Martin Luther King: The Peaceful Warrior Book Review

This Martin Luther King Day, commemorate Dr. King’s legacy by reading an updated version of a classic biography for young adults.

Martin Luther King: The Peaceful Warrior | Multicultural Kid Blogs

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I get the pleasure of kicking off this year’s Martin Luther King Day for Kids Blog Series (see below for details). Today I am going to share with you the updated version of the 1964 book, Martin Luther King: The Peaceful Warrior written by Ed Clayton and illustrated by Donald Bermudez. This was the first authorized biography of Martin Luther King, Jr. for young adults. It is recommended for grades 3 to 7.

Martin Luther King: The Peaceful Warrior book cover

This updated version has a foreword by Ed Clayton’s wife, Xernona Clayton. She shares the details of her family’s relationship with the Kings. Dr. King asked Ed to work for Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) to help with public relations, speech writing, press releases, and organizing press conferences. Ed went to help but did not feel like he could live on a smaller salary. He eventually realized the importance of the SCLC and its work and stayed on, while Xernona worked with Coretta Scott King. This book was written because Ed Clayton thought it was important for young people to truly understand the contributions of Martin Luther King as well as who he really was. Ed Clayton began this book during Dr. King’s life. It is written in a professional way by a personal friend of Dr. King’s life. This makes the story so interesting.

Martin Luther King: The Peaceful Warrior shares Dr. King’s life from childhood to his death. It has some of the stories many books have about Dr. King’s life, for example, his childhood desire someday to have/use big words. The point of view is much more personal and the stories are more detailed and intimate. It left me with the feeling of knowing Dr. King personally or having just had a conversation with him. I also felt like there is more information shared in this book than others I have read on Dr. King. It does not emphasize the well-known details as much as tell his life story. Throughout the book, there is information about Dr. King’s desire for a nonviolent movement. As I think about our current situation, this message resonated through to me.

Martin Luther King: The Peaceful Warrior inside the book

I found the book to be a very easy read. The print is on the larger side, and each chapter has a beautiful illustration having to do with the chapter’s part in Dr. King’s life. I could easily see a third grader reading this story and learning more about Dr. Martin Luther King and his amazing contributions to our world. Martin Luther King: The Peaceful Warrior is one of my favorite books that I have read thus far on Dr. King and would highly recommend it. At the end of the book, there are various resources including an afterword with information about the holiday becoming a federal holiday, the song “We Shall Overcome” and a bibliography of books to read about black history and the civil rights movement.

Further reading:

Remembering Martin Luther King, Jr

5 Ways to Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with Kids

Martin Luther King Day Books

Martin Luther King Day for Kids on Multicultural Kid Blogs

Welcome to our fourth annual blog hop on Martin Luther King Day for Kids! Find great ideas for commemorating MLK Day with kids and don’t miss our series from last year as well as 2016 and 2015! For even more, be sure to follow our Black History Pinterest board!

Follow Multicultural Kid Blogs’s board Black History on Pinterest.

Participating Blogs

Crafty Moms Share on Multicultural Kid Blogs –
Martin Luther King: The Peaceful Warrior Book Review

Creative World of Varya: Teaching Justice to Children
Raising World Children:
7 Life Lessons Acts of Service Inspire

Jeddah Mom: Mr. Lincoln’s Way –
Children’s Book About Accepting Differences

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Carrie is a former high school math teacher with diversity training and helped advise many diversity clubs at the schools she taught. Now she is a stay-at-home mother of an elementary school age daughter and very active with her church. She writes about her life with her daughter and the fun things they do as well as reviews of books, products and more at Crafty Moms Share (

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