Children’s Books for Black History Month

Perhaps one of my favorite things about blogging is getting love from book publishers – occasionally I come home from work to find books in the mail and my kids and I rip open the packages and read ’em and decide which are the best of the bunch.

A few weeks ago, I received several books in honor of Black History Month – the kids and I did some reading and of the bunch, these are our favorites. These books are well written with great art and were extremely informative (actually, so informative that I learned a lot, which I love).

In the Land of Milk and Honey by Joyce Carol Thomas

This book was our favorite. Lyrical prose, gorgeous art. This book is a true story of the author’s trip from Oklahoma to California in the late 40s. A former California girl myself, I have to say I loved seeing my old home, even in illustrations.

At the welcome party
limber-legged dancers
shimmy in and out of each other’s arms
And ever-changing rhythms
call the feet to follow the beat
here in
this Land of Milk and Honey

I was drawn in by the words and Floyd Cooper’s illustrations create a vivid backdrop for this tale. If you close your eyes, you’re almost there on a train making your way through dusty states on a quest to reach a land where lemons grow as big as oranges.

Beautiful story.

I’ve Seen the Promised Land: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Written by Walter Dean Myers, Illustrated by Leonard Jenkins

My public school education not lacking so much that I didn’t know the story of Martin Luther King Jr., but this goes beyond “I Have a Dream” and details the life of MLK before his famous speech. This book is straight-forward and it’s narrative isn’t flowery, pretty or lovely. It’s history and it’s pretty straight up. This might be too “old” for Pumpkin, but The Princess sat and read it cover to cover.

I like the simplicity and matter-of-fact way it’s written.

What I really love though are Leonard Jenkins’s paintings. The illustrations in this book are so compelling and they really bring everything together.

Nelson Mandela
Words and Paintings by Kadir Nelson

Can I just admit something really quickly? History wasn’t my best subject in school. I once cried my way from a B+ to an A- (it worked too. It shouldn’t have but it did), and so it is with embarrassment that I admit that I didn’t really know a whole lot about Nelson Mandela before reading this book.

And so my girls and I learned together while reading this book.

When Nelson Mandela was a child, his father died and he was sent to live with a powerful chief. He  left his mother and his family to live with this chief. He grew on to become a lawyer, defending the poor and powerless.He was ultimately arrested for fighting apartheid, met his wife and had children, while continuing to fight apartheid. He went into hiding to avoid the warrants out for his arrest but ultimately he was captured and spent over 27 years in prison.

This book takes a complicated story and makes it easy to understand and the illustrations are bold, genuine, and straightforward.

So check them out – they’re pretty awesome new additions to our home library. The books were sent to me for review, but as always, the opinions are mine alone (I received a few others, but… they didn’t pass muster and rather than say bad things about books I don’t dig, I’d rather focus on the ones we loved).

Stay tuned because some great Valentines books for kiddos are coming soon. My kids are really happy lately about this whole “mom’s a blogger” thing. Hey, me too.


About sarah

Sarah is a book nerd, a music lover, an endorphin junkie, a coffee addict. Oh, and a goof ball. She writes, she tweets, and she sings off key.

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