Martin Luther King Jr. in His Own Words by Ryan Nagelhout

No discussion of the civil rights movement of the 1960s is complete without a close look at Martin Luther King Jr.  This book is an invaluable source of biographical information that uses King's own immensely powerful words to tell the story of his life and the fight for equality. The Montgomery bus boycott, the March on Washington, and the Civil Rights Act are just some historic events described. Readers will find that King's words still resonate today, years after his tragic death.

(excerpt from

Waking From the Dream by David L. Chappell

The assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968 left the civil rights movement in search of a strong leader and lively debate about how his legacy would be remembered. Civil rights scholar Chappell chronicles the fits and starts of continued efforts at civil rights that are uncelebrated but nonetheless pushed forward King's agenda. Among those efforts are the campaign for a national holiday to honor King, fair housing legislation and the Humphrey-Hawkings full employment bill (though the original intentions of both were watered down), and Jesse Jackson's two presidential campaigns. Chappell details the contentious debates on nationalism verses integration and the value of a single leader verses institutional viability, which led to the short-lived National Black Political Convention and the more enduring Congressional Black Caucus. Chappell details the failed efforts as much as the successes, highlighting the valuable lessons learned as groups and individuals renewed their strategies and determination to move forward. Emphasizing the rarity of such history-changing acts as the civil rights legislation, he notes that the struggle for equality is incremental and eternal. 

(excerpt from Booklist, 2013)

Let the Trumpet Sound by Stephen B. Oates

Winner of the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Book Award and the Christopher Award, and a New York Times Book Review Notable Book of the Year in 2013, Let the Trumpet Sound by Stephen B. Oates is the definitive one-volume account of the life of Martin Luther King Jr. This brilliant examination of the great civil rights icon and the movement he led provides a lasting portrait of a man whose dream shaped American history. 

The acclaimed biographer of Abraham LincolnNat Turner, and John Brown provides an honest account of the challenges, the great achievements, and the events that shaped one of the greatest figures of the 20th century. Highly recommended for those who are familiar with the life of Martin Luther King, and an  absolute must for those who wish to learn more.


Death of a King by Tavis Smiley

Martin Luther King, Jr. died in one of the most shocking assassinations the world has known, but little is remembered about the life he led in his final year. New York Times bestselling author and award-winning broadcaster Tavis Smiley recounts the final 365 days of King's life, revealing the minister's trials and tribulations -- denunciations by the press, rejection from the president, dismissal by the country's black middle class and militants, assaults on his character, ideology, and political tactics, to name a few -- all of which he had to rise above in order to lead and address the racism, poverty, and militarism that threatened to destroy our democracy.

Smiley's Death of a King paints a portrait of a leader and visionary in a narrative different from all that have come before. Here is an exceptional glimpse into King's life -- one that adds both nuance and gravitas to his legacy as an American hero.

(excerpt from

I Have a Dream by Martin Luther King Jr.

On August 28, 1963, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington, Martin Luther King gave one of the most powerful and memorable speeches in our nation's history. His words, paired with Caldecott Honor winner Kadir Nelson's magnificent paintings, make for a picture book certain to be treasured by children and adults alike. The themes of equality and freedom for all are not only relevant today, 50 years later, but also provide young readers with an important introduction to our nation's past. Included with the book is an audio CD of the speech.

(excerpt from

Week 2 Leaderboard results and Hot Reads updates

Hot Reads Display at ELPLThe second week leaderboard results are ready for release.  Browse the full list or just check out the top 5:

  1. Jalan - 1225
  2. Kelsey (Library Staff) - 1215
  3. Lesmedia - 1095
  4. LilyaK - 905
  5. AnneE - 720

Here are some more contest details:

  • The Hot Reads team inadvertently left graphic novels off the list of genres and formats that can be read for points.  They are back on the list (at 10 points a piece) and all participants should feel free to post points for all the graphic novels they have read since the start of Hot Reads for Cold Nights.
  • The leaderboard list will now include a link to your personalized points page on  Just click on your username to open up the link.  Those personalized pages should be up to date and will be updated every day.
  • If you aren't sure what your username is send an email to and we'd be happy to confirm your username.  Many of you had pre-existing accounts from previous Hot Reads for Cold Nights contests or this past summer's Fizz, Boom, Read! reading program. 
  • There is a Hot Reads for Cold Nights display at the library near the hold shelves (see image).  This display is filled with titles that can net you big points in the Hot Reads for Cold Nights contest.  Remember, the eBook, Audiobook and eAudiobook versions of the titles are also worth mega points so don't forget to explore all the formats available at ELPL.  You can find a full list of all the Big Point titles and authors here.

Happy Reading!

-The Hot Reads for Cold Nights Team

January 22 @ 7pm: Egyptian History, the Pharaohs, and the Forgotten Beyond

Join the MSU's Muslim Studies Program on January 22 at 7pm for "Egyptian History, the Pharaohs, and the Forgotten Beyond." No registration required. Light refreshments will be provided.



Books on Tap - February 2015

6:30, February 10th - meet at Jimmy's Pub to discuss 10:04 by Ben Lerner.

"In the last year, the narrator of 10:04 has enjoyed unlikely literary success, has been diagnosed with a potentially fatal medical condition, and has been asked by his best friend to help her conceive a child. In a New York of increasingly frequent superstorms and social unrest, he must reckon with his own mortality and the prospect of fatherhood in a city that might soon be underwater.
A writer whose work Jonathan Franzen has called 'hilarious...cracklingly intelligent...and original in every sentence,' Lerner captures what it’s like to be alive now, during the twilight of an empire, when the difficulty of imagining a future is changing our relationship to both the present and the past."

Review from Goodreads.

Books on Tap - January Follow Up

Welcome to 2015 Books on Tap! One thing that came to light in our meeting is that our group is predominately composed of introverts - completely skewing from the statistics Susan Cain put forth in Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can't stop talking.

I See the Promised Land by Arthur Flowers

This stunning graphic novel biography of Martin Luther King, Jr. describes the apartheid South of his time, which in many ways was not very different from the early days of slavery. Included are descriptions of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the formation of civil rights groups, mass movements against segregation, such as the Albany Movement and the Children's Crusade in Birmingham, and the influence on King of Gandhi, with his nonviolent approach to resistance. Flowers' text smoothly incorporates excerpts from many of King's most moving speeches and concludes with a brief look at his legacy. Flowers tells a masterful story in musical prose, while Manu Chitrakar carries the tale into the vivid idiom of Patua art, turning King's historic journey into a truly universal legacy.

(excerpt from

A Time to Break Silence by Martin Luther King Jr.

A Time to Break Silence presents the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s most important writings and speeches--carefully selected by teachers across a variety of disciplines--in an accessible and user-friendly volume for students. Arranged thematically in six parts, the collection includes eighteen selections and is introduced by award-winning author Walter Dean Myers. Included are some of Dr. King's most well-known and frequently taught classic works, like "Letter from Birmingham Jail" and "I Have a Dream," as well as lesser-known pieces such as "The Sword that Heals" and "What Is Your Life's Blueprint?," which speak to issues young people face today.

(excerpt from

Marching to the Mountaintop by Ann Bausum

In early 1968 the grisly on-the-job deaths of two African American sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee, prompted an extended strike by that city's segregated force of trash collectors. Workers sought union protection, higher wages, improved safety, and the integration of their work force. Their work stoppage became a part of the larger civil rights movement and drew an impressive array of national movement leaders to Memphis, including, on more than one occasion, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

King added his voice to the struggle in what became the final speech of his life. His assassination in Memphis on April 4 not only sparked protests and violence throughout America; it helped force the acceptance of worker demands in Memphis. The sanitation strike ended eight days after King's death.

The connection between the Memphis sanitation strike and King's death has no received the emphasis it deserves, especially for younger readers.  Bausum's Marching to the Mountaintop explores how the media, politics, the Civil Rights Movement, and labor protests all converged to set the scene for one of King's greatest speeches and for his tragic death.

(excerpt from

We March by Shane W. Evans

On August 28, 1963, a remarkable event took place--more than 250,000 people gathered in our nation's capital to participate in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The march began at the Washington Monument and ended with a rally at the Lincoln Memorial, where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his historic "I Have a Dream" speech, advocating racial harmony. Many words have been written about that day, but few so delicate and powerful as those presented here by award-winning author and illustrator Shane W. Evans. When combined with his simple yet compelling illustrations, the thrill of the day is brought to life for even the youngest reader to experience.

(excerpt from

The King Years by Taylor Branch

This compact volume brings to life eighteen pivotal dramas, beginning with the impromptu speech that turned an untested, twenty-six-year-old Martin Luther King forever into a public figure on the first night of the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott. Five years later, minority students filled the jails in a 1960 sit-in movement, and, in 1961, the Freedom Riders seized national attention.

Branch interprets King's famous speech at the 1963 March on Washington, then relives the Birmingham church bombing that challenged his dream of equal souls and equal votes. We see student leader Bob Moses mobilize college volunteers for Mississippi's 1964 Freedom Summer, and a decade-long movement at last secures the first of several landmark laws for equal rights. At the same time, the presidential nominating conventions were drawn into sharp and unprecedented party realignment. 

(excerpt from

Week 1 Leaderboard results

The first week leaderboard results are in and our top five Hot Reads for Cold Nights contestants are as follows:

  1. BleachedWhale - 535
  2. Jalan - 425
  3. nana nancy - 355
  4. jj - 350
  5. Robert (Library Staff) - 315

See a full list of all contestants and their Week 1 points here.

If your point total is low don't get discouraged.  There are over 10 more weeks to go and plenty of time to get to the top of the list.  We've indicated which contestants are library staff on the list as staff aren't eligible to win either of the grand prizes.  They are competing solely for the love of the competition, and reading.

Stay tuned for the end of Week 2 when we'll announce the first bonus challenge. 

-The Hot Reads for Cold Nights Team