Posted tagged ‘African Americans’

A Must-Read Book for African American History Month

February 20, 2020

Lizzie

Long before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, there was another African American woman who fought for the right to have a seat on a streetcar. Lizzie Demands a Seat!  Elizabeth Jennings Fights for Streetcar Rights is written by Beth Anderson and illustrated by award-winning E. B. Lewis. The year is 1854 and Elizabeth “Lizzie” Jennings, an African American woman living in New York City, is late for choir practice. She boards the first streetcar that comes along, but the conductor stops her and tells her to wait for another car coming “for your people.” Even though Lizzie is a respected school teacher, church organist, and born a “free black” in a “free state,” she has never been treated as an equal. Lizzie sees plenty of empty seats on the streetcar and no one is objecting to her riding it, but when she stands her ground, the conductor is infuriated. He calls the driver for help, and Lizzie is roughly thrown off the car. She picks herself up and climbs back on. The angry conductor tells the driver to go and not to stop until he sees a police officer. The officer removes Lizzie from the streetcar with a harsh warning. She is left shaken and hurt. Lizzie’s parents are abolitionists, fighting for the abolishment of slavery in the South, and Lizzie joins them in their fight for equal rights for black Americans living in the North. After her streetcar incident, Lizzie is more determined than ever to right injustice not only for herself but for all. She decides the only way to accomplish this is in the courtroom. A meeting is called in Lizzie’s African American community where she tells her story. A committee is formed and they retain a white lawyer to represent Lizzie. Her father speaks in churches and writes letters and articles asking for public support. Newspapers run Lizzie’s story. Seven months later, Lizzie appears with her lawyer in court. The case of Elizabeth Jennings v. The Third Avenue Railroad Company begins. Beth Anderson’s rhythmic language and pacing will engage readers and keep them turning the pages to learn the verdict in Lizzie’s court dispute. Along with E. B. Lewis’ appealing illustrations that transport readers back to an earlier era in American history, Beth Anderson’s captivating story and author’s note demonstrate the tenacity of Lizzie Jennings as she champions dignity, justice, and equality.

 

 

 

 

African American History Month

February 13, 2020

This month we celebrate the tenacity and accomplishments of African Americans who made a difference in the history of America. Below are some picture book biographies that readers might enjoy.

marcher

The Youngest Marcher:  The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a Young Civil Rights Activistwritten by Cynthia Levinson and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton, Antheneum Books for Young Readers, 2017.

Katherine

Counting on Katherine:  How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13written by Helaine Becker and illustrated by Tiemdow Phumiruk, Henry Holt and Co., 2018.

Mae

Mae Among the Stars written by Roda Ahmed and illustrated by Stasia Burrington, HarperCollins, 2018.

miles

Birth of the Cool:  How Jazz Great Miles Davis Found His Soundwritten by Kathleen Cornell Berman and illustrated by Keith Henry Brown, Page Street Kids, 2019.

carter

Carter Reads the Newspaperwritten by Deborah Hopkinson and illustrated by Don Tate, Peachtree Publishing Company, 2019.

maya

Rise!  From Caged Bird to Poet of the People, Maya Angelouwritten by Bethany Hegedus and illustrated by Tonya Engel, Lee & Low Books, 2019.

kwame

The Undefeatedwritten by Kwame Alexander and illustrated by Kadir Nelson, Versify, 2019.

dream

Dream Builder:  The Story of Architect Philip Freelonwritten by Kelly Starling Lyons and illustrated by Laura Freeman, Lew & Low Books, January 2020.

george

The Secret Garden of George Washington Carver, written by Gene Barretta and illustrated by Frank Morrison, Katherine Tegen Books, January 2020.

Watch for this picture book biography coming soon!

box

Box:  Henry Brown Mails Himself to Freedomwritten by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by Michele Wood, Candlewick, April 14, 2020.

 

In Celebration of Black History Month

February 4, 2016

February is Black History Month.  There are many excellent books dealing with the tragedies, triumphs, and accomplishments of African-Americans. Below is a short list of fiction and non-fiction picture books to share with young readers. Enjoy them, discuss them, and celebrate the successes Black Americans have made and how they have helped shape the history and culture of our country.

Non-fiction:

The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch written by Chris Barton and illustrated by Don Tate

Brick by Brick written by Charles R. Smith, Jr. and illustrated by Floyd Cooper

The Cart That Carried Martin written by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Don Tate

Freedom in Congo Square written by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by R. Gregory Christie

Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans written and illustrated by Kadir Nelson

I Lay My Stitches Down: Poems of American Slavery by Cynthia Grady, illustrated by Michele Wood

Jazz Age Josephine written by Jonah Winter and illustrated by Marjorie Priceman

Little Melba and Her Big Trombone written by Katheryn Russell-Brown and illustrated by Frank Morrison

Mumbet’s Declaration of Independence written by Gretchen Woelfle and illustrated by Alix Delinois

Queen of the Track: Alice Coachman: Olympic High-Jump Champion written by Heather Lang and illustrated by Floyd Cooper

Two Friends:  Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass written by Dean Robbins and illustrated by Sean Qualls and Selina Alko

Words Set Me Free: The Story of Young Frederick Douglass by Lesa Cline-Ransome and illustrated by James E. Ransome

Fiction:

A Dance Like Starlight written by Kristy Dempsey and illustrated by Floyd Cooper

Firebird written by Misty Copeland and illustrated by Christopher Myers

The Hula-Hoopin’ Queen written by Thelma Lynne Godin and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley Newton

The Quickest Kid in Clarksville written by Pat Zietlow Miller and illustrated by Frank Morrison

White Water: inspired by a true story written by Michael S. Bandy and Eric Stein and illustrated by Shadra Strickland

Wind Flyers written by Angela Johnson and illustrated by Loren Long

“We should emphasize not Negro History, but the Negro in history. What we need is not a history of selected races or nations, but the history of the world void of national bias, race hate, and religious prejudice.” ~ Carter Woodson

 

 

Black History Month

February 21, 2013

I couldn’t let Black History Month pass by without mentioning a wonderful book written by award-winning poet, Arnold Adoff with paintings by the very talented R. Gregory Christie.

Roots and Blues A Celebration is a book filled with poems that speak of the difficult journey of African American slaves and how the joys and sorrows in their lives were intertwined with the rhythm and music of the world around them.

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Adoff’s word choice and placement of words create rhythmic patterns that flow off the page and sing to the reader. With his unique style, Adoff introduces the history and culture of the blues to readers. References to such music greats as Muddy Waters, Bessie Smith, W.C. Handy, Ma Rainey, and others are made. Interspersed throughout the book are paintings by R. Gregory Christie, a Coretta Scott King Honor Award-winner, that capture the suffering and joy of African American life.

This is a book to be savored.


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