Martin Luther King Day, Black History Month, and Reading
by Suzanne Morgan Williams
It’s Martin Luther King Day and I’m writing this blog, trying to get it done before I’m called to jury duty tomorrow. Somehow it's fitting, that on a day that celebrates a man who stood up for and ultimately gave his life to change our institutions for the better, that I’m preparing to participate in a very small and basic way. So I have to get things off of my to do list. That means a bit of stream of consciousness –
So then, I’m thinking it’s not just Martin Luther King Day but Black History Month. And although I tell teachers, plead with them actually, not to use Black History Month and Asian American Month etc. etc. as the only time to feature books about diverse children, I certainly want them, and you, to remember them at this time. So here are some of my historical favorites with African American subjects:
Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson (MG/YA historical novel – National Book Award Finalist, Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction)
Bud Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis (MG historical winner of Newbery Medal)
Mare’s War by Tanita S. Davis (YA historical novel)
Because They Marched, the People's Campaign for Voting Rights that Changed America, by Russell Freeman, (nonfiction, middle grade),
Circle Unbroken by Margo Theis Raven, Illustrated by E.B. Lewis (nonfiction historical picture book)
Moses; When Harriet Tubman Led Her People by Carol Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Kadir Nelson. (Nonfiction biography picture book – Coretta Scott King Award, Caldecott Honor)
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (tween/YA verse memoir; winner of National Book Award, Newbery Honor, Coretta Scott King Award)
Since this list is by no means inclusive, here are some online resources for books by and about people of color.
The Brown Bookshelf, 28 Days Later (2014) https://thebrownbookshelf.com/28-days-later-2014/
We Need Diverse Books, Where to Find Diverse Books. http://weneeddiversebooks.org/where-to-find-diverse-books/
Happy reading. And when you find a great book, share it!