Children’s Books About Black History, Heavy on Biographies
Among that genre’s newest arrivals are names familiar to adults, as in THE UNITED STATES V. JACKIE ROBINSON (HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, ages 4 to 8), written by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen. This picture book is more interested in young Robinson’s less-known act of resistance during his Army days than in his later, trailblazing career as a baseball player. It’s nice to have an athlete celebrated for personal integrity over physical prowess, and R. Gregory Christie’s pictures bolster this, evoking a Robinson who is strong and sure, but also smiling, warm, and ultimately, triumphant.
Sandra Neil Wallace’s BETWEEN THE LINES: How Ernie Barnes Went From the Football Field to the Art Gallery (Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman, ages 4 to 8), illustrated by Bryan Collier, is a beautiful testament to a quintessentially American life. Wallace and Collier celebrate both Barnes’s success on the gridiron and his subsequent reinvention as an artist. As in “The United States v. Jackie Robinson,” athleticism is a secondary concern; early on, we see the young Barnes in a museum, wondering where the black painters are, and the story ends with contemporary young museumgoers being shown Barnes’s art. This choice makes the story so satisfying, and just what you want at bedtime.
MARTIN RISING: Requiem for a King (Scholastic, ages 9 to 12) is a collaboration by two of children’s literature’s most well-known names, Andrea Davis Pinkney and Brian Pinkney (who happen to be married). It’s a work of verse, with some prose end matter to help elucidate the poems, and it will reward a reader sophisticated enough to grapple with language and metaphor. Andrea Davis Pinkney frames her poem cycle about the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s last months with the figure of Henny Penny, the bird who either worried or prophesied, and she makes King’s death feel as significant as the falling of the sky above. It is, of course, a terrible and sad story, but one in which Brian Pinkney’s illustrations manage to find beauty.
Coretta Scott King Left Behind An Unshakeable Legacy That Every American Should Celebrate
by Andrea Davis Pinkey
On today’s anniversary of Coretta Scott King’s passing, bestselling author Andrea Davis Pinkney pays tribute to the wife of Martin Luther King, Jr., known as the “First Lady of the Civil Rights Movement.” Coretta’s role as a social justice influencer is chronicled in Pinkney’s new book, Martin Rising.
Allen County Public Library’s Pontiac branch opens Black History Month events by remembering the Greensboro Four sit-in
At the Pontiac branch library, 2215 S. Hanna St., visitors could sit from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at stools set up along a bookcase to simulate sitting at the Woolworth’s lunch counter. While seated, they could watch a brief documentary on the Greensboro sit-in and and learn more about the event.
An information board also contained historical information and photos about the Greensboro Four and their sit-in.
The event was organized by Pontiac branch Assistant Manager Benita Browning, who said she was inspired to do it after reading a children’s book about the event, “Sit-in: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down,” by Andrea Davis Pinkney.
Black History Month events for 2018
Feb. 24 Free Library of Philadelphia, Philadelphia City Institute Branch
– Based on the book by Christopher Paul Curtis, “The Watsons Go to Birmingham” is the film adaptation of the story of an African-American family’s road trip from Flint, Michigan to Birmingham, Alabama in 1963 – and the tragic events that take place. For children ages 12 and under and their families.
– “The Art of Jean-Michel Basquiat: Share Your Creativity” invites visitors to enjoy a reading of “Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat” by Javaka Steptoe and “Life Doesn’t Frighten” Me by Maya Angelou, illustrated by Jean-Michel Basquiat. Inspired participants can add their creations to the Young Artists’ Wall. For ages 12 and under. Feb. 28.
KMS kicks off Black History Month
Black History Month was off to an inspiring start Wednesday at Kennett Middle School as Library Media Specialist Kim Johnson read the heroic story of Henry “Box” Brown to students during an afternoon assembly.
The highlight of the assembly was Johnson’s reading of the acclaimed children’s picture book “Henry’s Freedom Box” written by Ellen Levine and illustrated by Kadir Nelson.
Johnson actually had a box built to the same dimensions as the one traveled in by Brown next to her during the entire reading and at the conclusion KMS student Jamarkas Marsh opened the lid and exited the box.
He had been inside the whole time to illustrate the journey of Henry “Box” Brown and the discomfort he experienced.
The event made quite an impact on the students and they were able to step inside the box as well, if they wished to identify with the amazing heroic journey of Brown.
Three books that rock Black History
Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U. S. Marshal by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, R. Gregory Christie (Illustrator)
This children’s book tells the story of Lone Ranger inspiration Bass Reeves, who was born in slavery and captured 3000 felons in his career-including his own son-in eye-catching color.
‘It takes a community to raise a library’
Acclaimed Simcoe author Deborah Ellis, best known for The Breadwinner that has been published in 25 languages and has raised more than $1 million for the Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan and Street Kids International, was guest speaker at the library opening.
She talked about the importance of libraries in the wake of Nazi book burnings and Afghanistan’s war on books.
“Libraries are places that respect people who came before us, and our words could be read by people thousands of years from now.”
Sneak Peak at ‘Green Book’ Film-in-Progress
The Freedom Center hosts the creator of an upcoming documentary, and shows a segment of it, about the “Green Book” tourist guides that helped African-Americans travel the country and find accommodations during the heyday of segregation
New York-based playwright and author Calvin Alexander Ramsey, together with Becky Wible Searles – an animation professor at Savannah College of Art and Design – are hoping to recognize the historic importance of the Green Book series. They are working on The Green Book Chronicles, an hour-long film combining animation and interviews with people who had connections with Green and/or the travel guides. They are hoping for completion this year, and a 12-minute edit will preview 6:30 p.m. Thursday at downtown’s National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (50 E. Freedom Way), with Ramsey present to discuss the project and its history. The event is free; reservations are available through freedomcenter.org.
Books in Brief: The Journey of Little Charlie by Christopher Paul Curtis
The Journey of Little Charlie by Christopher Paul Curtis; Scholastic, Ages 9 to 13.
The latest marvelous novel of the African-American experience from acclaimed author Christopher Paul Curtis (winner of Newbery Honors for “The Watsons go to Birmingham – 1963” and the Newbery Medal for “Bud, Not Buddy”) takes place just before the Civil War when the Fugitive Slave Act allowed slave catchers to travel anywhere in the country in pursuit of their prey.
Louise Erdrich: Tribal writer, Catholic writer
Louise Erdrich writes from one of those liminal places between identities that authorities tell us aren’t supposed to exist.
If Erdrich succeeds in blending and overlapping these influences, it’s not because they go nicely together… but because she’s truthful about the unique position in which her characters are located, poised between these two experiences. To those who would say you can’t be both, her answer is: But there they are, being both.
‘Girl Rising’ author shares work to improve lives of girls
Award-winning author and Champlain College faculty member Tanya Lee Stone visits Bristol on Feb.7 to discuss and answer questions about her latest book, “Girl Rising: Changing the World One Girl at a Time,” which examines global barriers to girls’ education.
For her book, Stone gathered new research to illuminate the facts behind the film, focusing both on the girls captured on camera and many others. She examines barriers to education in depth-early child marriage and childbearing, slavery, sexual trafficking, gender discrimination, and poverty-and shows how removing these barriers means not only a better life for girls, but safer, healthier, and more prosperous communities.
This is Stone’s 100th published book, many of which are written for children, middle schoolers and young adults.
Girl Rising, a global campaign for girls’ education, was initiated by a team of journalists “to change the way the world values girls and to ensure girls everywhere can be full and equal participants in society.” In 2013, Girl Rising created a film which chronicled the stories of nine girls in the developing world, allowing viewers the opportunity to witness how education can break the cycle of poverty and to celebrate these girls’ resilience against all odds.
Noted activist and artist Faith Ringgold to be honored as Chubb Fellow
Ringgold will give the Chubb Fellowship Lecture titled “Anyone Can Fly” [on Thursday, Feb. 15] at 4:30 p.m. in the Robert L. McNeil Jr. Lecture Hall, Yale University Art Gallery, 1111 Chapel St. Seating is limited; doors will open at 3:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. It will be livestreamed on Yale’s YouTube channel.
Nonfiction Is the Focus of New Scholastic Imprint
Scholastic has announced the fall launch of Scholastic Focus, an imprint dedicated to middle grade and young adult narrative nonfiction that is both timely and timeless, and encourages readers to draw connections between historical events and contemporary issues. The imprint’s publishing philosophy underscores the relevance of values that have long guided humanity; the profound effects of invention, inspiration, and revolution; and the importance of introducing a diversity of perspectives and identities.
Due in September is Deborah Hopkinson’s D-Day: The World War II Invasion That Changed History, a middle-grade book that weaves together official documents, personal accounts, and archival photos to chronicle this pivotal invasion of Allied troops into German-occupied Europe.
2018 Children’s and Teen Choice Book Awards Finalists Announced
The Third to Fourth Grade finalists [include] Frederick Douglass: The Lion Who Wrote History by Walter Dean Myers, illus. by Floyd Cooper (HarperCollins); [and more.]
10 Inspiring Children’s Books for Budding Little Artists
“Henri’s Scissors” written and illustrated by Jeanette Winter.
Based on the life of Henri Matisse, the Henri’s Scissors picture book tells the story of the great artist’s life. From childhood, to his illness, and his journey to creating his colorful paper cutouts, the inspiring book by Jeanette Winter includes famous quotes from the artist, and insights into his creative process.
The Jane Addams Children’s Book Award annually recognizes children’s books of literary and aesthetic excellence that effectively engage children in thinking about peace, social justice, global community, and equity for all people.