Monday, February 25, 2013

Black History Month - New Titles & Giveaway

New titles to help celebrate Black History Month!

Myers, Walter Dean.
I've Seen the Promised Land: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
December 2012.
Review copy provided courtesy of publisher.

Overview from Barnes & Noble:

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is one of the most celebrated figures of the twentieth century. A crusader for nonviolent social justice, he led African Americans in their demands for equality through peaceful protests during one of the most tumultuous times in recent history.

Set against key moments in the civil rights movement, here is the story of the powerful, eloquent spiritual leader and his belief that nonviolence could be used to overcome racial discrimination.
Walter Dean Myers's moving narrative and Leonard Jenkins's compelling paintings portray a vivid and striking image of the man who moved American society closer to the ideals of freedom and fairness. Dr. King's dream that all Americans would be judged by their individual actions and character is one we still cherish today.

Pictures and easy-to-read text introduce the life of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

My Thoughts:

The story is well written and accurately portrayed.  However, I'd say it's a bit lengthy for most children under age 7.  At the age level I teach, preschool, this book would be most appropriate placed a bookshelf for children to explore on their own and ask questions about but would not work as a read aloud.

Nelson, Kadir.
Nelson Mandela.
January 2013.
Review copy provided courtesy of publisher.

Overview from Barnes & Noble:

One day when Nelson Mandela was nine years old, his father died and he was sent from his village to a school far away from home, to another part of South Africa. In Johannesburg, the country's capital, Mandela saw fellow Africans who were poor and powerless. He decided then that he would work to protect them. When the government began to keep people apart based on the color of their skin, Mandela spoke out against the law and vowed to fight hard in order to make his country a place that belonged to all South Africans.

Kadir Nelson tells the story of Mandela, a global icon, in poignant verse and glorious illustrations. It is the story of a young boy's determination to change South Africa and of the struggles of a man who eventually became the president of his country by believing in equality for people of all colors. Readers will be inspired by Mandela's triumph and his lifelong quest to create a more just world.

My Thoughts:

Again, a wonderfully written story with somewhat simple text.  I'd say it's most appropriate for children aged 7+.  Children should have a basic understanding of the injustices faced by African Americans during that time period in order to really understand and take away the most from the story.

Thomas, Joyce Carol.
In the Land of Milk and Honey.
September 2012.
Review copy provided courtesy of publisher.

Overview from Barnes & Noble:

I ease myself back in the window seat and breathe in as the train breathes out We're on our way!

On our way to the Land of Milk and Honey

Lemons as big as oranges, the cool Pacific Ocean, mountains that rise up beyond the outstretched bay—California beckons as one girl makes her way west on a journey filled with excitement, hope, and the promise of a place where people from all paths come together and music fills the air.
This is the true story of author Joyce Carol Thomas's trip from Oklahoma to California in 1948, when she moved there as a girl. During that time, many people went west, drawn by warmth and possibility, reflected in the people of all cultures and ethnicities who started a new life there.

Coretta Scott King honoree Joyce Carol Thomas and Coretta Scott King Award winner Floyd Cooper capture the anticipation of a bright adventure and a world filled with freedom and opportunity.

My Thoughts:
Of all of these titles that focus on Black History Month, this was my favorite - the illustrations were amazing, very eye catching and interesting to look at.  The text is simple enough that most of the younger children (4-6 year olds) will be able to sit through the story and have a basic understanding of what the book is about.  Definitely my pick of the litter!

Smith Jr., Charles.
Brick by Brick.
December 2012.
Review copy provided courtesy of publisher. 

Overview by Barnes & Noble:

The president of a new country needs a new home, so many hands work together as one.

Black hands, white hands, free hands, slave hands.

In this powerful story of the building of the White House, Coretta Scott King Award winners Charles R. Smith Jr. and Floyd Cooper capture the emotion and toil that created this incredible structure, the home of our president. The White House was created by many hands, several of them slaves', who will be remembered throughout history for their extraordinary feat. Many slaves were able to purchase their freedom after earning money from learning a trade through this work, which speaks to their unbelievable strength. The title reflects how this towering symbol of America was created by hand, human hands, working toward their freedom, brick by brick.

My Thoughts:

This is another great story, simply written, that will allow young children to start to form an understanding of what slavery was and how it "worked."  I could see using this book as a starter to such a discussion!  

For some reason, I received two review copies of Charles Smith Jr.'s Brick by Brick.  See below for details on how to enter the giveaway!

To Enter the Giveaway
  1. Comment on this post, sharing how you teach Black History Month!  
  2. Be sure to leave an email address so I have a way to contact you if you are the winner! 
 The giveaway is open to United States residents only.  You have until 11:59PM, EST on  Thursday, February 28 to enter the giveaway.

If you're interested in finding out more information about any of the books reviewed or if you'd like to purchase the books, click the cover image for a link to I am an Amazon Affiliate, so any purchases you make after clicking these images will result in my receiving a small percentage of the sale price!


style='clear: both;' Mrs. Brown said...

I celebrate Black History Month in my classroom by sharing different books about different people. We talk about the contributions they have made. The kids love learning about people who have made contributions to society!