February is Black History Month. Here are a few fantastic books you can check out at MPL to appreciate African-American authors and stories throughout the year.
Mama Africa! : how Miriam Makeba spread hope with her song by Kathryn Erskine; illustrations by Charly Palmer
The big bed by Bunmi Laditan; pictures by Tom Knight
Dragons in a bag [sound recording] by Zetta Elliott
Young, gifted and black : meet 52 black heroes from past and present words by Jamia Wilson; illustrated by Andrea Pippins
Thank you, Omu! by Oge Mora
The Stars Beneath our Feet by David Barclay Moore
Shaking things up : 14 young women who changed the world by Susan Hood
Radiant child : the story of young artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe
My hair is a garden written and illustrated by Cozbi A. Cabrera
Mommy’s khimar by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow; illustrated by Ebony Glenn
Memphis, Martin, and the mountaintop : the sanitation strike of 1968 by Alice Faye Duncan; illustrated by R. Gregory Christie
Little leaders : bold women in black history by Vashti Harrison
Black Girl Magic by Mahogany L. Browne; art by Jess X. Snow
If you want to learn more, the Brown Bookshelf is a nice resource for selecting works featuring Black voices. During February, the contributors will highlight a different children’s author every day.
The Coretta Scott King Award is given each year to authors and illustrators whose books celebrate African-American culture and human values. Check out the CSK award blog to find children’s books by African-American authors and illustrators.
We Need Diverse Books is a great website for learning more about the importance of diversity in children’s literature and finding new authors.
Thank You, Omu!
by Oge Mora
Omu is cooking a thick red stew on the top floor of her apartment building. As it cooks, the smell brings people from the street to her door. She shares her stew with each person until it is all gone. This book reads like a folktale complete with a wonderful ending. The visually attractive collage pictures help to tell the story of sharing and community.
No Truth Without Ruth: The Life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg
by Kathleen Krull
This short biography tells of Ruth’s determination to become the person she wanted to be and to help others achieve fairness in their lives. She grew up in a time that women were told to hide their intellect and were expected to marry, have children and take care of the home. At the time there were few opportunities for women to have careers. She wanted more for herself and others. The book gives a time line of her life, career, challenges and accomplishments.
She Made a Monster: How Mary Shelley Created Frankenstein
by Lynn Fulton
A lightly fictionalized version of Mary Shelley’s creation of Frankenstein. The spooky and atmospheric art is perfect for the story of the invention of science fiction!
A Parade of Elephants
by Kevin Henkes
“Hooray! The elephants are here. Get ready!”
This one is destined to be a bedtime storytime favorite! Lots of concepts like counting, shapes, opposites, and directions all in a short, simple, beautiful book.
Smiley: A Journey of Love
by Joanne George
This book was one that warmed my heart and was a feel good book that stuck with me all year. It tells the true story of Smiley, a golden retriever who was born with no eyes. Smiley was born in a puppy mill and rescued by the book’s author who knew exactly what help Smiley needed to live his best life as a one-of-a-kind therapy dog. Real pictures of Smiley and his family are throughout the book. Every elementary-aged kiddo I recommended this to fell in love with Smiley and his story.