I will be the first to admit, that I do not like Black History Month. Now, before you start screaming, at my comment, please read what I have to say. Black History Month, in my opinion, should NOT be subjected to only one month, especially the shortest month on the calendar. Each year in the month of February, I cringe at the thought, here we go again. For some ridiculous reason, all schools have adopted this idea. Think about it for a second, Black History Month is released from the volt for the month of February, only to be returned to that same volt at the end of the month and hidden away for the next 11 months as if it’s some kind of top secret. The crazy thing about all of this is there are many Islands in the Caribbean who are starting to adopt this same concept. So, my question is, “what were they teaching the students in the public schools about black history in the first place. Makes you wonder?”
Please don’t misunderstand me. I am fully aware as to the reason as to why Black history month came about in the first place in 1926 by Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, it started out as a weekly event and at that time, that was a good thing. “But don’t you think by now we should be further along? “we as a community should be making a stand and saying enough is enough. As far as ‘I see it every day is black history month.
African history is everyone’s history, and in my opinion, until enough people start saying and doing something about this, we will not see a change. Sometimes we must make the change ourselves instead of waiting for another community to make the change for us. And I am sure many of you can all relate to that.
Now, with all that said I would like to take this time to present to you 5 wonderful books to teach your children about the incredible accomplishments of Black men and women of African descent from around the world. Here’s a collection of non-fiction and historical fiction books to help children learn about a beautiful legacy that will hopefully inspire them to move forward with a positive mindset.
Nelson Mandela by Kadir Nelson by Kadir Nelson
In this picture book biography, award-winning author and illustrator Kadir Nelson tells the story of Mandela, a global icon, in poignant free verse and glorious illustrations. It is the story of a young boy’s determination to change South Africa, and of the struggles of a man who eventually became the president of his country by believing in equality for all people, no matter the color of their skin. Readers will be inspired by Mandela’s triumph and his lifelong quest to create a more just world.
Mama Miti by Donna Jo Napoli & Kadir Nelson
Through artful prose and beautiful illustrations, Donna Jo Napoli and Kadir Nelson tell the true story of Wangari Muta Maathai, known as “Mama Miti,” who in 1977 founded the Green Belt Movement, an African grassroots organization that has empowered many people to mobilize and combat deforestation, soil erosion, and environmental degradation. Today more than 30 million trees have been planted throughout Mama Miti’s native Kenya, and in 2004 she became the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Wangari Muta Maathai has changed Kenya tree by tree—and with each page turned, children will realize their own ability to positively impact the future.
The Skin that I am In by Sharon G Flake
Firebird by Misty Copeland, illustrated by Christopher Myers
In her debut picture book, Misty Copeland tells the story of a young girl–every girl–whose confidence is fragile and who is questioning her own ability to reach the heights that Misty has reached. Misty encourages this young girl’s faith in herself and shows her exactly how, through hard work and dedication, she too can become Firebird.
Hidden Figures Young Reader’s Edition by Margot Lee Shetterly
Before John Glenn orbited the earth, or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as “human computers” used pencils, slide rules, and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space. This book brings to life the stories of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden, four African-American women who lived through the civil rights era, the Space Race, the Cold War, and the movement for gender equality, and whose work forever changed the face of NASA and the country.