Pat Cummings’ Trace

TraceA series of interrelated events assemble to create a haunting tale of intergenerational salvation in Pat Cummings’ debut middle-grade novel Trace. The title character loses his loving parents in a car crash that he miraculously survives and mistakenly blames himself for causing.

Trace moves to Brooklyn to live with his aunt, Lea, an artsy and kind woman who doesn’t have much experience with children but makes up for it with compassion. Continue reading

Barry Wittenstein’s A Place to Land: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Speech That Inspired a Nation

A Place to Land: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Speech That Inspired a NationWritten by Barry Wittenstein and illustrated by Jerry Pinkney, A Place to Land: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Speech That Inspired a Nation, provides a creative take on the nurturing team of Black intellectuals and activists King surrounded himself with as he worked to make meaningful social and economic change. The important picture book offers an inventive behind-the-scenes look at King before, during, and after his famous “I Have a Dream” speech at the March on Washington on August 28, 1963. Continue reading

Anika Aldamuy Denise’s Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Story Teller Pura Belpré (2019)

Written by Anika Aldamuy Denise and illustrated by Paola Escobar, Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Story Teller Pura Belpré (2019), is an exceptional biography of New York City’s first Puerto Rican librarian. In addition to accessibly and inventively capturing Pura’s story, the book provides a window into US history. It is also a timely tale of Arts-based activism that speaks to ongoing struggles to secure equal access to cultural representation. Continue reading

Monica Clark-Robinson’s Let the Children March

Let the Children MarchLet the Children March, written by Monica Clark-Robinson and illustrated by Frank Morrison, is a brilliant and bold children’s picture book that brings the Birmingham Children’s Crusade of 1963 to life for young readers.

In the South, Jim Crow laws enforced segregation, which led to unequal access to education, employment, health care, and housing. Leaders in the Black Civil Rights movement came up with many strategies to end segregation. Continue reading

Deborah Hopkinson’s Carter Reads the Newspaper

Carter Reads the Newspaper

Deborah Hopkinson makes history accessible to young readers through remarkably engaging and accessible children’s picture books. Her recent publication, Carter Reads the Newspaper, is no exception. Although I was planning on sticking to #ownvoices books throughout Black History Month, Hopkinson’s book is a wonderful description of Carter G. Woodson’s life and a moving description of the founding of Black History Month, so it seemed only fitting to include it. Continue reading