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May 15, 2013 BOOKLIST
Find more Top 10 Black History Books for Youth
Whether through syncopated language, deeply personal poems, or an era-defining photograph, these top black-history titles—all of which received starred reviews in the past year—offer unique ways of presenting the African American experience, then and now. —Ann Kelley
Black & White: The Confrontation between Reverend Fred L. Shuttlesworth and Eugene “Bull” Connor. By Larry Dane Brimner. 2011. illus. Boyds Mills/Calkins Creek, $16.95 (9781590787663). Gr. 7–12.
With archival pictures, primary-source documents, and accessible text, Brimner brings Reverend L. Shuttlesworth, civil rights pioneer, and Eugene “Bull” Connor, symbol of racial hatred and violence, into acute focus.
Black Boy, White School. By Brian F. Walker. 2012. HarperTeen, $17.99 (9780061914836). Gr. 9–12.
This powerful debut novel about a 14-year-old black boy who leaves the rough streets of East Cleveland for a predominantly white boarding school in Maine offers an unflinchingly honest look at race relations.
The Great Migration: Journey to the North. By Eloise Greenfield. Illus. by Jan Spivey Gilchrist. 2011. Amistad, $16.99 (9780061259210). Gr. 2–4.
Rooted in Greenfield’s personal history, this stirring collection of poems tells the haunting story of how more than a million African Americans left their homes in the South and moved to the North as part of the Great Migration.
Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans. By Kadir Nelson. Illus. by the author. 2011. HarperCollins/Balzer and Bray, $19.99 (9780061730740). Gr. 3–7.
Illustrated with 44 full-page paintings and powerfully told in the informal voice of an African American senior looking back on her life, this is an accessible view of history, from colonial days through the civil rights movement.
Jazz Age Josephine. By Jonah Winter. Illus. by Marjorie Priceman. 2012. Atheneum, $16.99 (9781416961239). K–Gr. 3.
Syncopated language and kinetic artwork bring singer, dancer, and all-around entertainer Josephine Baker to dazzling life in this biography about a Jazz Age great.
Little Rock Girl 1957: How a Photograph Changed the Fight for Integration. By Shelley Tougas. 2011. illus. Capstone, lib. ed., $33.99 (9780756544409). Gr. 6–9.
A photo of Elizabeth Eckford attempting to make her way into Little Rock High School is one of the most famous of the civil rights era. This book looks at the image through the lens of history, culture, and media, and it gives readers a sense of how pictures can change historical perspective.
A Nation’s Hope: The Story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis. By Matt de la Peña. Illus. by Kadir Nelson. 2011. Dial, $17.99 (9780803731677). Gr. 1–3.
In 1938, the battle in the ring between Joe Louis and Max Schmeling became a triumphant moment of pride for all Americans. De la Peña’s smoothly cadenced text and Nelson’s spectacular paintings capture the momentous event.
Never Forgotten. By Patricia McKissack. Illus. by Leo Dillon and Diane Dillon. 2011. Random/Schwartz & Wade, $18.99 (9780375843846). Gr. 4–8.
Accessible free verse and dramatic acrylic-and-watercolor illustrations tell the story of the Middle Passage from the point of view of the Africans left behind.
Roots and Blues: A Celebration. By Arnold Adoff. Illus. by R. Gregory Christie. 2011. Clarion, $17.99 (9780547235547). Gr. 4–8.
Short poems, prose vignettes, and stirring paintings evoke the rich textures and vibrant harmonies of a uniquely American art form: the blues.
A Storm Called Katrina. By Myron Uhlberg. Illus. by Colin Bootman. 2011. Peachtree, $17.95 (9781561455911). Gr. 1–4.
The emotional impact of Hurricane Katrina on one family—particularly, a 10-year-old boy—is captured in understated text and heavily brushed acrylic paintings.