Featured books by Carole Boston Weatherford

Carole Boston Weatherford is a storyteller and a poet, evident in all of her books whether they are nonfiction or fiction, for the very young or older readers. Her language cries to be read aloud as she introduces jazz greats like Billie Holiday and John Coltrane. It slides off the tongue at a party and even as she examines tough historical events. Read about what interests and stirs her and become inspired yourself.

A Negro League Scrapbook

A Negro League Scrapbook

By: Carole Boston Weatherford
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader
Genre: Nonfiction

This brief, often poetic, and informative introduction to the Negro Leagues uses period photographs to enhance the information. The period in American history is one of segregation and sadness but also of great joy and achievement.

Be a King: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Dream and You

Be a King: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Dream and You

By: Carole Boston Weatherford
Illustrated by: James Ransome
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader
Genre: Nonfiction

Young readers are called to action, because it is possible that “You can be a King” in small everyday ways. Brief, recognizable scenes and sophisticated ideas are realistically interspersed with simpler, child-like classroom goings-on to bring the concept closer to familiar experiences. The result is a lyrical book just right to launch discussions.

Before John Was a Jazz Giant: A Song of John Coltrane

Before John Was a Jazz Giant: A Song of John Coltrane

By: Carole Boston Weatherford
Illustrated by: Sean Qualls
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography

John's music began when he listened to the music in his childhood. Semi-abstract illustrations vivify sound-filled poetry, together introducing a boy who would grow up to become the great John Coltrane.

Box: Henry Brown Mails Himself to Freedom

Box: Henry Brown Mails Himself to Freedom

By: Carole Boston Weatherford
Illustrated by: Michele Wood
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography

Henry Brown’s unique method to escape from slavery is presented in lyrical language and rich, multi-layered mixed media illustration. A box took Henry from slavery to freedom after his entire family had been “sold south.” Further resources are included.

Champions on the Bench

Champions on the Bench

By: Carole Boston Weatherford
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

A boy narrates his disappointment that his "colored" team cannot play in the 1955 Little League baseball playoffs in Williamsport (PA), rebuffed by the white groups. Dramatic illustrations are used in this story based on actual events.

Dear Mr. Rosenwald

Dear Mr. Rosenwald

By: Carole Boston Weatherford
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Beginning Reader
Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction

A 10 year old girl narrates this fictionalized story, based on real events and people, of how her rural southern town builds a new school for African American children with the help of Julius Rosenwald (then president of Sears Roebuck).

Freedom in Congo Square

Freedom in Congo Square

By: Carole Boston Weatherford
Illustrated by: R. Gregory Christie
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader
Genre: Nonfiction

Join the rhythmic countdown to Sunday afternoon, the one time when enslaved Africans in 19th century Louisiana could relax in what became known as New Orleans’ Congo Square. Vibrant paintings, reminiscent of Jacob Lawrence, further enliven the portrait of people as they toiled daily, culminating on Sunday. An introduction provides historical insight and perspective of this little known part of American history.

Freedom on the Menu: The Greensboro Sit-Ins

Freedom on the Menu: The Greensboro Sit-Ins

By: Carole Boston Weatherford
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Beginning Reader
Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction

A girl and her mom want to have a sweet treat on a hot day but cannot sit at the soda fountain simply because they are "colored." Impressionistic paintings soften the harshness of the story of segregation in the South during a turbulent time.

I, Matthew Henson

I, Matthew Henson

By: Carole Boston Weatherford
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Matthew Henson, an African American, accompanied Robert Peary to the North Pole where together they placed a flag. The courage and perseverance of this remarkable man is revealed through his voice and luminous illustrations.

Jesse Owens: Fastest Man Alive

Jesse Owens: Fastest Man Alive

By: Carole Boston Weatherford
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Subtle references and evocative language introduce Jesse Owens and what he faced as a Gold Medalist — an African American in Hitler's 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany. An endnote provides more information.

Leontyne Price: Voice of a Century

Leontyne Price: Voice of a Century

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

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.

Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom

Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom

By: Carole Boston Weatherford
Illustrated by: Kadir Nelson
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography

Dramatic full color illustrations (which won a Caldecott Honor) and splendid, poetic language depict the bravery of Harriet Tubman, who escaped slavery on a Maryland plantation only to return again and again to help other slaves escape. Deeply religious, Harriet became known as the Moses of her people and a conductor on the Underground Railroad.

Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library

Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library

By: Carole Boston Weatherford
Illustrated by: Eric Velasquez
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography

Who was Arturo Alfonso Schomburg? He was an Afro-Puerto Rican man whose thirst for knowledge about his roots led him to collect and manage what would become a great library in New York City. Fluid language informs as handsome, realistic paintings illuminate the highlights of Schomburg’s life and contributions. A timeline and bibliography may inspire other young researchers and booklovers.

The Roots of Rap: 16 Bars on the 4 Pillars of Hip-Hop

The Roots of Rap: 16 Bars on the 4 Pillars of Hip-Hop

By: Carole Boston Weatherford
Illustrated by: Frank Morrison
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader
Genre: Nonfiction, Poetry

So you think rap is modern? Well, it is, but its genesis began long ago! Discover where rap started in this rhythmic, clearly sourced, and stunningly illustrated poetic introduction to it.

Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre

Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre

By: Carole Boston Weatherford
Illustrated by: Floyd Cooper
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader
Genre: Nonfiction

Tulsa, Oklahoma, once housed an area called Black Wall Street. Successful African Americans owned and operated business in Greenwood, a section of the city. Without downplaying the horror, author and illustrator combine talents to present this brutal historical event in words and image. Additional resources are included.

Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer

Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer

By: Carole Boston Weatherford
Illustrated by: Ekua Holmes
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography, Poetry

Stirring poems and vibrant collage illustrations combine to celebrate the life of Fannie Lou Hamer, a champion of the Civil Rights and voting rights movements during the 1950s through the 1970s. Born in the Mississippi delta, the youngest of 20 children, Hamer had to drop out of school after sixth grade to work in the cotton fields before she became a powerful voice for her people. The book vividly brings to life Hamer’s legacy with a message of hope, determination, and strength.

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"Let children read whatever they want and then talk about it with them. If parents and kids can talk together, we won't have as much censorship because we won't have as much fear." —

Judy Blume