A brilliantly told story that introduces Harriet Tubman, best known as a Conductor in the Underground Railroad. Written in brief, open verse, the story opens with her twilight years, and works its way back to when Harriet worked as a suffragist, when she was “General Tubman”, Union Spy, and the many roles she played in history.
“a wisp of a woman
with the courage
of a lion.”
Illustrated in loose, yet vivid, colors, one can ‘feel’ her story. The book will fuel a curiosity in readers to want to know more about this American hero.
“Our earliest toys are our hands, feet, and voices,” says Patricia C. McKassack who collected dozens of hand clap songs and jump rope rhymes, hymns, parables and even performance pieces inspired by African American writers. Each one comes with a history, some Patricia’s history and most others of where and when they came from or how they came to be.
Her research shows that Aesop is thought to be an Afro-Greek storyteller who lived as a slave more than twenty-five hundred years ago. The book shares how original songs were reshaped while people were in slavery. Spirituals originated in the fields and slave quarters of the plantation South. She writes how the songs came to be written down and are still enjoyed today, songs like Joshua Fought the Battle of Jericho. The song, Follow the Drinking Gourd, was taught to runaways to help lead them to freedom.
A rich collection of history brought together in one book.
This counting story is perfect for large families, where everyone piles into Grandma’s house for the holidays. Author JaNay Brown-Wood creatively crafted a story starting with one grandma, two turkeys and three neighbors and with scrumptious smells, slapping high-fives, and mini stampedes, she cleverly moves up through “Nine chatting aunties”, “thirteen thrilled nieces” and “fifteen hungry grandkids”. But, “How will they all eat in this too-tiny place?” One of the clever grandkids has just the answer! A fun, family story kids will want to hear again and again, if only to find themselves in the pictures!
When a child is curious, they just have to explore, and that’s exactly what Lonnie Johnson did as a child. Living in a small house with five brothers and sisters, he had challenges storing his rocket kits, bamboo shooters, rubber-band guns, erector set, go-kart engine, and all the other spare parts he used to make things. He was an inventor.
From scratch he taught himself how to make a rocket and launched it for his classmates. When an ‘exam’ told him he would not make a good engineer, he pushed through those claims because he knew he had Linux, a robot he had created from spare parts. In 1968 he and Linux won a science fair at the University of Alabama, where only five years earlier, African American students hadn’t even been allowed. In time he invents the Super-Soaker and, with perseverance, his dreams come true. An inspiring story with encouragement to push through setbacks.
This original story reads like an African folk tale and stirs the imagination of how it could be true.
During the time when slavers stole families from African villages, young Abikanile watched her mother pray for magic to protect their village. When they were warned that slavers were coming, Abikanile’s mother decides they must disappear and leave the village behind. In fear they discuss, burning the village, but Aabikanile’s mother says they must dismantle their straw hutches and scatter the materials in the woods. They do so, and disappear to hide in the forest. Unable to find anyone, the slavers leave, sure someone had been there. And that is how the village of Yao vanished and all survived.
Mahalia Jackson was born with nothing, except a voice that was bigger than she was. When she sang, “she felt like a peacock with her feathers all spread out.” Her mama died and later she had to quit school to look after her cousins. But she always sang. When she was sixteen, an aunt took her in and she returned to school, until her aunt took sick. She sang gospel whenever she could. “Mahalia’s joyful voice lifted people with hope. After she sang…, people lined up to join the congregation.” She took a singing lesson as was told to “stop hollering.” She kept hollering. She sang in Carnegie Hall and before Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech. In back matter, readers learn that well after her death, a New Orleans theatre was named after her and a commemorative postage stamp issued. As her aunt Bell always said to her, “you’ll walk with kings and queens”—and Mahalia became the queen.
A moving story with rich illustrations makes it a joy to follow Mahalia’s dream to sing. An inspiring story.
Freedom Over Me jumps into the lives of eleven slaves, their thoughts, feelings, dreams. The eleven selected were from Mary Fairchild’s estate listing of her property, including their names, sex, and worth.
The story opens with Mary selling off her estate and returning home to England after her husband died. Each slave is given a story, a voice to be heard. While the stories are fiction, they are composites of true stories of real slaves. Written in open verse, we learn of what they currently do, their past when they were ripped from their villages, their future, all with the same dream of freedom. At this point in the story they wait, helplessly, knowing they will be sold, and likely separated.
Loose, color-filled illustrations bring life to the people, show the love they had and the pains they survived. An insightful, heart-felt book that gives a deep look into the lives of those enslaved.
An innocent, loving African girl says good night to the fish, to the bird, to the goat. She goes on in the African savannah to say good night to the monkey, the ants, and the rock. She says good night to any and all things she can find to avoid going to bed. When she gets into bed, she says good night to her book. When she looks out her window at the full moon, she says, “Good night, moon!”, while holding her book, Good Night Moon.
Illustrated in clear, bright oils with black ink, the artist/author captures perfectly the innocence of a young girl who goes through her good-night ritual to make her good day even better. The brilliant, moving illustrations are startling, warm and comforting all at once and invite the reader to “just look at the pictures.” A very nurturing bedtime story.
Written in poems, readers learn how Ezra Jack Keats bravely pioneered books in 1962 about African-American kids’ experience in the city. Born of poor Jewish immigrant parents, Ezra faced prejudice early. Drawn to be an artist, his father supported Ezra’s interests as much as he could with leftover paints. Just when Ezra managed to get a scholarship for college, his dad died, and he had to earn a living to support his family. Enlisting in the Air Force for World War II, he made posters, booklets, charts, maps and art. After the war, he returned to the same prejudices and decided to rearrange his name. After he successfully illustrated a couple children’s books, the editors invited him to write and illustrate his own story. He created a story of Peter, a ‘brown-sugar boy’. In 1962, his book, The Snowy Day, led to six others.
The book takes you down a delightful lane sharing how Ezra came to do his books and how much kids enjoyed them. Illustrations used are similar to Ezra Jack Keats style. A great reminiscent look down memory lane for parents, a great introduction to a writer/artist for children.
Ancient storytellers draw in readers one scene, one suspense at a time; so enthralled are the listeners, that they barely notice they are under the storyteller’s spell.
The Storyteller does what a good storyteller does, wraps one story inside another, inside another and always leaves you wanting for more—the true magic of a storyteller.
This story is about a boy who lives in the Moroccan deserts and finds himself on the doorway of death, when he meets an ancient, long forgotten storyteller. The storyteller charms the boy with stories of a glorious blue bird and rich, blue miraculous yarns. That night the sandstorm announces he will return at sundown take over the kingdom. Inspired, the boy offers to tell him a story, and he repeats the storyteller’s story, stretching the story out two nights. In that time, the boy gathers water sellers and through his own ingenuity, finds a way to save the city.
In an oversized format dressed in Moroccan colors and arts, readers will eagerly be swept off to another land in the magic of the storyteller.