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Black History Month: Sharing Black Stories

Wed, 02/24/2021 - 2:44pm by copelands

Black History Month is celebrated every February as a chance to remember and celebrate the many contributions of African-Americans to society. While this month has been designated, Black history and culture should be recognized in every month. From honoring Black history to celebrating Black culture and identity, we’ll feature a few reviews this month that celebrate and uplift the Black community. Below are a few recommendations for youth picture books.

I Promise by LeBron James, illustrated by Nina Mata

I PromiseNBA Champion LeBron James has accomplished a lot in his career. He’s a four-time NBA champion and four-time NBA MVP. Despite all of this success, the most important part of his legacy has been off the court. LeBron opened his I Promise school in Akron, Ohio in 2018 that especially aims to teach at risk children. Inspired by the kids from his school, the book I Promise tells a story of action and responsibility in a way that kids will take to heart. Children from different backgrounds are wonderfully shown in harmony with lessons in the text meant to inspire self reflection, accountability, and unity. Nina Mata provides vibrant, colorful illustrations to the text. With simple but powerful words, kids from everywhere will enjoy this book filled with encouragement and fun. I really enjoyed this book and found it especially helpful in the times we’re facing today.

Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry, illustrated by Vashti Harrison

Hair LoveHair has always been an important part of the African-American community. Over time, many of us have developed a relationship with our hair and the styling of it. However, many African-Americans have been shamed for their natural hairstyles and textures. Hair Love is a picture book that celebrates the wonderfully complicated texture of Black hair and the special bond between father and daughter. Zuri is a young, energetic girl who has a special day approaching. Her father Stephen is used to his wife and Zuri’s mother doing her hair. But when Zuri’s mom isn’t available to style it, Stephen must come to the rescue. Hair Love is a beautiful book full of cultural pride that challenges the stereotypes of race and gender; exactly what the author intended for it to be. It’s sure to be a favorite of families who read it.

The Roots of Rap: 16 Bars on the 4 Pillars of Hip-Hop by Carol Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Frank Morrison

The Roots of RapBeatboxing, street performers, block parties, and more: these are scenes from where hip-hop was born. Hip-hop and rap aren’t always showcased in children’s books, but in The Roots of Rap, Weatherford gives a great history lesson on where the genre started. As an avid hip-hop fan who loves the culture, this book was awesome to read. Also, check out R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Aretha Franklin, The Queen of Soul by Weatherford for a biography on Aretha Franklin.

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