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People Make the Difference: A Celebration of Black History Month

These are stories of turbulent times in the United States. Each is told with a young audience in mind. Each presents a slice of history and highlights the impact of real individuals.

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

Child of the Civil Rights Movement

By: Paula Young Shelton
Illustrated by: Raul Colón
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

The youngest daughter of civil rights leader Andrew Young shares a time when she and her two older sisters moved from New York to Atlanta to protest and ultimately change unfair laws. The narration is innocent and child-like — effectively describing what Jim Crow was and giving glimpse of the leaders of the period (including Martin Luther King, Jr.). Soft lined, textured illustrations evoke the time and its tenor while portraying people in a recognizable way. An end note provides additional information about the people depicted.

Henry Aaron's Dream

By: Matt Tavares
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

In spite of growing up in the 1940s before the United States was integrated, in a segregated Mobile, Alabama, Henry Aaron dreamed of playing baseball. His perseverance and courage paid off; he was to become one of the most talented and revered players, whose major league career spanned from 1954 through 1976. He was also a vocal spokesperson for equality between white and black players. Aaron's early life, his career, and his impact on the game are revealed in an honest, sometimes difficult text and richly colored paintings.

Let It Shine: Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters

By: Andrea Pinkney
Illustrated by: Stephen Alcorn
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Brief sketches of the lives of both well (e.g. Harriet Tubman) and lesser known African American women (e.g., Biddy Mason) and their impact on civil rights are presented in the lively language of a storyteller sure to read aloud well. Vibrant, stylized Illustrations enhance the evocative text to complete the thought-provoking portraits.

March On! The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World

By: Christine King Farris
Illustrated by: London Ladd
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Martin Luther King, Jr. prepared diligently for his now famous "I have a dream" speech given on August 28, 1963 during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. It was King's unshakable belief in nonviolence and the power of words that galvanized the country. This informal account is both personal and satisfying as revealed by Martin's older sister who watched it on television with their parents in Atlanta. Full-color illustrations and expressive typography highlight words and enhance the tone.

Muhammad Ali: The People's Champion

By: Walter Dean Myers
Illustrated by: Alix Delinois
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Cassius Clay learned to box when he was twelve, trained by Joe Martin in his native Louisville, Kentucky. He would go on to win the Golden Gloves championship and to box in the Olympics. Clay stunned not only the sports world but the world as a whole by winning the world boxing championship and changing his name to Muhammad Ali when he embraced Islam. His portrait is painted in a chronological account, highlighting Ali's words in text and dramatic full-color paintings.

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.

Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down

By: Andrea Pinkney
Illustrated by: Brian Pinkney
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

The words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., inspired four students to protest in a way that ultimately changed the United States. Their peaceful dissent at the segregated lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, would "combine black with white to make sweet justice." The "Greensboro Four" began their sit-in on February 1, 1960 and contributed to the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The text suggests storytelling and is accompanied by light-lined but evocative illustrations; back matter completes this compelling portrait.

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