Black History Month, Civil Rights

The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander

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Back of Book:
this poem is a love letter to black life in the United States. It highlights the unspeakable trauma of slavery, the faith, and fire of the civil rights movement, and the grit, passion, and perseverance of some of the world’s greatest heroes.
My Review:
I received a copy of this picture book from Versify publishing in exchange for an honest review.
This is a serious and dynamic picture book that is a true ode to the struggles and triumphs of the African American people. The poetry is written with a deep and haunting style that readers will remember long after reading it. The illustrations by Kadir Nelson are sobering and inspiring. I loved the group of men and women that are featured within the pages. It shows readers many different heroes that made s stand for what they believed in.
This is the type of book that can open up conversations about so many important topics. It is the type of book that is rare and needs to be treasured and shared.
The back of the book has a note from the author as well as a list of the historical events and people that are featured in the book. This needs to be in every elementary and classroom library across the country.
Ages 6 and up
40 Pages

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Biography, Black History Month, Civil Rights

Carter Reads the Newspaper By Deborah Hopkinson

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Carter G. Woodson didn’t just read history. He changed it.” As the father of Black History Month, he spent his life introducing others to the history of his people.
Carter G. Woodson was born to two formerly enslaved people ten years after the end of the Civil War. Though his father could not read, he believed in being an informed citizen. So Carter read the newspaper to him every day. When he was still a teenager, Carter went to work in the coal mines. There he met a man named Oliver Jones, and Oliver did something important: he asked Carter not only to read to him and the other miners, but also research and find more information on the subjects that interested them. “My interest in penetrating the past of my people was deepened,” Carter wrote. His journey would take him many more years, traveling around the world and transforming the way people thought about history.
My Review:
I was so excited to read a story about the man who created Black History Month. I am sad to say that before reading this story I had never heard of Carter Woodson. This biography tells the story from Cater’s childhood to adulthood. I love that Deborah weaved so many other prominent figures within the pages. The illustrations by Don Tate are vivid and exquisitely portray the life of Carter Woodson. The back of the book has notes from the author and illustrator, as well as a timeline of Woodson’s life. A perfect story to share with children to introduce Black History Month.
Ages 5 and up
36 Pages

Biography, Black History Month, Civil Rights

Pies from Nowhere: How Georgia Gilmore Sustained the Montgomery Bus Boycott by Dee Romito

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Back of Book:
Georgia Gilmore was a cook at the National Lunch Company in Montgomery, Alabama. When the bus boycotts broke out in Montgomery after Rosa Parks was arrested, Georgia knew just what to do. She organized a group of women who cooked and baked to fund-raise for gas and cars to help sustain the boycott. Called the Club from Nowhere, Georgia was the only person who knew who baked and bought the food, and she said the money came from “nowhere” to anyone who asked. When Martin Luther King Jr. was arrested for his role in the boycott, Georgia testified on his behalf, and her home became a meeting place for civil rights leaders.
My Review:
I was amazed that I had never heard about Georgia Gilmore. Like many people, I am very familiar with Rosa Parks but never heard about the movement behind this bus boycott. Pies from Nowhere tells readers about the determination and strength of the people that were behind the scenes in history. Georgia Gilmore used what she was good at to raise money for the boycott. The text is engaging and puts readers in the story. The illustrations are detailed and rich in color. The back of the book has authors note that shares more about Georgia and her secret work. The book also has a recipe for her delicious pound cake. This is a must read for any Civil Rights unit or National Women’s Month unit. A stunning look at one of America’s unsung heroes.
Ages 6 and up
40 Pages

Biography, Black History Month, Civil Rights, Uncategorized

Brave Ballerina: The Story of Janet Collins By Michelle Meadows

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Back of Book:
Janet Collins wanted to be a ballerina in the 1930s and 40s, a time when racial segregation was widespread in the United States. Janet pursued dance with a passion, despite being rejected from discriminatory dance schools. When she was accepted into the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo as a teenager on the condition that she paint her skin white for performances, Janet refused. She continued to go after her dreams, never compromising her values along the way. From her early childhood lessons to the height of her success as the first African American prima ballerina in the Metropolitan Opera, this is the story of a remarkable pioneer.
My Review:
I received a copy of this book from author Michelle Meadows in exchange for an honest review.
I love this beautiful biography that tells readers of the perseverance that Janet Collins had. Readers are drawn into the life of Janet from her childhood to her success on stage. The story follows Janet as she struggles through prejudice, and expectations to rise up and become the first African American ballerina. The lyrical text is whimsical and draws readers into the magic of the ballet. The illustrations by Ebony Glenn are nothing short of stunning. Each page captures the different movements of the dancers in perfect light and detail. Brave Ballerina will inspire everyone who readers it to fight for what they believe in. A must-have for all classroom libraries.
Ages 5 and up
32 Pages

Civil Rights

The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a Young Civil Rights Activist by Cynthia Levinson

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Back of Book:

 

Meet the youngest known child to be arrested for a civil rights protest in Birmingham, Alabama, 1963, in this moving picture book that proves you’re never too little to make a difference.

Nine-year-old Audrey Faye Hendricks intended to go places and do things like anybody else.

So when she heard grown-ups talk about wiping out Birmingham’s segregation laws, she spoke up. As she listened to the preacher’s words, smooth as glass, she sat up tall. And when she heard the plan—picket those white stores! March to protest those unfair laws! Fill the jails!—she stepped right up and said, I’ll do it! She was going to j-a-a-il!

Audrey Faye Hendricks was confident and bold and brave as can be, and hers is the remarkable and inspiring story of one child’s role in the Civil Rights Movement.

 

My Review:

 

This is a perfect read aloud story for elementary school. Audrey was only nine years old when she decided to make history! My students loved that a little girl could make such an impact to so many people. This is a perfect tool to use with younger audiences when teaching about the Civil Rights Movement. The back of the book has a beautiful author note, and timeline information. It also has the recipe for Hot Rolls Baptized in Butter.  I love that the author of this book talked to Audrey Faye before she died. It makes this nonfiction picture book even more special! The illustrations are incredible and perfectly capture Audrey Faye’s journey. One of my favorite picture books about the Civil Rights Movement.

 

Ages 5 and up

 

40 Pages

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Civil Rights

Let the Children March By Monica Clark-Robinson

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Back of Book: In 1963 Birmingham, Alabama, thousands of African American children volunteered to march for their civil rights after hearing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speak. They protested the laws that kept black people separate from white people. Facing fear, hate, and danger, these children used their voices to change the world.
My Review:
This is an incredibly moving picture book about the children who marched in Birmingham Alabama. The text in this story is gripping and always readers to be a part of a difficult time in history. When the adults cannot march the children do. The text is written in a first-person narrative and follows a young girl and her brother as they face water, dogs, and jail. The illustrations are stunning and emotional! This is perfect book to read to start discussions about Civil Rights.  The back of the book has a great afterword and note from the illustrator. A must read for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Civil Rights

Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King Jr By Jean Marzollo

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Back of Book:
This book is a beautifully-rendered study of Martin Luther King Jr.’s life, Pinkney’s scratchboard and oil pastel illustrations convey both the strength and gentleness of King’s character. Both text and art carry his central message of peace and brotherhood among all people.
My Review:
I am teaching preschool this year so I am always looking for picture books that I can use to teach concepts in a simple way. The forward in this book explains to parents and educators how words can be changed for younger audiences. The text is simple and straightforward. The lustrations are truly stunning and shows readers the beauty of how Martin King brought people together.
Ages 5 and up
32 Pages

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Civil Rights

The Cart That Carried Martin by Eve Bunting

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Back of Book:
The strength and spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. permeate this picture book about the funeral of Dr. King in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1968. Quiet, yet affecting, THE CART THAT CARRIED MARTIN is a unique tribute to the life of a man known world-wide for his outstanding efforts as a leader of the African-American Civil Rights Movement.
My Review:
Eve Bunting is a gifted author with the ability to bring a reader into whatever world she is writing about. She beautifully crafted this simple story that tells readers about the cart that carried Martin King’s body to be buried. The text is simple but tells the important true story of how Martin King was buried. Don Tate is an incredibly talented illustrator. He brings each picture to life. This is a great book to share in the classroom during MLK Day.
Ages 6 and up
32 Pages

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Civil Rights

My First Biography: Martin Luther King, Jr. by Marion Dane Bauer

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Back of Book:
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a great man. His words changed the way people thought, and his actions spurred them on to change the world
My Review:
This book is an excellent introduction to Martin Luther King Jr. for preschool and Kindergarten aged readers. It  discusses segregation using simple lyrical text that readers can understand. The illustrations  shows readers that white people and black people used to not be able to play at the same parks or go to the same schools. The illustrations are soft and warm. This book makes for an excellent read aloud in the classroom or at home.
Ages 4 and up
32 Pages

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Civil Rights, Uncategorized

I am Martin Luther King, Jr. by Brad Meltzer

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Back of Book:
Even as a child, Martin Luther King, Jr. was shocked by the terrible and unfair way African-American people were treated. When he grew up, he decided to do something about it—peacefully, with powerful words. He helped gather people together for nonviolent protests and marches, and he always spoke up about loving other human beings and doing what’s right. He spoke about the dream of a kinder, future, and bravely led the way toward racial equality in America.
My Review:
I love the talented team of Brad and Christopher. They do a terrific job of bringing history to life. Their books are unique in that they are set up like comic strips. This concept allows students who do not normally pick up books enjoy a biography. The text is written in a first-person narrative which allows readers to connect to the story. The back of the story has a timeline and pictures of Dr. King and his family.
Ages 5 and up
40 Pages

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