BOOK BRIEFS: African American Children’s Literature

Have you heard about the courage of Fannie Lou Hamer? How about Harlem songbird Florence Mills? From activists and entertainers to courageous youngsters and track stars, you’ll find stories that inspire. Celebrate Black History Month by exploring these titles (and accompanying resources) from renowned African-American writers, artists, and activists.  For more titles, check out Black Children’s Books and Authors (BCBA). 

Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: The Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement (2015) by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Ekua Holmes.  This multiple award winning book celebrates the life of one of the leaders in the civil rights movement.  Fannie Lou Hamer’s life is an inspiring story of courage and perseverance told with lyrical language and vibrant illustrations.  CHECK IT OUT at the C & I Library!  

Harlem’s Little Blackbird: The Story of Florence Mills (2014) by Renee Watson, illustrated by Christian Robinson. Learn about Broadway singer Florence Mills. Despite prejudice, this child of former slaves rose to stardom with her stunning voice, fighting for equality and justice along the way.  Watson’s words and Robinson’s illustrations are a stunning tribute. CHECK IT OUT at the C & I Library!

Booked (2016) by Kwame Alexander. After his stunning, Newbery-winning novel The Crossover, Alexander follows up with a powerful novel-in-verse that tackles sports, bullying , love, divorce, friendship, and family. CHECK IT OUT at the C & I Library!

Brown Girl Dreaming (2014) by Jacqueline Woodson. This award-winning novel-in-verse tells the author’s story of growing up in the segregated south. This is a beutifully told coming-of-age story built on family, courage, and hope. CHECK IT OUT at the C & I Library!

Piecing Me Together (2017) by Renee Watson. Jade is a scholarship student and one of the few African-Americans at an elite high school. In this realistic and inspiring story, Watson deftly challenges stereotypes and racism with words, art, and Jade’s indomitable spirit.

Ghost (2016) by Jason Reynolds.  With his dad in jail,  Castle Crenshaw, or Ghost, must navigate the rough waters of his youth. The track becomes the support this talented young runner needs.

March, Book One (2013) by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell. The first in this graphic novel trilogy tells Congressman Lewis’ story as a young activist during the Civil Rights Movement. Lewis inspires with his story and Powell’s vivid details make history come alive. CHECK IT OUT at the C & I Library!

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