As our nation struggled for its freedom in the Revolutionary War, thousands of African American slaves wondered about theirs. If a nation could be freAs our nation struggled for its freedom in the Revolutionary War, thousands of African American slaves wondered about theirs. If a nation could be free, what about them? In 1776, thirteen-year-old Isabel fought for her own freedom in the midst of war-torn New York. This gripping historical novel is well worth reading - for its dramatic story, the struggles of a young slave, and its depiction of war-torn New York.
Chains: Seeds of America by Laurie Halse Anderson Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, c2008. Brilliance Audio, c2008 ages 12 and up
Isabel and her sister were promised freedom upon the death of their owner, but no records were found of a will. Through a cruel sequence of events, Isabel and Ruth were sold by her owner's nephew to the Lockton family in New York. The Locktons were Loyalists and cruel slave owners. They cared little of the sisters' relationship, and ended up sending young Ruth far away.
Isabel's heart was broken - she lost her freedom, her home, and now her little sister. When a young slave, Curzon, asked her to spy on the Locktons, she did so - thinking that this might be the way she could claim her freedom. But the Revolutionary Army did not protect her, and she ended up being accused of insolence by Madam Lockton. Isabel was cruelly punished with the branding of an I on her face.
The audiobook for Chains is amazing. Madisun Leigh, the narrator, brings alive the thoughts and feelings of young Isabel. I think audiobooks work especially well for first-person stories; Chains pulls the reader and listener into Isabel's plight, and shows the mental and physical horrors of slavery.
This would definitely be a great choice for family listening - it would provide lots to talk about, and would engage adults and teenagers. One caution: Isabel's branding and Curzon's time in jail are intense - I would not recommend this for children under 10....more
This slim book reads almost like a short play in three acts. In the first 12 poems, CJ describes how he feels warm and content as part of his close-knThis slim book reads almost like a short play in three acts. In the first 12 poems, CJ describes how he feels warm and content as part of his close-knit family. But then, everything changes as his father loses his job and then abruptly leaves home. In the 13th poem, when his dad leaves, CJ describes how it felt: "The door closed with a / click. / I felt all the air leave the room / and we were vacuum-sealed inside. / - I can tell a lot by / the way a door closes." This is a powerful book that takes readers on CJ's roller-coaster emotional journey. ...more
Actor, musician and producer Nick Cannon combines his passions for poetry and hip-hop in this terrific new collection. As a child, Cannon found equalActor, musician and producer Nick Cannon combines his passions for poetry and hip-hop in this terrific new collection. As a child, Cannon found equal inspiration in Shel Silverstein and rappers, whom he calls "the storytellers of the street." He’s sure to energize and entertain kids with these funny, gross, wacky and thought-provoking poems....more
There are so many different ways into sharing The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage. The story centers around Richard and Mildred LoThere are so many different ways into sharing The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage. The story centers around Richard and Mildred Loving, the interracial couple who challenged Virginia's laws forbidding interracial marriages and took their case all the way to the Supreme Court.
You might approach it as a story of two people who stand up and fight for what they think is right--a book about courage, civil rights and fighting for change. Or you might see it as a way to start talking about race with young children, and the struggles one family went through not so long ago. Whichever you choose, this picture book makes a wonderful jumping off point for talking with kids about things that really matter.
I love how picture books can capture a small moment--and help us hold onto the small moments in our own lives. Matt de la Peña and Christian Robinson'I love how picture books can capture a small moment--and help us hold onto the small moments in our own lives. Matt de la Peña and Christian Robinson's wonderful picture book Last Stop on Market Street makes me smile every single time I read it--it's so filled with love, friendship and an appreciation for life, in such a real way.
Pinkney sets this sumptuous classic retelling on a snowy winter day, as a young girl sets off to bring her grandmother delicious chicken soup. Young cPinkney sets this sumptuous classic retelling on a snowy winter day, as a young girl sets off to bring her grandmother delicious chicken soup. Young children will revel in retelling the story from the soft watercolors alone, but the text is lovely to read aloud as well. Families looking for traditional tales the feature multicultural casts will be especially happy with this retelling. ...more
Oh, this book has beautiful illustrations that make me see and think of so many children, and poems that speak to the heart about feeling good about jOh, this book has beautiful illustrations that make me see and think of so many children, and poems that speak to the heart about feeling good about just who we are. Thomas explores in her poetry how children feel about their different skin colors, but also how they feel about themselves, and the love that their families give to them. Cooper explores the radiance and thoughtfulness in each child.
Winner of the 2009 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award, and honor book for 2009 Coretta Scott King Author Award
What Shade is Human? by Joyce Carol Thomas
At breakfast I pour milk over my bowl of berries And Grandpa says, "It's the milk of kindness that makes us human."
"Yes, Papa," I answer, and he continues: "White milk Chocolate milk Sweet milk Mother's milk."
I nod between bites of berries because My mother long ago When she nursed me with first milk Said, "You are beautiful." And I heard her ...more
a beautiful, gentle, powerful story - about a boy's relationship with his brother and grandfather, about how his family supports him as he copes witha beautiful, gentle, powerful story - about a boy's relationship with his brother and grandfather, about how his family supports him as he copes with his brother's and grandfather's deaths, about his relationship with Uncle Sonny, and about his gift of drawing.
universal in a child's support by his family and sadness with the passing of his grandfather & brother, and yet so specific to the particular urban setting. complex and simple at the same time - fantastic....more
wonderful, vibrant book about the joys of styling hair to create your own look, your own personality. This is not a "how to" book, but rather a celebrwonderful, vibrant book about the joys of styling hair to create your own look, your own personality. This is not a "how to" book, but rather a celebration - of girls creating their own images, of girls enjoying life. Great real pictures of real girls - full of joy and happiness.
Some quotes: "It's sassy short and bouncy long barrettes on my braids keep the beat of the song."
"Braids swing with me like water, moving free no matter how I wear my hair it's a special part of me"...more
Kameeka loves hula hooping and is sure she can become the Hula-Hoopin’ Queen of 139th Street--but Mama reminds her that she has to help get ready forKameeka loves hula hooping and is sure she can become the Hula-Hoopin’ Queen of 139th Street--but Mama reminds her that she has to help get ready for Miz Adeline’s birthday. After all, Miz Adeline took care of Mama and Kameeka when they each were babies. How will Kameeka ever get all these things done and get outside to beat her rival Jamara?
When Kameeka heads out to run an errand, she sees Jamara and just can't avoid stepping up to save her reputation. By the time she gets home, it's too late to make the birthday cake! I especially love the ending, as Miz Adeline lets Kameeka see how much she loved hula hooping when she was a kid.
Godin's text has snap and is great fun to read aloud. Brantley-Newton's illustrations really appeal to my students, capturing the feel of our multicultural urban community.
Pair this fun book with a hula hoop set and maybe you'll inspire some intergenerational or neighborly contests of your own....more
Most American school children know the story of Rosa Parks. But few know that before Rosa Parks started her protest, there was a brave young teen whoMost American school children know the story of Rosa Parks. But few know that before Rosa Parks started her protest, there was a brave young teen who challenged the segregation laws in Montgomery, Alabama. On March 2, 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama, fifteen year old Claudette Colvin refused to give her seat to a white woman on a segregated bus. Claudette was an impassioned teenager who had just learned about her constitutional rights in her history class. Her friends knew how angry she was at segregation and how unfairly the police treated her, but Claudette quickly found herself avoided or teased by her classmates. Although Claudette received some help from local civil rights leaders, they decided that she was not suitable to be the public face of a mass protest. She was young, from a poor family, and had a temper at times.
As Claudette reeled from the lack of support from her friends and the community, she ran into personal trouble and ended up pregnant. She was sent to Birmingham to have her child, but returned to Montgomery to be part of the protests and live at home. Claudette was still willing to be part of the protests, and a year later she became a key plaintiff in the landmark case that struck down the segregation laws of Montgomery and swept away the legal underpinnings of the Jim Crow South.
This is an amazing story - I read it in one sitting, it was so engrossing. Young adults will be drawn into reading about how a teenager wasn't given the respect she deserved by the adults leading the NAACP movement. Claudette showed tremendous courage and determination speaking up against the injustices of segregation, and yet she wasn't even invited to participate in the ceremony to end the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
This is a great nonfiction book for middle school and high school students. Phillip Hoose brings the history alive. He presents clear, descriptive background information, fascinating primary sources from newspapers, pamphlets and flyers, and many first-person accounts from interviews with Claudette and others. Hoose clearly conveys all the risks of opposing segregation, along with the courage it took to face those risks. This is a compelling read for students who might think they know it all about this period of history.
I'm so glad to see this nominated for the National Book Award, in their Young People's Literature category. There are other great books nominated - see here for more information. The awards will be presented November 18th....more
This book is so much fun to read with toddlers - they'll start playing peekaboo as you're reading the book! Help your children guess who's coming in tThis book is so much fun to read with toddlers - they'll start playing peekaboo as you're reading the book! Help your children guess who's coming in the next page by looking at the clues in the pictures. The beautiful illustrations of a cheerful African American toddler will make you smile, and their rich, pastel colors engage children and draw their attention....more