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

Alice Faye Duncan’s Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop: The Sanitation Strike of 1968

Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop: The Sanitation Strike of 1968

Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop: The Sanitation Strike of 1968, written by Alice Faye Duncan and illustrated by R. Gregory Christie, is not the story of a single man – it is the story of a collective struggle. Duncan makes this struggle real and accessible to even the youngest of readers by unapologetically representing racism and the abuses of power that are a central logic and practice of capitalism. Christie’s atmospheric illustrations envelope each of Duncan’s interconnected vignettes helping express the shifting tone of the emotionally challenging story that puts American history on display in all its complexity. Continue reading

Rob Sanders’ Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag

Written by Rob Sanders and illustrated by Steven Salerno, Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag (2018), is an invaluable contribution to children’s literature that should be in every school and public library. Although the story focuses on Harvey Milk, a historically significant figure all children should learn about, it does so by positioning him within a vibrant community. As a result, the brightly illustrated picture book gives young readers a strong sense of the importance of community belonging and community building, while also paying homage to a courageous figure in US history.

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