Black History Month, 2012

Add these 12 excellent titles to last year’s post, not just for February, but anytime.


Words Set Me Free: The Story of Young Frederick Douglass.  Lesa Cline-Ransome.  Simon & Schuster, 2012.
A handsome, powerful and inspiring account of the early life of Frederick (Bailey)Douglass and how learning to read was the key to his freedom.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud 3rd-6th grade


Belle, the Last Mule at Gee’s Bend.  Calvin Alexander Ramsey & Bettye Stroud.  Candlewick, 2011.
A powerful true story from the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement.  While waiting for his mother, Alex learns the story of Belle from an old woman.  Dr. King had visited Gee’s Bend and inspired the residents to exercise their right to vote.  The local authorities closed the ferry, so the town’s mules help transport people to vote.  The townsfolk had to overcome other obstacles to get the mules to Atlanta to pull Dr. King’s casket.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud 3rd-6th grade

Busing Brewster.  Richard Michelson.  Knopf, 2010.
Taking place in Boston, 1974, Brewster are his brother are bussed to the white school across town.  They spend the first day in detention in the library.  The librarian is welcoming, friendly and encouraging.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud 1st-3rd grade


Climbing Lincoln’s Steps : The African American Journey.  Suzanne Slade.  Albert Whitman, 2010.
This well-crafted book describes significant events in the Civil Rights Movement that have taken place at the Lincoln Memorial.  “Change.  It happens slowly.  One small step at a time” is the refrain throughout.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud 2nd-5th grade

Freedom Summer.  Deborah Wiles.  Atheneum, 2001.
This story is set in Mississippi the summer of 1964 when the Civil Rights Act took affect.  A white boy is pleased that his best friend can share the town swimming pool and other public places with him.  They soon find that change will no come easy.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud 2nd-5th grade

The Great Migration : Journey to the North.  Eloise Greenfield.  Amistad, 2011.
“Between 1915 and 1930, more than a million African Americans left their homes in the South,…and moved to the North.” begins the introduction to this wonderful collection of poems describing the people, the journey, the feelings of those who made up the “Great Migration.”  The author’s family moved to Washington,D.C. in 1929 in search of a better life away from Jim Crow laws.  Details from the mixed media artwork enhance the mood  and meaning of each poem.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud 4th-6th grade

Night Boat to Freedom.  Margot Theis Raven.  Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006.
This story is based on slave narratives from the 1930’s.  Christmas John risks his life to take runaways across the river to Ohio.  Rich with imagery.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud 2nd to 6th grade

The Patchwork Path : A Quilt Map to Freedom.  Bettye Stroud.  Candlewick, 2007.
A young slave girl and her father use a quilt her mother made as a code that helps guide them to freedom.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud 3rd-5th grade


She Loved Baseball: The Effa Manley Story.  Audrey Vernick.  Collins, 2010.
Effa and her husband, Abe, owned and managed the Newark Eagles, in the Negro League.  She was a tireless champion for her players and became the first woman inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.  She was also a civil rights activist.  A fine tribute.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud 3rd-4th grade

Sit-In : How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down
.  Andrea Davis Pinkney.  Little Brown, 2010.
Based on the historic sit-in at North Carolin Woolworth’s lunch counter in 1960 when four college students protested segregation.  “ Their order was simple. A doughnut and  coffee with cream on the side.”  The use of food metaphors create a recipe for integration.
High interest and very compelling.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud 3rd-6th grade

This is the Dream.  Diane Z. Shore.  Amistad, 2006.
Dramatic art and verse portray the Civil Rights Movement.  Great possibilities for discussion.  Picture Book.
Read=aloud 1st-6th grade


Underground: Finding the Light to Freedom.  Shane W. Evans.  Roaring Brook Press, 2011.
The art work evokes such emotion and makes us feel the danger, fear and courage in escaping via the Underground Railroad.  Each double-page spread has just 2 or 3 words, but that is all that is needed.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud 2nd-5th grade

Wind Flyers.  Angela Johnson.  Simon & Schuster, 2007.
A young boy who dreams of flying in the wind becomes a Tuskagee Airman in World WarII.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud 2nd-4th grade

fold-left fold-right
About the author

One Reply to Black History Month, 2012

  1. What a fine list–some favorites and a few new to me. I look forward to reading them. And thanks so much for including SHE LOVED BASEBALL!

Leave a Reply