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Black History Month

Giants of history and unsung heroes shine in the books listed below.  Read how these African Americans changed America for the better. Take a glimpse into history and learn tolerance through their stories, this month and every month.

How do you celebrate Black History Month? Here are some ideas for starting your celebration:

Celebrate with Music: We can thank our African-American ancestors for introducing America to many forms of wonderful music. Use a tissue box and a paper towel roll to create a toy guitar. Tape a pencil at the bottom of the hole for a bridge, and wrap six rubber bands around the box for strings and VOILA! Instant music!

Jazz Parade: After reading Charlie Parker played Be-Bop, put on some jazz music and let the kids line up and pretend to play jazz instruments like the saxophone as they parade around the room.

Embracing Diversity: From the very start, children should understand that everyone is different and special. Have them draw a picture about how each of them are beautifully unique. Ask them to tell you about their picture.


Amazon Says: This special picture book offers a window into the African American community of Columbia, South Carolina, during the early twentieth century. While the town is specific, the more...
Amazon Says: This special picture book offers a window into the African American community of Columbia, South Carolina, during the early twentieth century. While the town is specific, the themes and photographs are universal--weddings and funerals, teachers and preachers, sassy cars and baseball teams, and, of course, families of all sizes. More than half a century later, Richard Samuel Roberts's photographs and Dinah Johnson's lyrical text come together to illustrate the pride, joy, and strength of a bustling community. less...
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Barack by Jonah Winter
Amazon Says: This is a journey that began in many places. It began in Kansas, home of Barack's mother. It began in Africa, home of Barack's father. It began in Hawaii one moonlit night, th more...
Amazon Says: This is a journey that began in many places. It began in Kansas, home of Barack's mother. It began in Africa, home of Barack's father. It began in Hawaii one moonlit night, the night that Barack was born.Sometimes it was a lonely journey. Sometimes it was an enchanted journey. But throughout this most unusual ride, this boy often wondered: Who am I? Where do I belong? Jonah Winter and AG Ford re-create the extraordinary story behind the rise of the inspirational icon Barack Obama in this stunning picture book. less...
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Black Magic by Dinah Johnson
Amazon Says: Black is a look, a taste, a speed, an emotion. It’s the surprising stripes on a zebra, the taste of dark chocolate, the scary, exciting feeling of going inside a tunnel, and more...
Amazon Says: Black is a look, a taste, a speed, an emotion. It’s the surprising stripes on a zebra, the taste of dark chocolate, the scary, exciting feeling of going inside a tunnel, and a mother’s voice as her daughter falls asleep. In this celebration of the African American spirit, Dinah Johnson and R. Gregory Christie paint a picture of “black” that is vivid, varied, and proud. less...
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Amazon Says: Ever hear of Charlie Parker? The great jazz saxophone player? If you have or if you haven't, it's okay. Look at this board book and you'll hear Charlie Parker; you'll hear mus more...
Amazon Says: Ever hear of Charlie Parker? The great jazz saxophone player? If you have or if you haven't, it's okay. Look at this board book and you'll hear Charlie Parker; you'll hear music in your mind. "Be bop. Fisk, fisk. Lollipop. Boomba, boomba." Look. That's Charlie swinging and spinning all over the pages. And that's Charlie's cat, waiting, waiting for him to come home... less...
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Ellington Was Not a Street by Ntozake Shange
Amazon Says: In a reflective tribute to the African-American community of old, noted poet Ntozake Shange recalls her childhood home and the close-knit group of innovators that often gather more...
Amazon Says: In a reflective tribute to the African-American community of old, noted poet Ntozake Shange recalls her childhood home and the close-knit group of innovators that often gathered there. These men of vision, brought to life in the majestic paintings of artist Kadir Nelson, lived at a time when the color of their skin dictated where they could live, what schools they could attend, and even where they could sit on a bus or in a movie theater. Yet in the face of this tremendous adversity, these dedicated souls and others like them not only demonstrated the importance of Black culture in America, but also helped issue in a movement that "changed the world." Their lives and their works inspire us to this day, and serve as a guide to how we approach the challenges of tomorrow. less...
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Hair Dance! by Dinah Johnson
Amazon Says: Hair comes in all colors, textures, and styles. Whether it is worn long or short, in braids or cornrows, or left natural in an Afro, hair plays a big part in who we are and ho more...
Amazon Says: Hair comes in all colors, textures, and styles. Whether it is worn long or short, in braids or cornrows, or left natural in an Afro, hair plays a big part in who we are and how we feel about ourselves. In this inspiring book, Kelly Johnson’s stunning photographs of girls wearing a range of hairstyles and the lyrical words of Dinah Johnson’s poem celebrate African American hair in all its radiant variety. Hair Dance! is a 2008 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year. less...
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Amazon Says: With bold paintings and a simple, rhyming text, Caldecott Medalists Leo & Diane Dillon bring young readers a rap a tap tap celebration of dance that will have readers clapping more...
Amazon Says: With bold paintings and a simple, rhyming text, Caldecott Medalists Leo & Diane Dillon bring young readers a rap a tap tap celebration of dance that will have readers clapping and tapping along. "There once was a man who danced in the street / He brought pleasure and joy to the people he'd greet / He didn't just dance, he made art with his feet / Rap a tap tap--think of that!" This simple book for young children has the added bonus of describing the life of a ground-breaking African-American tap dancer. Bill "Bojangles" Robinson was one of the most popular entertainers of the 1920s-30s. People said he "talked with his feet," and in the Dillons' graceful paintings of old New York, he dances from page to page to the tune of a toe-tapping rhyme. Rap a tap tap--think of that! less...
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Amazon Says: Known as the Say Hey Kid, Willie Mays started off playing baseball in sandlots but grew up to become a baseball legend. When he joined the NY Giants, black players were still more...
Amazon Says: Known as the Say Hey Kid, Willie Mays started off playing baseball in sandlots but grew up to become a baseball legend. When he joined the NY Giants, black players were still uncommon. But Willie Mays proved that baseball was just as much his sport as anyone's. His famous catches, amazing throwing arm, & record-setting home run average propelled Mays to the top of the league, & then on to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Willie Mays showed the world that when it came to being a great ball player, color didn't matter. This full-color illus. children's book tells his story in delightful verse: Say, what was that they they yelled each time you d make the pitcher pay? Say hey, Willie. Say hey. Includes a concise biography of Willie Mays. less...
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Amazon Says: This is the dramatic and inspiring true story of runner Wilma Rudolph, who overcame childhood polio and eventually went on to win three gold medals in a single Olympics. “A more...
Amazon Says: This is the dramatic and inspiring true story of runner Wilma Rudolph, who overcame childhood polio and eventually went on to win three gold medals in a single Olympics. “A triumphant story, triumphantly relayed.”--Publishers Weekly less...
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