Home » ARTICLES » Book Review » Books to Celebrate Black History Month
 
 
Books to Celebrate Black History Month PDF Print E-mail
Written by Flannery Fitch   

February is Black History Month, and in the wake of a racially charged year, it seems more important than ever to start off 2016 by educating kids about civil rights and the history of African Americans in our country. Thanks to some great children’s literature, it’s possible to introduce kids to different viewpoints.

 

Have Fun, Anna Hibiscus

by Atinuke

Anna Hibiscus lives in Africa, and she’s very happy there with her friends and family. But there’s one thing Africa can’t give her: Anna wants to see snow! This is a sweet, fun book about a charming, clever girl. If you’ve got a young reader who’s burned through Ivy & Bean, Judy Moody, or Junie B. Jones, give them the Anna Hibiscus series, and they’ll find a kindred spirit!

 

Ida B. Wells: Let the Truth Be Told

by Walter Dean Myers

Long before the Civil Rights Movement, Ida B. Wells stood up and took a stand against discrimination. Growing up during Reconstruction, Wells saw what life could have been like for African Americans, and when it ended, she used the power of the printed press to advocate for change. In addition to fighting for black rights, Wells fought for the women’s right to vote. This wonderful picture book by noted author Walter Dean Myers is a fitting tribute to an incredible woman.

 

I Have Heard of a Land

by Joyce Carol Thomas

In the late 1880’s, a call went out across America: Free land in Oklahoma, for any who will settle it. Many of those who rushed to claim that land were newly freed slaves, eager for a fresh start in a new place, and filled with the fire and hope required to survive settling the frontier. Based on her family’s own history, Joyce Carol Thomas has written a beautiful book that tells of that call and the hope that came with it. This lovely, lyrical book is perfect for reading out loud.

 

One Crazy Summer

by Rita Williams-Garcia

It’s the summer of 1968, and 11-year old Delphine and her two sisters have just been sent off to Oakland, California to live with their estranged mother. However, their mother is busy with her own things, and sends the kids off to a summer camp at the People’s Center, run by the Black Panther Party. Over the summer, Delphine and her sisters learn a lot about the world they live in, the mother who left them, and themselves. Not only does this have a great local setting, but it talks about the Civil Rights Movement on the West Coast, a little tackled subject.

 

Stella by Starlight

by Sharon Draper

Growing up black in the South was a dangerous thing to do. Some people are kind and welcoming to all, some people are not. Stella knows this, but she figures things are okay, as there hasn’t been any trouble in a while. Then one summer, that all changes. Her father wants to take the test to vote. The Klan is becoming active again. And Stella is there, watching, listening, learning, and writing it all down. This is a moving, uplifting story of family, community, and strength in the face of the worst kind of adversity.

 

Warrior’s Don’t Cry

by Melba Patillo Beals

When the South began integrate their schools in the late 50’s, all attention was on nine black students joining Arkansas’s Little Rock Central High School. The Little Rock Nine became the face of a movement as they battled discrimination and hatred while trying to get an education. Melba Patillo Beals was one of those teenagers, and this searing memoir is one of the classic texts of the Civil Rights Movement. This is an incredible book, and I recommend it to all teens.

 

March

by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, & Nate Powell

John Lewis has been a Congressional Representative for the state of Georgia since 1987, but before that, he was a major leader of the Civil Rights Movement. In this stunning graphic novel, he tells his story with the help of his aide, Aydin, and the talented graphic novelist Nate Powell. This is an incredibly powerful book, as well as an excellent example of how good a graphic novel can be.

 

Flannery Fitch is a bookseller at Bookshop Santa Cruz. Her life has been about books since before she could read.

 
© Copyright 2008 all rights reserved