Authors, Ann Bausum and Michael H. Cottman, Discuss African Americans’ Impact on the U.S. and Beyond
In continued celebration of Black History Month, National Geographic recently released books by authors, Ann Bausum and Michael H. Cottman, who have each devoted their careers to discovery, research, exploration and impact. These authors tell the unvarnished truth about African American history during the slave trade (Cottman’s Shackles From The Deep) and the Civil Rights Movement (Bausum’s The March Against Fear). While Black History Month is coming to a close, these books and the authors’ thoughts, below, remind us that black history is America’s history and celebrated every day.
What inspired you to write The March Against Fear?
Bausum: I’ve spent two decades exploring under told stories from our nation’s past, particularly ones about the quest for social justice. This story called out to be told for those reasons and because it shares essential history about the evolving nature of the civil rights movement during the 1960s. … As for untold stories, they are legion. The Hidden Figures books and film prove that-these stories tend to emerge vicariously, so it’s the job of authors and publishers to spot them and latch on.
24 BOOKS TO TEACH YOUR KIDS ABOUT BLACK HISTORY MONTH
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Steamboat School by Deborah Hopkinson
So your little one is resistant to “educational” books at home? Good news, you can easily interest them in learning some history from this amazing book, based on true events. It’s the story of how a steamboat school was created so that a teacher could continue teaching his students despite a law banning African American education.
Frederick’s Journey: The Life of Frederick Douglass by Doreen Rappaport
Part of the Big Words picture book series, Frederick’s Journey dives deep into the life of Frederick Douglass. Your kids will learn about slavery, the struggle for freedom, and the power of words through this easy read.
Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Doreen Rappaport
Shouldn’t kids know why they get an extra day off of school in January? Use this picture book biography to explain the sacrifices made by Martin Luther King, Jr., and why they are still so important to us today.
Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men Who Changed America by Andrea Pinkney
Want to jump-start your kids’ knowledge of African-American culture? Then this book is an excellent place to begin. Sharing stories of men like Jackie Robinson, Frederick Douglass, and even Barack Obama – you can’t lose with a jam-packed book like this.
Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford
This book is a tribute to Harriet Tubman. It’s important that our children truly grasp how she led people to freedom through the Underground Railroad, and what it took for her to show such bravery.
We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball by Kadir Nelson
The little leaguer in your house will love this story. Written by Kadir Nelson, it explains how the League came to be. It’s incredible tone of voice and oil paintings make it a guaranteed home run for the whole family!
We Shall Overcome: The Story of a Song by Debbie Levy, Illus Vanessa Brantley-Newton
“We Shall Overcome” was the song of the Civil Rights Movement – and now it’s a book! The colorful picture book captures the essence of this important song, while still keeping kids turning the pages to see what happens next.
The Negro Speaks of Rivers by Langston Hughes, Illus. E.B. Lewis
The ever-eloquent Langston Hughes has always been know for his poetry. The poem depicted in this picture book was written when Hughes was only 17! While the words themselves will wow, the pictures are just as breathtaking.
Sojourner Truth’s Step-Stomp Stride by Andrea Davis Pinkney
Introduce your children to the story of Sojourner Truth with this beautiful book. It explains how she escaped slavery, bravely speaking out against what was wrong. You won’t regret adding this story to your shelves. Trust us.
Freedom on the Menu: The Greensboro Sit-Ins by Carole Boston Weatherford
This story features a young girl, Connie, and how the start of the Civil Rights Movement affected her. It takes place with her and her brother witnessing the beginning of the protests – and what it means to them. Not only is this book captivating, but its pages are also beautifully drawn.
The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis
Kids will not only relate to the initial plot line of this story – traveling to Grandma’s house. But they will also get the chance to learn all about Alabama in 1963, and the struggles many African-Americans faced during that time.
Wilma Unlimited: How Wilma Rudolph Became the World’s Fastest Woman by Kathleen Krull
Wilma Rudolph’s inspiring story will blow your kids’ minds. When she was 4, polio paralyzed her left leg and she was told that she would never walk again. This book explains how Wilma refused to give up, going on to win three gold medals in the Olympics.
Let It Shine: Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters by Andrea Davis Pinkney
This book covers many important and historical African-American women – from Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman, to Ella Josephine Baker and Shirley Chisholm. After this read, both you and your kids will be inspired to change the world.
Mister and Lady Day: Billie Holiday and the Dog Who Loved Her by Amy Novesky, Illus Vanessa Brantley-Newton
While many know Billie Holiday for her music, she was also quite the dog lover! Your kids will enjoy learning about Billie’s life and the special relationship she had with her boxer, Mister.
Preaching to the Chickens: The Story of Young John Lewis by Jabari Asim, Illus. E. B. Lewis
This book will teach your kids about Civil Rights leader, John Lewis. As a small boy, he wanted to be a preacher. So it was no surprise that when he was put in charge of his family’s chickens, he turned them into his own congregation!
Local Children’s Book Author Captures Refugees’ Journeys In Poetry, Wins Award
Jorge Argueta’s illustrated book about refugees, Somos como las nubes / We are like the clouds, published in Spanish and English and with illustrations by Alfonso Ruano, has been selected by the Pennsylvania Center for the Book for the 2017 Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award. The award is given every year for poetry for children published by American poets or anthologists.
“In Somos como las nubes /We are Like the Clouds, the reader is pulled into the story visually from the beautiful illustrations, and rhythmically, from the poetic language. The bilingual aspect adds authenticity to the story and connectivity for more children.
On a New York Underground Railroad Tour, Lessons in Resistance by Jacqueline Woodson
There is something else going on. I watch my children beginning to understand the complexity of the city they’ve always known and loved deeply. They are coming to know that the history of their New York speaks to an even deeper history of their country, and to the fact that only a few subway stops away from our Brooklyn home, we can walk the same streets our ancestors walked – freely.
The history of New York’s Underground Railroad – the financial and physical ramifications of enslavement here, the streets we walk on every day and the bodies that built them – is a narrative we all need to know as we move toward this country’s future.
Mirrors and Windows: Finding Diversity at the Color of Children’s Literature Conference
I did feel welcome, for all around me I saw writers of color. I was here for the second annual Color of Children’s Literature Conference, sponsored by Kweli Journal, and as a Latina I have rarely walked into a writing conference feeling like I could recognize myself among other participants, never mind the panelists.
Edwidge Danticat delivers the keynote address in 2016. The energy in the room was palpable, and when Danticat stepped up to the podium to give the keynote, "Does Your Face Light Up?” everyone in the room applauded wildly. She shared her own path as an author, how when an editor from Soho Press called her to tell her that they wanted to publish her novel.
“And often when we read, especially when we’re younger, we are looking for a mirror, echoes of our voices, people who might look and sound like us.” She assured us that our stories matter and that the best time to tell them is now.
One Native American writer I spoke to attended the conference on a scholarship program organized by Joseph Bruchac, author of the YA novel Trail of the Dead (Tu Books, 2015). This writer’s goal for the conference was to meet other Native American authors. “Sherman Alexie is great, but he’s only one. There are over four hundred federally regulated tribes in the United States. We need more people telling our stories and from our point of view.”
Kids Obsessed with HAMILTON? New Book for Young Readers Goes In-Depth on the Founding Father
Thanks to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s blockbuster Broadway musical, Hamilton-mania has taken the nation by storm. And now kids can read the story of one of America’s most influential founders.
This is the story that epitomizes the American dream – a poor immigrant who made good in America. In ALEXANDER HAMILTON: THE MAKING OF AMERICA, written by bestselling author Teri Kanfield, kids will learn how Hamilton rose from poverty through his intelligence and ability, and did more to shape our country than any of his contemporaries.
The New York Times was live. (Facebook): Feb 15
Our Black History Month celebration continues with illustrator Floyd Cooper, whose latest picture book is about Frederick Douglass. Cooper will show us some of his techniques and talk about sharing Douglass’s legacy with a new generation. Comment with your questions and NYT’ children’s books editor Maria Russo will ask some…
‘Monster’ the story of a teen filmmaker caught up in a crime
“Monster,” a justly beloved 1999 courtroom novel about an empathetic, middle-class African-American kid who becomes ensnared in a robbery that results in a murder, is one of Myers’ paintings with words.
The story of 16-year-old Steve Harmon – labeled a monster at trial but actually a complicated young man – “Monster” is the latest show to be part of the Steppenwolf for Young Adults program.
The PEN/Faulkner Podcast is back! Episode 53 – Louise Erdrich
On May 10th, 2016, Erdrich joined PEN/Faulkner at an event co-hosted by the Library of Congress to read from her novel, LaRose.
The ‘Green Book’ to be read at the NACC Friday
Calvin Ramsey’s two-act play, “The Green Book,” will be produced as a stage reading by seven local actors on Friday at the Niagara Arts and Cultural Center.
The play is based on his research of “The Negro Motorist Green Book,” a manual directing blacks to “safe” restaurants, hotel and gas stations. The play he eventually wrote, is based on interviews with scores of elderly African Americans who recalled both joy and fear while traveling, which he sought to recapture in his play. “They’re not sad stories,” Ramsey said, adding “they are very uplifting stories.”
Following the performance, Ramsey will answer questions from the audience pertaining to his work as an author and playwright, his process in writing “The Green Book,” and will discuss some of his other works including a children’s book called “Ruth and The Green Book,” and the documentary he is working on called “The Green Book Chronicles.”
Tulsa Library to Honor Choctaw Writer Tim Tingle
Tim Tingle (Choctaw) will receive the Tulsa Library Trust’s “Festival of Words Writers Award” March 4, 10:30 a.m., at Hardesty Regional Library’s Connor’s Cove, 8316 E. 93rd St. His award presentation will be followed by a book signing and a day of educational American Indian family events.
Report reiterates reading importance
Scholastic just released its Kids & Family Reading Report.
Don’t forget adding books in your home library that showcase diverse story lines and characters. When looking for children’s books to read for fun, both kids (37 percent) and parents (42 percent) mostly agree they “just want a good story” and a similar percentage want books that make kids laugh. One in 10 kids ages 12 to 17 say they specifically look for books that have “culturally or ethnically diverse story lines, settings or characters.”
Some top picture books include “The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet!” by Carmen Agra Deedy.
Since 1953, the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award annually acknowledges books published in the U.S. during the previous year. Books commended by the Award address themes of topics that engage children in thinking about peace, justice, world community and/or equality of the sexes and all races. The books also must meet conventional standards of literacy and artistic excellence.
A national committee chooses winners and honor books for younger and older children.