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Joined: Jun 09 2006
Topic: 45 Books to Teach Children About Black History
Posted: Apr 19 2014 at 9:38am
Black History Month presents a wonderful opportunity to teach your
children about the incredible accomplishments of Black men and women in
America and abroad. Here's a collection of non-fiction and historical
fiction books to help children learn about a past that should be
highlighted far beyond these 28 days each year.
Joined: Jun 09 2006
Posted: Apr 19 2014 at 9:39am
4 to 8-years-old
since Barack Obama was young, Hope has lived inside him. From the
beaches of Hawaii to the streets of Chicago, from the jungles of
Indonesia to the plains of Kenya, he has held on to Hope. Even as a boy,
Barack knew he wasn't quite like anybody else, but through his journeys
he found the ability to listen to Hope and become what he was meant to
be: a bridge to bring people together.
though she can’t afford a ticket to see the great blues singer Bessie
Smith perform, Emmarene listens outside Bessie’s tent—that is, until she
bursts into the show to warn the crowd:The Night Riders have come!
Bessie marches right outside and
confronts the Night Riders by giving one of her famous low moans that
says, "I may be down and out, but I ain’t gonna take it no more." But
will that be enough to scare them off ?
Based on a true incident, Bessie
Smith and the Night Riders is a powerful story of facing down danger and
standing up for what’s right. With John Holyfield’s luminous paintings
setting the stage, readers will be cheering for Bessie and Emmarene all
the way to their final bow.
Ruth's mama must go away to Chicago to work, leaving Ada Ruth and
Grandma behind. It's war time, and women are needed to fill the men's
jobs. As winter sets in, Ada Ruth and her grandma keep up their daily
routine, missing Mama all the time. They find strength in each other,
and a stray kitten even arrives one day to keep them company, but
nothing can fill the hole Mama left. Every day they wait, watching for
the letter that says Mama will be coming on home soon. Set during World
War II, Coming On Home Soon has a timeless quality that will appeal to
all who wait and hope.
extraordinary union of poetic text by Ntozake Shange and monumental
artwork by Kadir Nelson captures the movement for civil rights in the
United States and honors its most elegant inspiration, Coretta Scott.
Ellen and her family make the long trip to the courthouse dressed in
their best, she brings the broom her parents had jumped so many years
before. Even though freedom has come, Ellen knows the old traditions are
important too. After Mama and Papa's names are recorded in the
register, Ellen nearly bursts with pride as her parents jump the broom
a reflective tribute to the African-American community of old, noted
poet Ntozake Shange recalls her childhood home and the close-knit group
of innovators that often gathered there. These men of vision, brought to
life in the majestic paintings of artist Kadir Nelson, lived at a time
when the color of their skin dictated where they could live, what
schools they could attend, and even where they could sit on a bus or in a
Yet in the face of this tremendous
adversity, these dedicated souls and others like them not only
demonstrated the importance of Black culture in America, but also helped
issue in a movement that "changed the world." Their lives and their
works inspire us to this day, and serve as a guide to how we approach
the challenges of tomorrow.
into slavery, young Booker T. Washington could only dream of learning
to read and write. After emancipation, Booker began a five-hundred-mile
journey, mostly on foot, to Hampton Institute, taking his first of many
steps towards a college degree. When he arrived, he had just fifty cents
in his pocket and a dream about to come true. The young slave who once
waited outside of the schoolhouse would one day become a legendary
educator of freedmen.
this book a bus does talk, and on her way to school a girl named Marcie
learns why Rosa Parks is the mother of the Civil Rights movement. At
the end of Marcie's magical ride, she meets Rosa Parks herself at a
birthday party with several distinguished guests. Wait until she tells
her class about this!
Hughes was a courageous voice of his time, and his authentic call for
equality still rings true today. Beautiful paintings from Barack Obama
illustrator Bryan Collier accompany and reinvent the celebrated lines of
the poem "I, Too," creating a breathtaking reminder to all Americans
that we are united despite our differences.
and John Henry are a lot alike. They both like shooting marbles, they
both want to be firemen, and they both love to swim. But there's one
important way they're different: Joe is white and John Henry is black,
and in the South in 1964, that means John Henry isn't allowed to do
everything his best friend is. Then a law is passed that forbids
segregation and opens the town pool to everyone. Joe and John Henry are
so excited they race each other there...only to discover that it takes
more than a new law to change people's hearts.
this picture book biography, award-winning author and illustrator Kadir
Nelson tells the story of Mandela, a global icon, in poignant free
verse and glorious illustrations. It is the story of a young boy's
determination to change South Africa, and of the struggles of a man who
eventually became the president of his country by believing in equality
for all people, no matter the color of their skin. Readers will be
inspired by Mandela's triumph and his lifelong quest to create a more
artful prose and beautiful illustrations, Donna Jo Napoli and Kadir
Nelson tell the true story of Wangari Muta Maathai, known as “Mama
Miti,” who in 1977 founded the Green Belt Movement, an African
grassroots organization that has empowered many people to mobilize and
combat deforestation, soil erosion, and environmental degradation. Today
more than 30 million trees have been planted throughout Mama Miti’s
native Kenya, and in 2004 she became the first African woman to win the
Nobel Peace Prize. Wangari Muta Maathai has changed Kenya tree by
tree—and with each page turned, children will realize their own ability
to positively impact the future.
picture-book biography is an excellent and accessible introduction for
young readers to learn about one of the world's most influential
leaders, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Doreen Rappaport weaves the
immortal words of Dr. King into a captivating narrative to tell the
story of his life. With stunning art by acclaimed illustrator Bryan
Collier, Martin's Big Words is an unforgettable portrait of a man whose
dream changed America-and the world-forever.
were signs all throughout town telling eight-year-old Connie where she
could and could not go. But when Connie sees four young men take a stand
for equal rights at a Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, North
Carolina, she realizes that things may soon change. This event sparks a
movement throughout her town and region. And while Connie is too young
to march or give a speech, she helps her brother and sister make signs
for the cause. Changes are coming to Connie’s town, but Connie just
wants to sit at the lunch counter and eat a banana split like everyone
is a young girl living in rural Alabama in the early 1900s, a time when
people were struggling to grow food in soil that had been depleted by
years of cotton production. One day, Dr. George Washington Carver shows
up to help the grownups with their farms and the children with their
He teaches them how to
restore the soil and respect the balance of nature. He even prepares a
delicious lunch made of plants, including "chicken" made from peanuts.
And Sally never forgets the lessons this wise man leaves in her heart
and mind. Susan Grigsby's warm story shines new light on an African
American scientist who was ahead of his time.
and Langston. Billie and Bessie. Eubie and Duke. If the Harlem
Renaissance had a court, they were its kings and queens. But there were
other, lesser known individuals whose contributions were just as
impactful, such as Florence Mills. Born to parents who were
former-slaves Florence knew early on that she loved to sing. And that
people really responded to her sweet, bird-like voice. Her dancing and
singing catapulted her all the way to the stages of 1920s Broadway where
she inspired songs and even entire plays! Yet with all this success,
she knew firsthand how bigotry shaped her world. And when she was
offered the role of a lifetime from Ziegfeld himself, she chose to
support all-black musicals instead.
do all these people have in common: the first man to die in the
American Revolution, a onetime chief of the Crow Nation, the inventors
of peanut butter and the portable X-ray machine, and the first person to
make a wooden clock in this country? They were all great African
Americans. For parents and teachers interested in fostering cultural
awareness among children of all races, this book includes more than 70
hands-on activities, songs, and games that teach kids about the people,
experiences, and events that shaped African American history. This
expanded edition contains new material throughout, including additional
information and biographies. Children will have fun designing an African
mask, making a medallion like those worn by early abolitionists,
playing the rhyming game "Juba," inventing Brer Rabbit riddles, and
creating a unity cup for Kwanzaa. Along the way they will learn about
inspiring African American artists, inventors, and heroes like Harriet
Tubman, Benjamin Banneker, Rosa Parks, Langston Hughes, and Louis
Armstrong, to name a few.
and her mama go to school together-in the dark of night, silently,
afraid that any noise they hear is a patroller on the lookout for
escaped slaves. Their school is literally a hole in the ground, where
they and other slaves of all ages gather to form letters out of sticks,
scratch letters in the dirt, and pronounce their sounds in whispers.
Young Rosa is eager to learn the letters and then the words, because
after the words comes reading. But she must have patience, her mama
reminds her, and keep her letters to herself when she's working on the
plantation. If the Master catches them, it'll mean a whipping-one lash
for each letter. No matter how slow and dangerous the process might be,
Rosa is determined to learn, and pass on her learning to others.
poetic book is a resounding tribute to Tubman's strength, humility, and
devotion. With proper reverence, Weatherford and Nelson do justice to
the woman who, long ago, earned over and over the name Moses.
that Hannah’s papa has decided to make the run for freedom, her
patchwork quilt is not just a precious memento of Mama — it’s a series
of hidden clues that will guide them along the Underground Railroad to
Canada. A fictionalized account of a fascinating oral history, THE
PATCHWORK PATH tells the story of a two of the thousands who escaped a
life of slavery and made the dangerous journey to freedom — a story of
courage, determination, and hope.
years after her refusal to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama,
city bus, Mrs. Rosa Parks is still one of the most important figures in
the American civil rights movement. This picture- book tribute to Mrs.
Parks is a celebration of her courageous action and the events that
writer, and activist Nikki Giovanni’s evocative text combines with Bryan
Collier’s striking cut-paper images to retell the story of this
historic event from a wholly unique and original perspective.
a seamstress in the Big House, Clara dreams of a reunion with her
Momma, who lives on another plantation--and even of running away to
freedom. Then she overhears two slaves talking about the Underground
Railroad. In a flash of inspiration, Clara sees how she can use the
cloth in her scrap bag to make a map of the land--a freedom quilt--that
no master will ever suspect.
a sweet, sweet smell in the air as two young girls sneak out of their
house, down the street, and across town to where men and women are
gathered, ready to march for freedom and justice. Inspired by countless
children and young adults who took a stand, two Coretta Scott King
honorees offer a heart-lifting glimpse of children's roles in the civil
"Bessie" Coleman was always being told what she could & couldn't
do. In an era when Jim Crow laws and segregation were a way of life, it
was not easy to survive. Bessie didn't let that stop her. Although she
was only 11 when the Wright brothers took their historic flight, she
vowed to become the first African -American female pilot. Her sturdy
faith and determination helped her overcome obstacles of poverty,
racism, and gender discrimination. Innovatively told through a series of
story of one family’s journey north during the Great Migration starts
with a little girl in South Carolina who finds a rope under a tree one
summer. She has no idea the rope will become part of her family’s
history. But for three generations, that rope is passed down, used for
everything from jump rope games to tying suitcases onto a car for the
big move north to New York City, and even for a family reunion where
that first little girl is now a grandmother.
Wilma Rudolph was five years old, polio had paralyzed her left leg.
Everyone said she would never walk again. But Wilma refused to believe
it. Not only would she walk again, she vowed, she'd run. And she did
run--all the way to the Olympics, where she became the first American
woman to earn three gold medals in a single olympiad. This dramatic and
inspiring true story is illustrated in bold watercolor and acrylic
paintings by Caldecott Medal-winning artist David Diaz.
Anderson is best known for her historic concert at the Lincoln Memorial
in 1939, which drew an integrated crowd of 75,000 people in pre-Civil
Rights America. While this momentous event showcased the uniqueness of
her voice, the strength of her character, & the struggles of the
times in which she lived, it is only part of her story. Like the
operatic arias Marian would come to sing, Ryan's text is as moving as a
libretto, & Selznick's pictures as exquisitely detailed &
elaborately designed as a stage set. What emerges most profoundly from
their shared vision is a role model of courage.
the segregated south, a young girl thinks that she can drink from a
fountain marked "Whites Only" because she is wearing her white socks.
1955 people all over the United States knew that Emmett Louis Till was a
fourteen-year-old African American boy lynched for supposedly whistling
at a white woman in Mississippi. The brutality of his murder, the
open-casket funeral held by his mother, Mamie Till Mobley, and the
acquittal of the men tried for the crime drew wide media attention. In a
profound and chilling poem, award-winning poet Marilyn Nelson reminds
us of the boy whose fate helped spark the civil rights movement.
Joined: Jun 09 2006
Posted: Apr 19 2014 at 9:39am
8 to 12-years-old
November 1960, all of America watched as a tiny six-year-old black
girl, surrounded by federal Marshall's, walked through a mob of
screaming segregationists and into her school. An icon of the civil
rights movement, Ruby Bridges chronicles each dramatic step of this
pivotal event in history.
wonderful middle-grade novel narrated by Kenny, 9, about his
middle-class black family, the Weird Watsons of Flint, Michigan. When
Kenny's 13-year-old brother, Byron, gets to be too much trouble, they
head South to Birmingham to visit Grandma, the one person who can shape
him up. And they happen to be in Birmingham when Grandma's church is
X grew to be one of America’s most influential figures. But first, he
was a boy named Malcolm Little. Written by his daughter, this inspiring
picture book biography celebrates a vision of freedom and justice.
the Revolutionary War begins, thirteen-year-old Isabel wages her own
fight...for freedom. Promised freedom upon the death of their owner, she
and her sister, Ruth, in a cruel twist of fate become the property of a
malicious New York City couple, the Locktons, who have no sympathy for
the American Revolution and even less for Ruth and Isabel. When Isabel
meets Curzon, a slave with ties to the Patriots, he encourages her to
spy on her owners, who know details of British plans for invasion. She
is reluctant at first, but when the unthinkable happens to Ruth, Isabel
realizes her loyalty is available to the bidder who can provide her with
exuberant verse and stirring pictures, Patricia Hruby Powell and
Christian Robinson create an extraordinary portrait of the passionate
performer and civil rights advocate Josephine Baker, the woman who
worked her way from the slums of St. Louis to the grandest stages in the
world. Meticulously researched by both author and artist, Josephine's
powerful story of struggle and triumph is an inspiration and a
spectacle, just like the legend herself.
by Jewell Parker Rhodes
Sugar lives on the River Road sugar plantation along the banks of the
Mississippi. Slavery is over, but laboring in the fields all day doesn't
make her feel very free. Thankfully, Sugar has a knack for finding her
own fun, especially when she joins forces with forbidden friend Billy,
the white plantation owner's son.
was so excited to take a trip in her family's new car! In the early
1950s, few African Americans could afford to buy cars, so this would be
an adventure. But she soon found out that black travelers weren't
treated very well in some towns. Many hotels and gas stations refused
service to black people. Daddy was upset about something called Jim Crow
Finally, a friendly
attendant at a gas station showed Ruth's family The Green Book. It
listed all of the places that would welcome black travelers. With this
guidebook--and the kindness of strangers--Ruth could finally make a safe
journey from Chicago to her grandma's house in Alabama.
did it take to be a paratrooper in World War II? Specialized training,
extreme physical fitness, courage, and — until the 555th Parachute
Infantry Battalion (the Triple Nickles) was formed — white skin.
is 1943. Americans are overseas fighting World War II to help keep the
world safe from Adolf Hitler’s tyranny, safe from injustice, safe from
discrimination. Yet right here at home, people with white skin have
rights that people with black skin do not.
What is courage? What is strength?
Perhaps it is being ready to fight for your nation even when your nation
isn’t ready to fight for you.
just after slavery ended and orphaned at the age of seven, Sarah
Breedlove nevertheless had a vision of confidence and pride in herself
and for all women of her race. This illustrated text tells the
rags-to-riches story of one of the most celebrated black women in US
are a family on a journey to a place called wonderful" is the motto of
Deza Malone's family. Deza is the smartest girl in her class in Gary,
Indiana, singled out by teachers for a special path in life. But it's
1936 and the Great Depression has hit Gary hard, and there are no jobs
for black men. When her beloved father leaves to find work, Deza,
Mother, and her older brother, Jimmie, go in search of him, and end up
in a Hooverville outside Flint, Michigan. Jimmie's beautiful voice
inspires him to leave the camp to be a performer, while Deza and Mother
find a new home, and cling to the hope that they will find Father. The
twists and turns of their story reveal the devastation of the Depression
and prove that Deza truly is the Mighty Miss Malone.
Rector was once famously hailed as “the richest black girl in America.”
Set against the backdrop of American history, her tale encompasses the
creation of Indian Territory, the making of Oklahoma, and the
establishment of black towns and oil-rich boomtowns.
Rector acquired her
fortune at the age of eleven. This is both her story and that of
children just like her: one filled with ups and downs amid bizarre
goings-on and crimes perpetrated by greedy and corrupt adults. From a
trove of primary documents, including court and census records and
interviews with family members, author Tonya Bolden painstakingly pieces
together the events of Sarah’s life and the lives of those around her.
March 2, 1955, an impassioned teenager, fed up with the daily
injustices of Jim Crow segregation, refused to give her seat to a white
woman on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Instead of being
celebrated as Rosa Parks would be just nine months later,
fifteen-year-old Claudette Colvin found herself shunned by her
classmates and dismissed by community leaders. Undaunted, a year later
she dared to challenge segregation again as a key plaintiff in Browder
v. Gayle, the landmark case that struck down the segregation laws of
Montgomery and swept away the legal underpinnings of the Jim Crow South.
Neale Hurston was confident, charismatic, and determined to be
extraordinary. As a young woman, Hurston lived and wrote alongside such
prominent authors as Langston Hughes and Alain Locke during the Harlem
Renaissance. But unfortunately, despite writing the luminary work Their
Eyes Were Watching God, she was always short of money. Though she took
odd jobs as a housemaid and as the personal assistant to an actress,
Zora often found herself in abject poverty. Through it all, Zora kept
writing. And though none of her books sold more than a thousand copies
while she was alive, she was rediscovered a decade later by a new
generation of readers, who knew they had found an important voice of
Joined: Jun 09 2006
Posted: Apr 19 2014 at 9:40am
13 to 16-years-old
1957, Melba Pattillo turned sixteen. That was also the year she became a
warrior on the front lines of a civil rights firestorm. Following the
landmark 1954 Supreme Court ruling, Brown v. Board of Education, Melba
was one of nine teenagers chosen to integrate Little Rock's Central High
Throughout her harrowing ordeal,
Melba was taunted by her schoolmates and their parents, threatened by a
lynch mob's rope, attacked with lighted sticks of dynamite, and injured
by acid sprayed in her eyes. But through it all, she acted with dignity
and courage, and refused to back down.
is the harrowing true story of Solomon Northup, a free black man living
in New York. He was kidnapped by unscrupulous slave hunters and sold
into slavery where he endured and eventually escaped unimaginable