Friday, January 15, 2016

Books for Children About the Black Experience

In the past for Martin Luther King Junior Day I have shared my favorite picture books about this incredible man.  This year I thought I would highlight some books for older kids that help them understand the black experience.  I have loved these stories and they bring a comprehension and empathy to the subject that is always appreciated.  These stories are wonderful so share them with your children and help them understand our American history.

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Brown Girl Dreaming (Newbery Honor Book) by Jacqueline Woodson

Written in verse and detailing the author's life as a young black girl in the 70s, this book is a gem.  I found it beautifully written and poignant.   This book is a perfect example of how a story written about a girl of color can deeply touch us to the core.

The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine 

This book was a finalist for the Cybils the year I was a judge for middle grade fiction.  It highlights the long road to integration in Little Rock, Arkansas by profiling the friendship of two girls, one who is white and the other whose skin color is so light that it can pass for white.  A beautifully written book about finding your voice when you see racism.

The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis

Deza Malone is a girl full of spunk and grit that is growing up during the Depression.  It is her character and the strong glue that holds this family together that will draw readers into this story.  Christopher Curtis is a masterful story teller and if you want a book that features a male character please check out his book Bud, Not Buddy.

All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely 

I don't usually include books I have not personally read, but this one is garnering such good talk and it felt like this post was an ideal opportunity to let you know about it.  This books takes on the alternating viewpoints of a black and white teenage boy when the black boy is the subject of police brutality, and it is witnessed by the white boy.  While not historical, it is a timely topic and speaks to the race relations we are facing today.  This book is targeted to a teen a audience.

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