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Their Legacy Lives On

Fictionalized or real, you'll meet interesting and strong individuals in the titles below. Their bravery and conviction in what was right and fair set them apart during difficult times. Read how each person made a difference in the world we live in today.

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

Freedom's School

By: Lesa Cline-Ransome
Illustrated by: James Ransome
Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

For Rosa and her family, Emancipation means education and schooling. The child's narration accompanied by richly hued illustrations, reveals the strength in community and the power of learning in the face of adversity and opposition in a post-Civil War South.

Harlem Renaissance Party

By: Faith Ringgold
Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Science Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Lonnie travels back in time to meet many of the artists, writers, and musicians of the Harlem Renaissance. During this rich time, African American culture was reinvigorated. Illustrations are boldly colored acrylic paintings, and additional information is included at the end.

Henry Aaron's Dream

By: Matt Tavares
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography
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.

John Henry: An American Legend

By: Ezra Keats
Genre: Fiction, Fairy Tales and Folk Tales, Myths and Legends
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

John Henry was born to be a hero — strong, competitive and determined. The legendary steel-driving man brought to life through Ezra Jack Keat's collage illustrations and jaunty text is again available hardcover in honor of its 50th anniversary.

Leontyne Price: Voice of a Century

By: Carole Boston Weatherford
Illustrated by: Raul Colón
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Born in the Mississippi Delta in 1927, the always musically gifted Mary Violet Leontyne Price would grow up to be the first African American to star at LaScala in Italy. Evocative illustrations swirl with poetic text to bring this star to life. Leontyne was preceded and may have been inspired by Marian Anderson, so this book pairs well with When Marian Sang: The True Recital of Marian Anderson.

Mahalia Jackson: Walking with Kings and Queens

By: Nina Nolan
Illustrated by: John Holyfield
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

This brief, broad introduction to gospel great, Mahalia Jackson, is sure to inform as well as arouse curiosity about her music and the times in which she lived. Happily, lots of audio exists to complement the richly illustrated glimpse of a fascinating woman.

Malcolm Little: The Boy Who Grew Up to Become Malcolm X

By: Ilyasah Shabazz
Illustrated by: A.G. Ford
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Words are powerful; they can inspire and they can be hurtful, as Shabazz demonstrates in this touching look at her father's early life. Realistic illustrations combine with a compelling narration to examine a man and the turbulent times in which he lived. Older, more sophisticated readers may gain more from Shabazz's X: A Novel.

My Name Is Truth: The Life of Sojourner Truth

By: Ann Turner
Illustrated by: James Ransome
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Isabella Baumfree was born into slavery but she would not remain enslaved. Instead, she took the name Sojourner Truth and a famous orator for the abolition of slavery and for women's rights. Sojourner's words swirl throughout deeply colored pages of expressive illustrations.

Seeds of Freedom: The Peaceful Integration of Huntsville, Alabama

By: Hester Bass
Illustrated by: E.B. Lewis
Genre: Nonfiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Huntsville, Alabama, home to the Marshall Space Center, was desegregated nonviolently during the 1960s. The people there nurtured the seeds planted by Martin Luther King, Jr. and others as they worked for equality. Realistic watercolors are expressive, effectively evoking the period and people.

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Maria Salvadore
August 15, 2017

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