Americans have recognized black history annually since 1926, first as “Negro History Week” and later as “Black History Month.” What you might not know is that black history had barely begun to be studied-or even documented-when the tradition originated. Although blacks have been in America at least as far back as colonial times, it was not until the 20th century that they gained a respectable presence in the history book. And so is Harper Collins with these great books.
In with celebrating this great month there are so many great books, out there to teach children about the culture and more about the history of all the great men and woman in our history books.
Bronzeville Boys and Girls
“Bronzeville Boys and Girls” collects thirty-four short poems about children into a single compendium. Each poem contains the name of a child. This child is either the subject of the poem, or the person delivering it. Brooks is an accomplished poet and there is something about the way her lines scan that feels old and established.
So roughly twenty years before the United States understood the importance of creating children’s literature for people from all walks of life, Gwendolyn Brooks was taking matters into her own hands.
Lonnie and his uncle Bates go on an unforgettable journey back in time to the Harlem Renaissance. Along the way, they meet the famous writers, musicians, artists, and athletes who created this incredible period. And after an exciting day of walking with giants, Lonnie fully understands why the Harlem Renaissance is so important.
Imagine being able to transport back to a time when things were so different, meeting the awesome people of that time and age. While visiting 1930s Harlem, the pair eat breakfast with Jack Johnson, watch a Marcus Garvey parade, and “cut a rug” at the Savoy Ballroom. At the Schomburg Library, they encounter Zora Neale Hurston, Carter G. Woodson, and Lonnie’s hero, Langston Hughes.
My Name Is Truth: The Life of Sojourner Truth
Here is the celebrated story of how former slave Isabella Baumfree transformed herself into the preacher and orator Sojourner Truth, one of the most inspiring and important figures of the abolitionist and women’s rights movements. Written in the fiery and eloquent voice of Sojourner Truth herself, this moving portrait will captivate readers just as Sojourner’s words enthralled her listeners.
Can you imagine what she went through as a slave, and watching her family be sold off also. Truth discussing how her different owners treated her and how she seized freedom for herself when one of them broke his promise to free her. Imagine someone actually owning you, and you doing everything for them and so much more.
Award-winning author Ann Turner and Coretta Scott King Award–winning illustrator James Ransome have created a poignant tribute to this champion of civil rights and equality for all. Brave, determined, and deeply spiritual, Sojourner Truth and her legacy are a continuing source of inspiration for generations to come.
Mahalia Jackson: Walking with Kings and Queens
Mahalia Jackson went down in history as the Queen of Gospel. This picture book biography follow her life starting in childhood. It highlights her struggles, victories and career as a singer over several decades. She never gave up or let other put her down due to the color of her skin. She paved the way for many other people of color to follow in her successful footsteps.
Though the book covers Jackson singing at Martin Luther King Jr’s funeral, it doesn’t focus on the racism she experienced or her involvement with the civil rights movement. Children will be captivated by this poignant, inspiring story. An excellent addition to most collections.—April Sanders, Spring Hill College, Mobile, AL What a privilege she had to sing at the one and only, Martin Luther Kings funeral and all of the hate she had to deal with. Me personally couldn’t deal with that hate, she had too.