Books by Theme
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.
Carter Reads the Newspaper
A picture book biography about how Carter G. Woodson became known as the “father of Black History” that also highlights the importance of literacy and being an informed citizen. Woodson, a child of formerly enslaved parents, grew up listening to family and friend’s stories and reading the newspaper to his father. Woodson was inspired to pursue more knowledge about the histories and lives of Black people, and to share these stories. Illustrations also feature brief biological sketches of important figures from African and African American history.
Child of the Civil Rights Movement
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.
Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice
Nine months before Rosa Parks’ history-making protest on a city bus, Claudette Colvin, a 15-year-old Montgomery, Alabama, high-school student, was arrested and jailed for refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger. Based on extensive interviews with Colvin and many others, this book presents the first in-depth account of an important yet largely unknown civil rights figure, skillfully weaving her dramatic story into the fabric of the historic Montgomery bus boycott and court case that would change the course of American history.
Evicted!: The Struggle for the Right to Vote
This civil rights book examines the little-known Tennessee's Fayette County Tent City Movement in the late 1950s and reveals what is possible when people unite and fight for the right to vote. Powerfully conveyed through interconnected stories and told through the eyes of a child, this book combines poetry, prose, and rich illustrations to shine light on this forgotten history.
Henry Aaron's Dream
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
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
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
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.
Opal Lee and What It Means to Be Free: The True Story of the Grandmother of Juneteenth
Black activist Opal Lee had a vision of Juneteenth as a holiday for everyone. This true story celebrates Black joy and inspires children to see their dreams blossom. Growing up in Texas, Opal knew the history of Juneteenth, but she soon discovered that many Americans had never heard of the holiday. Join Opal on her historic journey to recognize and celebrate “freedom for all.”
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
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.
The Power of Her Pen: The Story of Groundbreaking Journalist Ethel L. Payne
Ethel Payne always had an ear for stories. Seeking truth, justice, and equality, Ethel followed stories from her school newspaper in Chicago to Japan during World War II. It even led her to the White House briefing room, where she broke barriers as the only black female journalist. Ethel wasn’t afraid to ask the tough questions of presidents, elected officials, or anyone else in charge, earning her the title, “First Lady of the Black Press.”
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