February is Black History Month in the US. Take this opportunity to explore the civil rights movement and black history with your kids using some great reads from the Children’s Library. We have a wide selection of age appropriate materials about American heroes and iconic figures including Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcom X, among others. Below are a few recommended titles from our collection:
Back of the Bus
Written by Aaron Reynolds, Illustrated by Floyd Cooper
Reviewed by Children’s Library Volunteer Kristen Crans
Back of the Bus draws you right through the open doors of a public bus bumping down the roads of Montgomery Alabama in 1955. It takes you to the back seat of that bus, where a little boy and his mother are on their way home after a long, tiring day. The boy and his Mama are sitting in the back because that’s where folks of their color are supposed to be sitting. But on this particular day, one woman chooses not to sit where she is supposed to, and that woman is Mrs. Rosa Parks.
This retelling of the story of Rosa Parks is enlightening and very relatable to childrenas it is told through the eyes of a young boy experiencing it all first hand. If the rhythm of the text isn’t enough to draw the reader in, then the oil paintings will, as they highlight the faces and emotions felt by all riding on that bus that day. This is a great
conversation starter to discuss what can otherwise be a difficult topic for children to understand. This moving story can be found in the Children’s Library with the Easiest Reader Picture Books under the call number ER.
Giant Steps to Change the World
by Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee
Reviewed by Children’s Library Volunteer Carole Black
Sean Qualls’s bold graphics, collage and drawings colorfully illustrate the achievements of people who take risks to realize their dreams. Creative text encourages the reader to face fears and obstacles they encounter as they take their big first step to making their own impact on the world.
New @ the Library. You can find it in the Children’s Library with the Easiest Readers in EL.
Some other titles you might like:
Illustrations and lyrical text recall the December, 1955 bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama and the events that followed.
Found in the Children’s Library on the Holiday Shelf under EP
I Have a Dream, by Martin Luther King Jr., with forward by Coretta Scott King; Illustrated by fifteen Coretta Scott King Award and Honor book artists.
I Have a Dream is the complete text from Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous speech for the MArch on Washington. It includes paintings by fifteen award winning illustrators.
You can find it in the Children’s Library with the Juvenile Non-Fiction under J 325.26 KING.
One Crazy Summer, by Rita Williams Garcia
One Crazy Summer is the story of three sisters from Brooklyn who are sent to Oakland, CA in the summer of 1968 to meet the mother who left them, and who happens to be active in the Black Panther Party for Self Defense. A story of self discovery that also touches on topics of racism, abandonment and cultural identity, this book comes highly recommended by the Library’s own Bookworms!For middle grade readers, ages 9+.
You can find it with the Juvenile Fiction under J WIL.