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Standing Tall

What makes someone stand out? Sometimes it's that they stand up for what's right or what they believe in; other times it's because they stand up to help a friend. In this collection of books recommended for kids ages 0-9 you'll read about people who stand out because they stood strong.

Quotable Quotes: The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you'll go. -- Dr. Seuss

A Strong Right Arm: The Story of Mamie "Peanut" Johnson

By: Michelle Green
Illustrated by: Kadir Nelson
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

At just over 5 feet tall, no one thought Mamie Johnson, also known as "Peanut" because of her size, would become a baseball star. But she sure could pitch! The author collaborated with the actual Mamie Johnson to tell the riveting — and real — story of how Peanut Johnson became one of three women to play professionally in the Negro Baseball League.

Ellington Was Not a Street

By: Ntozake Shange, Kadir Nelson
Illustrated by: Kadir Nelson
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Handsome illustrations of Shange's evocative poem, "Mood Indigo," pay homage to the many African American icons and visionaries who came to the author's house when she was a child. From W.E.B. DuBois to Duke Ellington, the people we now know as luminaries are seen from the perspective of a young girl. This book is sure to generate discussion.

Fishing Day

By: Andrea Pinkney
Illustrated by: Shane Evans
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Reenie and her mother often fish along a river nicknamed Jim Crow, where they often see Peter and his father fishing, too. Since Reenie is black and Peter is white, they never speak — until Reenie reaches out to bridge a divide even wider than the river. A hopeful ending concludes this expressively illustrated recollection of the author's childhood.

Love to Langston

By: Tony Medina
Illustrated by: R. Gregory Christie
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

This poetic tribute to Langston Hughes introduces the poet and the time in which he lived and worked. An author's note provides information about Hughes' life and will likely generate interest in Hughes' poetry. Stylized illustrations complement this unique story.

Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

By: Doreen Rappaport
Illustrated by: Bryan Collier
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Martin Luther King Jr. grew up fascinated by big words. He would later go on to use these words to inspire a nation and call people to action. In this award-winning book, powerful portraits of King show how he used words, not weapons, to fight injustice.

More Than Anything Else

By: Marie Bradby, Chris K. Soentpiet
Illustrated by: Chris K. Soentpiet
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

More than anything else, young Booker T. Washington wanted to read. This fictionalized account of Washington’s early life working in a West Virginia salt mine, and his quest to reach his goal despite great obstacles, is eloquently depicted in text and luminous, dramatic watercolors.

My Brother Martin: A Sister Remembers Growing Up With the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

By: Christine King Farris
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Christine recalls growing up with her brothers (known as M.L. and A.D.) in a family in which laughter and love were celebrated. She describes a pivotal moment in their childhood when her brothers are told by the white boys who live across the street that they can no longer play together because the King's are "Negroes." The story provides insight into the child M.L. King was, and the man he would become. Realistic watercolors evoke the era and events of this well-told memoir.

Rosa

By: Nikki Giovanni
Illustrated by: Bryan Collier
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Rosa Parks was an ordinary woman who became a hero because she "was not going to give in to that which was wrong." A catalyst for the famous Montgomery Bus boycott in Alabama, she turned the nation's attention to a glaring injustice in our society. Powerful illustrations evoke a time before the Civil Rights era and give the reader a glimpse at a person, her impact, and a period in American history.

Talkin' About Bessie: The Story of Aviator Elizabeth Coleman

By: Nikki Grimes, E.B. Lewis
Illustrated by: E.B. Lewis
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

After aviator Elizabeth "Bessie" Coleman is lost in a plane crash, those who knew her celebrate her life. Different voices come alive in small portraits and beautifully crafted full-page scenes as individuals tell stories in free verse to present Bessie's unusual and heroic story. A biographical note extends the introduction to this early aviator.

When Marian Sang: The True Recital of Marian Anderson

By: Pam Muñoz Ryan
Illustrated by: Brian Selznick
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Marian Anderson was an extraordinary contralto whose talent was celebrated in Europe long before she was recognized in her native United States. Anderson's focus, musical talent, and the difficult times in which she lived are captured in a dramatic picture book biography.

Wings

By: Christopher Myers
Illustrated by: Christopher Myers
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Stunning, bold collage illustrations carry the action in this reworking of the traditional Greek myth. Here, Icarus becomes Ikarus, a boy of color, who learns to fly in spite of the society in which he lives.

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Maria Salvadore
Maria Salvadore
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"Once you learn to read, you will be forever free." — Frederick Douglass