Posted tagged ‘Slavery’

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.


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


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



Celebrating the African-American Music Culture

February 5, 2015

I grew up in a house that was filled with music. Even though none of us sings well or plays an instrument, we listened to all types of music and wrapped our heads and hearts around the many melodies we heard. One of the newest members of our immediate family – our one and only favorite son-in-law – plays the guitar and sings. His preferred music genre is the blues. The guest bedroom in my daughter and son-in-law’s home features prints of talented blues legends who greatly influenced the world of music.

From left to right there’s Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Bo Diddley, B.B. King,

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Little Walter, Howlin’ Wolf, and Albert Collins

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Blues have been a part of the African-American music culture since slavery times. It has been said that to know the blues, you have to feel the blues.

The great Mahalia Jackson noted, “When black people stop singing the blues, then there’ll be no more nothin’! Because the blues has made American music and they will still be around when all the rock and stuff has gone. The blues is always around.”

Male artists such as those pictured above and women such as Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, Ma Rainey, Ethel Waters, and many others helped shape and define blues music and the music beyond.

February is Black History Month. This year’s theme is A Century of Black Life, History, and Culture. Take some time to educate yourself on the life and times of African Americans and the numerous contributions they have made to our society.

If you like blues, check this book out. It’s great for all ages.


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The Blues Singers: Ten Who Rocked the World written by Julius Lester and illustrated by Lisa Conen

Other suggestions for young music enthusiasts:

Jimi Sounds Like a Rainbow: A Story of the Young Jimi Hendrix written by Gary Golio and illustrated by Javaka Steptoe

When Louis Armstrong Taught Me Scat written by Muriel Harris Weinstein and illustrated by R. Gregory Christie

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