Books for Kids for Black History Month
c.2022, various publishers
$17.99 – $18.99
Various page counts
The people you love are very special to you.
They keep you safe and warm, make sure you aren’t hungry, they teach you fun things to know, and they share stories. So why not ask for these great stories from history….?
If you had a plate full of your favorite thing to eat, would you share it? In “Sweet Justice: Georgia Gilmore and the Montgomery Bus Boycott” by Mara Rockliff, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie (Random House, $18.99), you’ll read about Gilmore, whose resourcefulness in the face of racism helped finance a small part of the Civil Rights Movement.
When Rosa Parks was arrested for a quiet act that launched a movement, Gilmore was working as a cook at a restaurant. She participated in the bus boycott, but she also felt that she could do more – and so she bravely began to collect money, quietly, right in front of the very people who could arrest her, too. For kids ages 5-7, this is a great introduction to this unsung heroine of the Civil Rights Movement.
For children who want to know more individual stories of slavery, “Seeking Freedom: The Untold Story of Fortress Monroe and the Ending of Slavery in America” by Selene Catrovilla, illustated by E.B. Lewis (Calkins Creek Books, $18.99) is a book to find. It’s the true story of a man, an escaped slave, who played a silent but important part in the Civil War, the defeat of the Confederacy, and the end of slavery. Also for kids ages 5-7, this is an exciting tale and a great discussion-starter.
Slightly older children who have been following along with today’s news will enjoy “Evicted! The Struggle for the Right to Vote” by Alice Faye Duncan, art by Charly Palmer (Calkins Creek, $18.99). It’s a story of the early years of Jim Crow, when sharecroppers could kick a family off their farm merely because the adults wished to register to vote. White shopkeepers wouldn’t do business with them anymore, either, leaving them with few options. This book explains what those sharecroppers had to do to cast their ballots. Duncan tells individual tales, placing them inside a larger narrative so that kids ages 7-to-12 will understand why voting is a precious right.
And finally, for the 3-to-5-year who loves a good fable, “Mermaid Kenzie, Protector of the Deeps” by Charlotte Watson Sherman, illustrated by Geneva Bowers (Boyds Mills Press, $17.99). is a book they’ll love. Mermaids are a big part of African folklore, and this cute book tells the story of a young girl who loves to swim and to pretend that she protects everything in the sea. Imagine what happens when she learns that she really can help her underwater friends and the home in which they live…
If your child craves more or different Black history books, or if you’ve got an older child who needs a good book, be sure to ask your favorite librarian or bookseller for help. They’ve got millions of ideas at their fingertips, including these special books.