Saturday, April 26, 2008

Children's Books Featuring African Americans

Five excellent children's books that feature African Americans...(I help a friend choose children's books for her high school students who must read "kiddie" lit as part of their childcare classes. We like to have a broad range of materials from the classics like Mother Goose, to very recent ones that cover current issues, ones that address historical events and also that feature children of every race, religion and living situation. I love being able to assist because it gives me so many ideas of books to buy for my niece and nephews.

1. A Sweet Smell of Roses Angela Johnson This book shows children who participated in the Civil Rights Movement -- B&W illustrations with only a few splashes of red including the roses mentioned in the title. Publisher said about ages 4-8...

2 .Bessie Smith and the Night Riders Sue Stauffacher (true story of singer Bessie Smith taking on the Ku Klux Klan who try to disrupt her performance ...) Wonderful illustrations and the story is told by a young narrator who has gone to see Bessie's show without permission.

3. Visiting Langston by Willie Perdomo. Beautifully illustrated story about a young girl and her father going to the Harlem home of famous poet Langston Hughes. A book for all ages. I bought this one for my personal collection। It is a great gift for children or adults.

4. Happy Feet:The Savoy Ballroom Lindy Hoppers & Me Richard Michelson A father tells his young son all about the night he was born which just happens to be the night the Savoy ballroom opened it's doors in Harlem। The illustrations are gorgeous and it's almost a lullaby to a time long gone...

5. He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands Kadir Nelson Who doesn't adore this song? These illustrations will make you and your child smile. I bought this one for my nephew because it is so uplifting to read together - perhaps even sing.