Books by Theme
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.
A Strong Right Arm: The Story of Mamie "Peanut" Johnson
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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 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
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
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.
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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