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Online links to Stories/Info - Martin Luther King, Jr.
SOS: Searching Out Stories/Info-Martin Luther King, Jr.
Advice, Comments and References from Storytellers,
Teachers and Librarians




Online links are in blue and underlined. Click on them to get more information.
Story titles are in quotation marks.
Short descriptions are included for your convenience and to save you research time.
Biolgraphy and Chronology from The King Center.,_Jr._Day
Extensive background information and hyperlinks from Wikipedia.
Plan a King Day project. Groups nationwide dedicate projects to MLK under Day of Service.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day for kids from Kaboose. Quizzes, background info, timeline, activities and ideas.
MLK day in the United States. Shows postage stamp.
MLK for Kids and Teachers, including timeline, quotes, language activities, web quest, info about civil rights, crafts, songs poems and stories.
Puzzles, crafts, printables and other fun activities from Activity Village.
Learn about the life and times of an American hero who led millions of people in the fight for racial equality. Activities and Resources for Kids.
Coloring pags, crafts, word searches, MLK activities from
MLK information from Barbara J. Feldman at Surfing the Net with Kids.
History, facts and resources, including puzzles, books, films, music and links for kids.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: Lesson plans you can use in your elementary classroom from
Timeline of Events in MLK's life from Louisiana State University.
Biography of MLK from

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Advice, Comments and References from Storytellers, Teachers and Librarians
(excerpts from Storytell posts plus original research)

Book titles and online links are in blue and underlined. Click on them for more information.
Story titles and poems are in quotation marks.
To retell any stories, get permission from the copyright holder if the material is not in the public domain.
Storytell posts are added as they are received by Story Lovers World.

1) As a reminder, my Web site features a number of Gifts of Story with the theme of nonviolence, suitable for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day:

GOS #1 ~ "The Legend of Lightning Larry"
A cowboy with a huge smile, a gun that shoots bolts of light, and a hankering for lemonade takes on Evil-Eye McNeevil's outlaw gang.
GENRE: Fables (original), tall tales, humor
CULTURE: American (Western frontier)
THEME: Peacemaking
AUDIENCE AGES: 4-12, adult
LENGTH: 8 minutes

GOS #16 ~ "Master Man: A Tall Tale of Nigeria"
Shadusa thinks he's the strongest man in the world -- till he meets the real Master Man.
GENRE: Tall tales, folktales
CULTURE: West African, Nigerian
THEME: Machismo
LENGTH: 10 minutes

GOS #20 ~ "More Than a Match"
By Aaron Shepard
When the king's most powerful warriors are defeated by a giant who's blocking the road, the Wise One must find a way past.
GENRE: Fables (original), humor
THEME: Means and ends, peacemaking
AUDIENCE AGES: 5-12, adult
LENGTH: 10 minutes

GOS #21 ~ "The Christmas Truce"
By Aaron Shepard
On a Christmas Eve of World War I, British and German soldiers lay down their weapons to celebrate the holiday together.
GENRE: Historical fiction
CULTURE: European (World War I)
THEME: War and peace
AUDIENCE AGES: 10 and up
LENGTH: 12 minutes

From my home page, click on Aaron's Storytelling Page, then on Gifts of Story. As always, you are welcome to tell the stories in live performance or broadcast.
Here is a full list of stories now in the series.
1. "The Legend of Lightning Larry"
2. "The Legend of Slappy Hooper: An American Tall Tale"
3. "Savitri: A Tale of Ancient India"
4. "The Enchanted Storks: A Tale of Bagdad"
5. "The Gifts of Wali Dad: A Tale of India and Pakistan"
6. "Peddler Polly and the Story Stealer"
7. "The Baker's Dozen: A Saint Nicholas Tale"
8. "The Battle of Song: A Hero Tale of Finland," from The Maiden of Northland
9. "The Calabash Kids: A Tale of Tanzania"
10. "The Hidden One: A Native American Legend"
11. "Master Maid: A Tale of Norway"
12. "The Sea King's Daughter: A Russian Legend"
13. "The Crystal Heart: A Vietnamese Legend"
14. "Forty Fortunes: A Tale of Iran"
15. "The Magic Brocade: A Tale of China"
16. "Master Man: A Tall Tale of Nigeria"
17. "The Boy Who Wanted the Willies"
18. "The Princess Mouse: A Tale of Finland"
19. "The Wicked Girl: A Tale of Turkey"
20. "More Than a Match"
21. "The Christmas Truce"
22. "King o' the Cats"

Aaron Shepard

One of my students just wrote a wonderful parody "I have a dream . . . . of no homework." In his version, those children are rejoicing because of freedom from homework. MLK's speech had been part of our final exam for juniors, analyzing non-fiction material, so that was probably why it was on top of his mind. He had discovered he was less than 1% away from an A (top grade) and since he had done EVERY assignment all semester, I gave him a last-minute chance to do the extra credit assignments he had chosen not to do. His other one was abject begging, including a rose on the printout "Roses are red, violets are blue, I have an 89.1% and my grade depends on you." I told him that sort of groveling would serve him well one day as a married man.

Yesterday I chimed in on a discussion before class, when a white student was suggesting that MLK day should be during Black History month. My African-Am. student had replied, "You can't change a man's birthday," which was true. Then I pointed out that the point isn't to move everything to February, but rather to use February to celebrate and remember what we should be aware of and learning about all year.

Mary G.

3) Query: At the grade school where I work as a storyteller, the firstt/ second grade teacher suggested that in January I tell stories about overcoming obstacles to illlustrate Martin Luther King's overcoming obstacles. (kindergarten through 5th grade). Would any of you have any ideas? Many stories could be framed in this way. Lazy Jack is one maybe.

Doris F. 12/30/05


a) I think Lazy Jack would be perfect. Many of the Jack tales would fit. So many other stories would fall within this theme. If you look at the definition of the world obstacle it states, "something that impedes progress or achievement."

Many fairy tales would work. Any of the Cinderella variants for instance: "Little Burnt Face," "Yeh Shen" or "The Twelve Month Brothers." The women overcome obstacles set in their path by their families.

The Paper Bag Princess (Classic Munsch) by Robert Munsch - she rescues her prince from a dragon. A pretty major obstacle! :) Also, folktales such as Mabela the Clever, who outwits the cat and saves her friends. She uses her intelligence to beat the obstacle, i.e. the cat. Stone Soup - the soldier is able to overcome the obstacles/selfishnessset of people of the village who will not give him anything to eat.

Karen C. 12/30/05

b) The first story that "spun" out of my head was David Novak's version of "The Heroic Adventure of Itsy Bitsy Spider." He had help from a class in forming this story. It is hysterical and the children, at least still know the old rhyme from whence it came.

Since it is MLK and Black History month is on its heels, how about an Anansi story? There are many versions of "A Story, A Story" that you could use - the one where he has three impossible tasks to perform before he is given the stories. Lots of participation, too.

Marilyn K. 12/30/05

c) I'm doing a MLKing Jr. presentation for an afterschool group - they are dividing it into two sections with primary in first group, intermediate classes in the second. I'm opening with an African story, Traveling to Tondo: A Tale of the Nkundo of Zaire (Dragonfly Paperback), or "Bowane, The Civet Cat," retold by Vera Aardema. This is a great audience participation tale. It deals with peer pressure and decision making among friends in a humorous way. In a sense, the "friends" are the obstacles that he has to overcome.

Ina V.D. 12/30/05

d) One of my student tellers told that Anansi story a few years ago. Here is one version on the web.
WebSide Stories

Karen C. 12/30/05

e) What about "The Name of the Tree"? African tale, obstacle overcome by determination. Can't remember the name of the book (speaking of obstacles...), but it's in several collections

Cris R. 12/31/05

f) Why not tell some stories about Martin Luther King directly? You can tell these historical stories in a manner that K-5 would appreciate. I've found that grade school age children are quite fascinated by biographies of real people.

g) As I said, I'm planning on doing a MLKing Jr. assembly too - and plan to use some quotes from his speeches or make references to some of his life experiences and beliefs as in between & story introductions.

I'd say, in reference to doing King's bio information, that it's good to know your audience. In this case, Doris knows the district, so will know what the children have been taught and grown up with. In the district where I taught, there were many community celebrations and in-school events with children participating in assemblies. I think it would be good to know, when doing bio stories, if I was giving new/different information OR whether it was a review of what children had been taught.

Ina V.D. 12/31/05

h) You can use "I have a Dream" as a participation segue between parts of his story or as a lead in to a story that includes a dream. Right off the top I can't think of one, but maybe our collective minds can think of an appropriate story that includes a dream. Or, you can start by reading or telling all or part of the "I Have a Dream" speech.

Sometimes a story with a deep metaphor can be told first and then draw on that metaphor surreptitiously throughout the presentation.

Marilyn K. 12/31/05

i) Yes, using some short quotes from King's speeches could provide continuity in a program, but I would urge great CAUTION in "doing his speech." Again, this is based on experience of hearing the "I Have A Dream" redone - often very well done -by students or adults in King's style. It's not something I would attempt, nor would I recommend it when it is often an integral part of ceremonies that are NOT storytelling.

A couple of "dream" stories are "Peddlar of Swaffam" (British) and "Man Who Bought A Dream." (Japanese.)

Also think some of the Conflict Resolution stories at
would be appropriate. They include "Cracked Pot," "Wolves Within" and others.

Ina V.D. 12/31/05

j) <I'm opening with an African story, Traveling to Tondo: A Tale of the Nkundo of Zaire (Dragonfly Paperback) or "Bowane, The Civet Cat," retold by Vera Aardema. This is a great audience participation tale. It deals with peer pressure and decision making among friends in a humorous way. In a sense, the "friends" are the obstacles that he has to overcome.>

Telling that story to a gathering of the Religious Society of Friends [Quakers] adds a whole layer of cultural significance to "friends" as obstacles and the line that "sometimes among friends there can be too much agreeing" gets a show-stopping laugh.

Tom F. 12/31/05

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Created 2005; last update 12/23/09

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