West Bloomfield Township Public Library
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History in the Making - African American History (Kids)

Read one of these nonfiction books to discover more about African American history.

African-American history makers collection : readers that grow with you.

Meet civil rights leaders who were inspiring individuals as well as leaders in their fields: inventor, activist, orator, scientist. Learn about their childhoods, achievements, and contributions that made the world a better place. Biographies feature fascinating facts and archival photography that vividly illustrate the amazing lives of each hero.

Maya Angelou : a creative and courageous voice by Egan, Jill

Presents the life and works of the author of "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" and discusses her struggles as a woman, as a mother, and as an artist

Little legends : exceptional men in black history by Harrison, Vashti

Profiles thirty-five prominent men in African American history, including James Armistead Lafayette, Thurgood Marshall, Alvin Ailey, and Leland Melvin.

Little leaders : bold women in black history by Harrison, Vashti

Featuring forty trailblazing black women in American history, this book educates and inspires as it relates true stories of breaking boundaries and achieving beyond expectations, bringing to life both iconic and lesser-known female figures of black history such as abolitionist Sojourner Truth, pilot Bessie Coleman, chemist Alice Ball, politician Shirley Chisholm, mathematician Katherine Johnson, poet Maya Angelou, and filmmaker Julie Dash

What color is my world? : the lost history of African-American inventors by Abdul-Jabbar, Kareem

While twins Ella and Herbie help the handyman Mr. Midal work on their new home, he tells them about such inventors as Granville Woods, Dr. Henry T. Sampson, and James West, giving them a new view of their heritage as African-Americans

The women who caught the babies : a story of African American midwives by Greenfield, Eloise

Through historical information, poems, illustrations, and photographs, the author shows the ways in which African American midwives have helped families over the course of hundreds of years

Extraordinary people of the Harlem Renaissance by Hardy, P

Looks at the many artists, photographers, choreographers, musicians, composers, poets, writers, and other creative people who made Harlem such an amazing place in the 1920s and 1930s

Trailblazer : the story of ballerina Raven Wilkinson by Schubert, Leda

"When she was only five years old, her parents took her to see the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. Raven perched on her crushed velvet seat, heard the tympani, and cried with delight even before the curtain lifted. From that moment on, her passion for danceonly grew stronger. No black ballerina had ever danced with a major American touring troupe before. Raven would be the first. All Raven Wilkinson wanted to do was dance. On Raven's ninth birthday, her uncle gifted her with ballet lessons, and she completely fell in love with dance. While she was a student at Columbia University, Raven auditioned for the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo and was finally accepted on her third try, even after being told she couldn't dance with them because of her skin color. She encountered racism in her travels while on tour, but the applause, alongside the opportunity to dance, made all the hardship worth it. She would later dance for royalty with the Dutch National Ballet and regularly performed with the New York City Opera until she was fifty. This beautiful picture book tells the uplifting story of the first African American ballerina to ever dance with a major American touring troupe and how she became a huge inspiration for Misty Copeland. Theodore's unique, heavy line style of illustration brings a deeper level of fluidity and life to the work"--

Hector : a boy, a protest, and the photograph that changed apartheid by Wright, Adrienne

On June 16, 1976, Hector Pieterson, an ordinary boy, lost his life after getting caught up in what was supposed to be a peaceful protest. Black South African students were marching against a new law requiring that they be taught half of their subjects inAfrikaans, the language of the White government. The story's events unfold from the perspectives of Hector, his sister, and the photographer who captured their photo in the chaos. This book can serve as a pertinent tool for adults discussing global history and race relations with children. Its graphic novel style and mixed media art portray the vibrancy and grit of Hector's daily life and untimely death. Heartbreaking yet relevant, this powerful story gives voice to an ordinary boy and sheds light on events that helped lead to the end of apartheid.

28 days : moments in Black history that changed the world by Smith, Charles R

"A picture book look at many of the men and women who revolutionized life for African Americans throughout history"--

The fierce 44 : black Americans who shook up the world

"A dynamic and hip collective biography that presents 44 of America's greatest movers and shakers from Frederick Douglass to Aretha Franklin to Barack Obama, written by ESPN's TheUndefeated.com and illustrated with dazzling portraits by Rob Ball."

Respect : Aretha Franklin, the queen of soul by Weatherford, Carole Boston

"Aretha Franklin was born to sing. The daughter of a pastor and a gospel singer, her musical talent was clear from her earliest days in her father's Detroit church. Aretha sang with a soaring voice that spanned more than three octaves. Her incredible talent and string of hit songs earned her the title "the Queen of Soul." This Queen was a multi-Grammy winner and the first female inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And there was even more to Aretha than being a singer, songwriter, and pianist: shewas an activist, too. Her song "Respect" was an anthem for people fighting for civil rights and women's rights. With words that sing and art that shines, this vibrant portrait of Aretha Franklin pays her the R-E-S-P-E-C-T this Queen of Soul deserves"--

Beautiful shades of brown : the art of Laura Wheeler Waring / by Churnin, Nancy

"Growing up in the late 19th century, Laura Wheeler Waring didn't see any artists who looked like her. She didn't see any paintings of people who looked like her, either. As a young woman studying art in Paris, she found inspiration in the works of Matisse and Gaugin to paint the people she knew best. Back in Philadelphia, the Harmon Foundation commissioned her to paint portraits of accomplished African-Americans. Her portraits still hang in Washington DC's National Portrait Gallery, where children of all races can admire the beautiful shades of brown she captured." -- Goodreads.com

Tell all the children our story : memories and mementos of being young and Black in America by Bolden, Tonya

Reveals the history of African American children--from the first recorded birth of a black child in Jamestown, Virginia, to the present day--through historical documents, journal entries, news articles, and interviews

M is for melanin : a celebration of the black child by Rose, Tiffany A

An alphabet book empowers young African Americans to love themselves and their culture.

Patricia's vision : the doctor who saved sight by Lord, Michelle

"Born in 1940s Harlem, Patricia Bath dreamed of being a doctor--even though that wasn't a career option for most women. This biography follows Dr. Bath in her quest to become an ophthalmologist and restore sight to the blind. "Choosing miracles" when everyone else had given up hope, she invented a specialized laser for removing cataracts, becoming the first African American woman doctor to receive a medical patent"--

Who is Michelle Obama? by Stine, Megan

Presents the life and accomplishments of the First Lady of the United States, from her childhood in Chicago and her career as a lawyer to her marriage to Barack Obama and her initiatives in the White House

Barack Obama : son of promise, child of hope by Grimes, Nikki

When David asks his mother about the man on television, she tells him the story of Barack Obama, discussing his childhood in Hawaii and Indonesia, his parents' divorce, and his desire to help others

Courage has no color : the true story of the Triple Nickles : America's first black paratroopers by Stone, Tanya Lee

Examines the role of African-Americans in the military through the history of the Triple Nickles, America's first black paratroopers, who fought against attacks perpetrated on the American West by the Japanese during World War II

Mae among the stars by Ahmed, Roda

When young Mae Jemison is asked by her teacher what she wants to be when she grows up, African American Mae tells her mostly white classmates that she wants to be an astronaut, a dream that her parents wholeheartedly support.

Our children can soar : a celebration of Rosa, Barack, and the pioneers of change by Cook, Michelle

Highlights the achievements of famous African Americans, from Jesse Owens to Hattie McDaniel, to Rosa Parks to Barack Obama

Schomburg : the man who built a library by Weatherford, Carole Boston

Traces legal clerk Arturo Schomburg's efforts to curate a collection of African books, letters, music, and art.

Hey black child by Perkins, Useni Eugene

"A lyrical, empowering poem that celebrates black children and seeks to inspire all young ones to dream big and achieve their goals"--

The case for loving : the fight for interracial marriage by Alko, Selina

Whoosh! : Lonnie Johnson's super-soaking stream of inventions by Barton, Chris

By and by : Charles Tindley, the father of gospel music by Weatherford, Carole Boston

At a time when most African Americans were still enslaved, Charles Tindley was born free. His childhood was far from easy, with backbreaking hours in the fields, and no opportunity to go to school. But the spirituals he heard as he worked made him long to know how to read the Gospel for himself. Late at night, he taught himself to read from scraps of newspapers. From those small scraps, young Charles raised himself to become a founding father of American gospel music whose hymn was the basis for the Civil Rights anthem &;We Shall Overcome.&; Told in lilting verse with snippets of spirituals and Tindley&;s own hymns woven throughout, Carole Boston Weatherford&;s lyrical words and Bryan Collier&;s luminous pictures celebrate a man whose music and conviction has inspired countless lives

Althea Gibson : the story of tennis' fleet-of-foot girl by Reid, Megan

Althea Gibson was the quickest, tallest, most fearless athlete in 1940s Harlem. She couldn't sit still! When she put her mind to it, the fleet-of-foot girl reigned supreme at every sport--stickball with the boys, basketball with the girls, paddle tennis with anyone who would hit with her. But being the quickest, tallest, most fearless player in Harlem wasn't enough for Althea. She knew she could be a tennis champion. Because of segregation, black people weren't allowed to compete against white people in sports. Althea didn't care. She just wanted to play tennis against the best athletes in the world. And with skill and determination, she did just that, eventually becoming the first black person--man or woman--to win a trophy at Wimbledon

Nelson Mandela by Nelson, Kadir

Presents a biography of the former South African president best known for his political activism and fight to end apartheid

The story behind Juneteenth by Reader, Jack

"Juneteenth, which is celebrated each year on June 19, commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. Interestingly, this holiday began in 1865--more than two years after President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. News spread much slower back then, and when slaves in Texas finally learned of their freedom, the holiday was born. In this book, readers are given an in-depth look at the history of Juneteenth, including the events leading up to its creation. Readers will love learning abouthow this important moment in U.S. history is celebrated each year"--

Jesse Owens by Calkhoven, Laurie

An introduction to the life and achievements of the star African-American track and field athlete describes how he took a stand against racism and made history by winning four gold medals at the 1936 Olympics

Shirley Chisholm is a verb! by Chambers, Veronica

"A picture book biography celebrating the life and contributions of Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman in Congress, who sought the Democratic nomination to be the president of the United States"--

Reaching for the Moon : the autobiography of NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson by Johnson, Katherine G

"The inspiring autobiography of NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, who helped launch Apollo 11."--

Who is Oprah Winfrey? by Kramer, Barbara

"The story of how a young Southern girl who was raised on a pig farm became one of the most influential and inspiring people in the world. We all know Oprah Winfrey as a talk-show host, actress, producer, media mogul, and philanthropist, but the "Queen ofTalk" wasn't always so fortunate. She suffered through a rough childhood and went on to use her personal struggles as motivation. Oprah's kindness, resilience, and determination are just some of the many reasons why her viewers--and people all around theworld--love her. The richest African American person of the twentieth century, Oprah is often described as the most influential woman in the world"--

Hidden figures : the true story of four black women and the space race by Shetterly, Margot Lee

Explores the previously uncelebrated but pivotal contributions of NASA's African American women mathematicians to America's space program, describing how Jim Crow laws segregated them despite their groundbreaking successes.

The oldest student : how Mary Walker learned to read by Hubbard, Rita L

"A picture book biography sharing the inspiring and incredible true story of the nation's oldest student, Mary Walker, who learned to read at the age of 116"--

The unstoppable Garrett Morgan : inventor, entrepreneur, hero by DiCicco, Joan

"The biography of Garrett A. Morgan, an African American entrepreneur and prolific inventor, whose bravery saved lives at the Cleveland Waterworks Disaster in 1916. Includes timeline and author's sources."--

Who was George Washington Carver? by Gigliotti, Jim

Born in 1860s Missouri, nobody expected George Washingtoni Carver to succeed. Slaves were not allowed to be educated. After the Civil War, Carver enrolled in classes and proved to be a star student. He became the first black student at Iowa State Agricultural College and later its first black professor. He went on to the Tuskegee Institute where he specialized in botany (the study of plants) and developed techniques to grow crops better. His work with vegetables, especially peanuts, made him famous and changed agriculture forever. He went on to develop nearly 100 household products and over 100 recipes using peanuts
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