others or finding peaceful solutions to conflicts.

    € Make or find an outline of Dr. King's silhouette. Cut it out of black paper. Let the students glue it onto white paper and then list the peaceful ways that students handle their problems. For example: To get along better with others I can...I can get along with my friends at school by...If someone treats me unfairly I can....To help a friend who is sad I could...

    € Point out to students that cities such as Atlanta, Georgia; Montgomery, Alabama; Memphis, Tennessee; and Washington, D.C., figured prominently in the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. Ask: What other places can you think of that are closely associated with Dr. King? Write the name of each important location on the chalkboard. Challenge students to research a variety of print and online resources to find information about each of those places. Tell students that as they locate each place of importance on a blank map, they should write a sentence or two of explanation about the importance of that place in Dr. King's life. When students complete their maps, provide a time for them to display their maps and share what they learned with their classmates.

    € Take a virtual tour of King's boyhood home via the official website:

    This reading group guide is for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.

    Prepared by Retta Eiland

    © William Allen White Children's Book Award

    Please visit for more information about the awards and to see curriculum guides for other master list titles.

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About the Author

Christine King Farris

Christine King Farris is the sister of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the only surviving member of the King family. She is the author of the children's book My Brother Martin and has been on the faculty of Spelman College since 1958. She lives with her husband in Atlanta.