Monday, January 30, 2017

A New Batch Of Black History Books

I've been busy pulling books at school to display in February for Black History month.  This collection of books keeps growing as each year new titles are published.  

I've added five to my own personal collection as well: 

Hidden Figures: The Young Readers' Edition by Margot Lee Shetterly - I feel like everywhere I look right now I see Hidden Figures. I went to the movie last weekend and loved it.  A few months before that, I read the adult version of Hidden Figures and participated in a blog tour (you can read my review here). I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the contributions that African American women made to our space program (I also loved the book Rocket Girls which showcases the accomplishments of white women to the space race as well).

Freedom Over Me by Ashley Bryan - this book has received numerous awards this past week at the ALA Midwinter Conference and for good reason.  Ashley Bryan acquired some documents about slaves that she turned into a book about eleven slaves and their stories. The pictures are beautiful, depicting the pictures of each of the eleven slaves along with a poem about them. Perhaps the most eye-opening, jarring item in the book is the price that accompanies each picture, showing the worth that the white man bestowed upon them.  I can think of so many uses for this book and can't wait to press it into the hands of teachers.

Muhammad Ali: A Champion is Born by Gene Barretta - This biography begins with Cassius Clay as an adult making a name for himself in boxing.  As the book continues, it moves back in time to his childhood sharing how he decided to take up boxing and achieve success.  This title also highlights Ali's goal of becoming a role model for people who were treated unfairly because of the color of their skin.

My Name Is James Madison Hemings by Jonah Winter and Terry Widener - told in the perspective of James Madison Hemings writing as an old man, he shares what it was like growing up as a slave, knowing that his father was Thomas Jefferson, an important man who would not/could not openly claim him as his own child.  Although Jefferson did free James Madison and three of his siblngs, his life was vastly different than that of Jefferson's white children.  I loved this book and the historical note at book's end provides a greater glimpse into this part of history.

Frederick Douglass: The Lion Who Wrote History by Walter Dean Myers - Myers' picture book biography provides a fantastic look at Frederick Douglass and his role in helping African Americans.  He was a great speaker who loved books (which of course is something I find important) and believed that reading was a ticket to freedom. This is a great book with a fair amount of text; my recommendation would be for readers grade 3 and up.

Thanks to HarperCollins Publishers for providing a copy of Frederick Douglass, Muhammad Ali, and Hidden Figures for my review.  All opinions expressed are, as always, my own.

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