Did you know that Black History Month has been celebrated during the month of February for over a hundred years? Your kids were probably very excited to have Martin Luther King day off from school, but did they understand why? I know my daughter didn’t. In fact, we sent her to school the following day with the book, I’ve Seen the Promised Land. Typically show and tell is a fast process in her class. But when her teacher saw what she had, she actually read the book to the entire class!! My daughter’s class learned all about Rosa Parks. My daughter was so upset that someone would ask her to give up her seat just because of the color of her skin. As a parent, it was a very proud moment and I’m so glad that my daughter was able to understand how far we’ve come over the past few decades. I’m very excited to share with you the fact that HarperCollins Children’s Books offers new books that boast the achievements of African-Americans in our country’s history. This is a very important topic for our young kids and, quite honestly, you might learn a little something as well as you read these books with them. Here are a few of their new books that you might be interested in for Black History Month.
A beautiful book with vivid, gorgeous pictures that your kids will love, is a picture book biography about the inspirational anti-apartheid activist and former president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela. Kadir Nelson tells the story of how when he was nine years old, his father passed away and he was sent to a school far from home. While away, he saw Africans who were poor and powerless. Mandela made it his personal mission to protect these people. The government, at this time, kept people separated based on skin color and Mandela spoke out against the law to put an end to this. Your children will learn how they can truly make a difference in this world, even if everything is up against them saying that they can’t. By learning how Nelson Mandela eventually became president of his country and ensuring people of all colors are equal. His story is truly inspiring.
Written and illustrated by Kadir Nelson Ages 4-8
On the heels of the 2012 Presidential election comes this powerful story of the building of the White house. Coretta Scott King Award winners Charles R. Smith and Floyd Cooper capture the emotion and the toil that created this incredible structure, the home of our President. Built brick by brick, the White House was created by human hands, many of them slaves, whose hard labor created the symbol of this country. Did you know that many slaves were able to purchase their freedom after earning money from learning a trade through the work they did building the White House? Such an interesting read and motivating story for little minds.
Written by Charles R. Smith Jr. and illustrated by Floyd Cooper – Ages 4-8
Coretta Scott King Award winners capture one girl’s amazing journey west with her family to a land filled with plenty and promise. Based on the author’s true story of her move from Oklahoma to California in 1948 as a girl, a time when many were drawn by possibility, reflected in the faces of people of all races, cultures, and ethnicities who started a new life there.
Lemons as big as oranges, the cool Pacific Ocean, mountains that rise up beyond the outstretched bay—California beckons as one girl makes her way west on a journey filled with excitement, hope, and the promise of a place where people from all paths come together and music fills the air. Your kids will absolutely love going on this journey along with the main character. She tells of the sites she saw outside the train as well as inside on the ride. A small glimpse into a time not that long ago.
Written by Joyce Carol Thomas and illustrated by Floyd Cooper – Ages 4-8
I loved that this book started off with speaking about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s father as well as the story of Rosa Parks. It really set the stage for how Dr. King became who he was and what he accomplished against all odds. This is definitely a two-parter story at bedtime for most kids. Extremely educational and interesting. Your kids will likely have a lot of questions after reading this, I know mine did. So we read it in two parts and let her ask questions along the way.
Esteemed author and current National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Walter Dean Myers tells the story of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. A man, who moved American society closer to the ideals of freedom and fairness. Dr. King’s dream that all Americans would be judged by their individual actions and character is one we still cherish today.
Written by Walter Dean Myers and illustrated by Leonard Jenkins – Ages 4-8
special thanks for books provided in order to conduct review