Kids books focus on Black History Month

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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

FEBRUARY IS BLACK HISTORY MONTH, a time to honor such great African Americans as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who dedicated his life to achieving equal rights for black Americans. It's also a time to celebrate ordinary people, and kids, too, who fought for equality. Here are some nonfiction (meaning true) and fiction books about African Americans from the days of slavery to the more recent days of Martin Luther King Jr. The books give readers an idea of who these ordinary people were, how they felt and how they may have been just like you. For inspiration and a personal sense of American history this month, check out the following.

Back of the Bus

By Aaron Reynolds

and illustrated by Floyd Cooper

Age 6 and older

This sweet fictional story is told by a boy who is on the same bus as Rosa Parks in 1955 in Alabama when she sits down in the front of the bus. The boy is playing with a marble and doesn't realize at first what is going on. After he sees Parks arrested, he starts to look at the world differently. The story is about what it might have been like on that bus and how Parks inspired the people around her that day. The beautiful pictures alone tell a story of strength, hope and determination.

Marching for Freedom

By Elizabeth Partridge

Age 10 and older

In 1965, hundreds of people marched 54 miles in five days across Alabama to the capital in Montgomery to demand voting rights for African Americans. This book includes details about the march and the events that led up to it. King encouraged young people to get involved and question the rules. This nonfiction book tells of the kids who closely watched what was going on around them and then bravely joined the fight. The photos depict the peaceful strength of the marchers.

Sweethearts of Rhythm

By Marilyn Nelson

and Jerry Pinkney


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