Recommended by Milwaukee Public Library children's staff Joy Mahaley and Karli Pederson
Martin Luther King’s words are often used to encourage and inspire. He himself was influenced by the creativity of others. Find inspiration at the Milwaukee Public Library’s Martin Luther King Day Celebration on Monday, January 16 (9am-5pm) at the Martin Luther King Branch (310 W. Locust St., Milwaukee, WI 53212). Commemorate the influential life of Dr. King through arts, crafts, live music and dance. Continue the celebration by checking out some of these books featuring individuals using their talents in art, poetry and music to accomplish their goals and inspire others.
Daniel Finds a Poemby Micha Archer (Ages 4-8)
With his friends, frog, turtle and other animals in the park, young Daniel demonstrates how poetic inspiration can be found in some unexpected places.
Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhoodby F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell; illustrated by Rafael López (Ages 4-8)
Mira’s drab city neighborhood is revitalized as she and others are inspired by a muralist who begins to bring color and life back into their community through art.
More-igamiby Dori Kleber; illustrated by G. Brian Karas (Ages 4-8)
After being scolded for using his homework, his sister’s sheet music, and his mother’s money for origami, Joey feels deflated. A neighbor’s pep talk helps Joey find a positive outlet for his love of origami.
Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiatby Javaka Steptoe (Ages 6-12)
This exploration of Jean-Michel Basquiat, a famous collage and graffiti artist, chronicles his childhood into his early adulthood, with the story and illustrations holding true to the artist’s unique style.
Esquivel!: Space-Age Sound Artistby Susan Wood; illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh (Ages 6-12)
This picture book biography explores the life and distinctive musical style of Juan Garcia Esquivel, who eventually brought his vivid musical stylings to the U.S.
Just a Lucky So and So: The Story of Louis Armstrongby Lesa Cline-Ransome; illustrated by James Ransome (Ages 5-9)
For young Louis Armstrong, music was a calling, a refuge and a savior. This look at the legendary musician’s early life shows the occasionally bumpy path that led to musical greatness.
Jazz Day: The Making of a Famous Photographby Roxane Orgill; illustrated by Francis Vallejo (Ages 8-13)
In 1958 Harlem, photographer Art Kane set out to photograph as many jazz musicians as possible. The fascinating events and talent that culminated in this famous photograph are chronicled in this richly illustrated book.
Who is Stevie Wonder?by Jim Gigliotti; illustrated by Stephen Marchesi (Ages 8-12)
Children may not recognize Stevie Wonder’s timeless songs, but his biography will help them discover how being blind never stopped him from pursuing his passion for music, and may inspire exploration of his greatest hits.
Like a Bird: The Art of the American Slave Songwritten by Cynthia Grady; concept and art by Michele Wood (Ages 8 & up)
Music can be compared to the gracefulness of a soaring bird. Discover the beauty of slave songs that were used to soothe people through challenging times.