Reading Rockets recommends the following books by Patricia and Frederick McKissack.
Carter G. Woodson: The Father of Black History
With simplified vocabularies, large print, and plenty of illustrations, this book describes the life and accomplishments of Carter G. Woodson, the man who pioneered the study of African American history. This is one of five biographies in the Great African Americans Series.
Christmas in the Big House; Christmas in the Quarters
Preparations for Christmas on a Virginia plantation in 1859 begin with the harvest. There are differences between the celebrations in the big house of the plantation owners and those in the slave quarters. This fictionalized account blends the drama and history for a dramatic portrait of the period.
Rebels Against Slavery: The Story of American Slave Revolts
Profiles of rebellion leaders like Nat Turner, Harriet Tubman, Denmark Vesey, Cato, and Gabriel Prosser.
Satchel Paige: Best Arm in Baseball
Straightforward language and lots of illustrations in an open format create an inviting introduction to one of the early greats in baseball.
Can You Imagine?
Patricia McKissack describes the importance of family stories and how listening to them influenced her. Her engaging narrative, filled with current and early photographs may well inspire others to become writers.
Flossie and the Fox
Flossie and the Fox is an African American variant of the tale, "Little Red Riding Hood." In this version, the fox is after Flossie's basket of eggs. In this version, however, it's Flossie herself who is brave enough and smart enough to outfox the fox!
Goin' Someplace Special
'Tricia Ann, though frustrated by the Jim Crow laws that forbid her, as an African American, to enter certain restaurants and hotels, or even to sit on park benches marked "For Whites Only," rises above her pain and makes her way to one of the only places in the city that welcomes her with open arms: the public library.
There were always discoveries to be made in their grandmother's attic; and Gee always had a story to go along with it. On this visit, the cousins find an autographed baseball that leads to a story about the Negro Baseball League and its stars, Josh Gibson and Satchel Paige. Exciting, predictable, and well-paced, this is sure to appeal to children.
Ma Dear's Aprons
David Earl always knows the days of the week by what apron his mother wears for each specific chore. And he knows Sunday is the day when no apron is needed for their special time together. Handsome, realistic watercolors evoke the earlier time in which this story is set and memories of the authorï¿½s family.
Mirandy and Brother Wind
Mirandy wants to win the cakewalk dance but to do so, can she capture Brother Wind? Inspired by a family photograph, the author and illustrator richly imagine a time past and what a clever girl can achieve. Realistic watercolor illustrations increase the story’s sense of time, place, and its drama.
Nettie Jo's Friends
Nettie Jo desperately needs a needle to sew a new wedding dress for her beloved doll, but the three animals she helps during her search do not seem inclined to give their assistance in return.
Ol' Clip-Clop: A Ghost Story
In 1741, mean-hearted John Leep set out to evict a tenant on Friday, October 13th on a cold and very dark evening. As Leep clip-clops to the widow's house on his horse, hoof beats are matched by an unseen rider to and from the house. Dark, dramatic illustrations enhance the truly spooky story with an unexpected ending sure to make readers or listeners jump.
Porch Lies: Tales of Slicksters, Tricksters & Other Wily Characters
Inspired by stories she heard as a child, the author presents original tales steeped in oral tradition and imbued with the African American experience. Rich language and memorable characters create a collection to be shared aloud time and time again on front porches or anywhere else.
Sojourner Truth: Ain't I A Woman?
With compassion and historical detail, the McKissacks offer a rich profile of Isabella Van Wagener. Her experiences as both slave and freed slave in New York shaped her mid-life commitment to abolition and women's rights. At age 46, she received a call to "walk in the light of His truth." Henceforward, her name was Sojourner Truth and, although she never learned to read or write, the six-foot tall woman became a striking, eloquent spokesperson whose wit, common sense, and candor popularized her with audiences throughout New England and the Midwest.
The All I'll Ever Want Christmas Doll
Nella and her family live in a small town during the Depression so "Santy" Claus doesn't come very often. This year, however, he brings a special doll - and Nella, the middle child, learns that playing with her sisters is more fun than with the doll alone. Richly detailed illustrations add definition to time and place as well as to the characters.
The Honest-to-Goodness Truth
Libby decides to tell the truth and always the truth after she’s caught in a fib by her mom. Libby learns, however, that even though her mother says that when we "speak the truth " we "shame the devil" that it sometimes hurts others’ feelings. Informal language and folksy illustrations depict a familiar childhood experience.
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