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January 1&15, 2017 BOOKLIST
Find more Top 10 Black History Books for Youth
Both high-spirited and painful, most of this year’s Top 10 black history titles tell realistic personal stories of young people in Africa and in the U. S., from a brave child maimed by a land mine in Mozambique to a loving single-parent dad in New York City. The books below were reviewed in Booklist from February 15, 2003, through February 1, 2004.
Flake, Sharon. Begging for Change. 2003. Hyperion, $15.99 (0-7868-0601-X).
Gr. 7-12. In this realistic, hopeful sequel to Money Hungry (2001), Raspberry’s lively first-person account tells of her life in urban poverty, her fears and moral doubts, her new romance, her fierce love for her mother, and her powerful conflicts about her homeless, addicted dad.
Greenberg, Jan. Romare Bearden: Collage of Memories. 2003. illus. Abrams, $17.95 (0-8109-4589-4).
Gr. 3-9. Both a biography and an exciting introduction to Bearden’s groundbreaking work, this large, beautiful volume is filled with exquisite reproductions of the artist’s collage art and commentary about it.
Johnson, Angela. First Part Last. 2003. Simon & Schuster, $15.95 (0-689-84922-2).
Gr. 6-12. The cover photo showing the story’s devoted single-parent dad holding his tiny baby in his arms will draw readers into this exquisite story of love and sorrow, told in the simple, poetic words that teens will read again and again. The 2004 Printz Award winner and Coretta Scott King Author Award. See Booklist Interview on p.1074.
Mankell, Henning. Secrets in the Fire. 2003. Tr. by Anne Connie Stuksrud. Annick, $14.95 (1-55037-801-5).
Gr. 4-8. When Sofia steps on a land mine near her village in Mozambique, southern Africa, she loses both her legs and her sister dies. Her story will grab readers with the truth of one child’s terror and courage.
McDonald, Janet. Twists and Turns. 2003. Farrar/Frances Foster, $16 (0-374-39955-7).
Gr. 7-12. In McDonald’s new, fast-talking story about Brooklyn Heights project girls, a business started by two sisters is destroyed by vandals, landlords, and politicians, but the young women find strength in themselves and in the community to rebuild and carry on.
Myers, Walter Dean. Blues Journey. Illus. by Christopher Myers. 2003. Holiday, $18.95 (0-8234-1613-5).
Gr. 5-8. In a haunting picture book for older readers that is both high-spirited and painful, Myers’ terrific call-and-response poetry is illustrated with his son’s memorable collage artwork in blue ink on brown paper.
Peck, Richard. The River between Us. Dial, $16.99 (0-8037-2735-6).
Gr. 7-12. Personal secrets about race and identity drive the plot and reveal history in this powerful novel, set in a small town in southern Illinois during the Civil War. Peck’s riveting narrative shows prejudice everywhere.
Tarpley, Natasha Anastasia. Joe-Joe’s First Flight. Illus. by E. B. Lewis. Knopf, $15.95 (0-375-81053-6).
PreS-Gr. 2. Lewis’ splendid watercolors and Tarpley’s warm, colloquial words capture joy, family tenderness, and a sense of empowerment in this story about a young boy in the 1920s who dreams of flying a plane. .
Williams-Garcia, Rita. No Laughter Here. 2003. HarperCollins/Amistad, $15.99 (0-688-16247-9).
Gr. 5-9. Fifth-grader Akilah is furious to discover that her best friend, Victoria, who has been in Nigeria for the summer, has undergone female circumcision. Readers will have lots of questions for adults about this skillfully told, powerful story.
Woodson, Jacqueline. Locomotion. 2003. Putnam, $15.99 (0-399-23115-3).
Gr. 3-6. In his fifth-grade poetry class, Lonnie expresses his grief and anger about the loss of his parents in a fire and his separation from his little sister. From rap to haiku, Woodson’s poetry is simple and immediate, true to the lost kid who finds himself with the help of caring people and words.
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