Black history and culture is such a part of the American fabric, that it's difficult to imagine when it wasn't so. First established in the early1920's as "Negro History Week" by Carter G. Woodson, February was chosen because Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln were born this month. Extended to a month-long celebration in 1976, Black History Month is an opportunity to emphasize the history and achievements of African Americans.
Among the events and activities available to American youths are some recently released books that celebrate the power of hard work and ability to overcome adversity:
The Back of the Bus by Aaron Reynolds (ages 6-8)
The memorable & courageous actions of Rosa Parks told through the innocent eyes of a child riding the same bus.
The Hallelujah Flight by Phil Bildner (ages 5-8)
Based on a true story, this book tells the story of the "Flying Hoboes" who fulfill their dream of flying from LA to NY.
January's Sparrow by Patricia Polacco (ages 8 and up)
Tells of family life on a Kentucky plantation as slaves.
Sweethearts of Rhythm by Marilyn Nelson (ages 10 and up)
An all-female jazz band perfoms across the American home front, finding its way into the most famous ballrooms in the country.
Marching for Freedom by Elizabeth Partridge (ages 10 and up)
This book focuses on the courageous children who faced terrifying violence to march alongside Dr. Martin Luther King in his fight to win blacks the right to vote.
The story of a 9 yr old freed slave and a 7 yr old son of plantation owner who struggle as they wander the woods together, this tale of friendship resonates long after the book is over.
**Be aware that there is copious use of the "N" word, and although common for the time period, is a bit jarring and may warrant further discussion with young readers