One of the easiest ways to start a conversation with your kids about equality and race is through storytime. It gives kids the chance to ask questions about what you're reading, and in turn share things they may be experiencing or seeing at daycare or school. It's also a great way to educate them about the history of the Civil Rights Movement in a way they can really understand. Here are five new releases out just in time for Black History Month.
"Searching for Sarah Rector: The Richest Black Girl in America" by Tonya Bolden
Most students are taught about the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement, but the establishment of black towns in the early 1900s is often neglected. "Searching for Sarah Rector" tells the story of the creation of Indian Territory, focusing on a young black girl named Sarah Rector. Rector acquired a large fortune when she was just 11-years-old and became known as "the richest black girl," but greedy adults created many hardships for her. With real historical documents and a helpful glossary in the back, this book is a good educational resource to teach kids about an often forgotten time in history.
"Knock Knock: My Dad's Dream For Me" by Daniel Beaty
Poet Daniel Beaty wrote this moving story about growing up without his father, who was locked up in jail. As a boy he missed playing with his dad, and as a young man he missed having someone to teach him how to shave or treat women. He lyricises about growing up to be a successful, good man by remembering the good his father taught him as a child before he left. After reading the book together, look up Beaty's moving performance of it on YouTube.
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"The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond" by Brenda Woods
This picture book tells the story of Violet, a biracial child whose black father passed away before she was born. Her mother, who is white, helps Violet learn about her African-American heritage through photo albums and by introducing her to her black grandparents. The book's honest portrayal of what it's like to discover a new part of yourself will spark curiosity in readers' own heritage, no matter what your familial background is.
"The Girl from the Paper School: Barbara Rose Johns and the Advent of the Civil Rights Movement" by Teri Kanefield
Learning about Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and other champions of the Civil Rights Movement is important, but hearing about a teen Civil Rights leader shows kids you don't have to be an adult to take a stand. "The Girl from the Paper School" tells the true story of Barbara Rose Johns, who used nonviolent civil disobedience to draw attention to the poor treatment of herself and her black classmates.
"Hidden Girl: The True Story of a Modern Day Slave" by Shyima Hall with Lisa Wysocky
This YA book was written by a teen who was trapped in modern day slavery in Egypt and disturbingly, also here in the United States. Her honest accounts of how she was treated, how she escaped and the emotional scars she still bears are a good reminder that there is still much to overcome.
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