This week, we are exploring Africa. Why? A million years ago b.c. (before children), I designed and manufactured women’s golf apparel using natural fibers and geared to fashion forward twenty-, thirty- and forty-somethings. The first collection used gorgeous fabrics from West Africa.
My 5th grade daughter’s book club got invited to the 5th grade boys’ book club because they had a special guest, William Maliul, an articulate and engaging Lost Boy of Sudan, who came to speak about his experiences in Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, and the United States. Brothers in Hope was the book club selection and though it is a picture book, the content is suitable for a 4th or 5th grader.
This Top 10 list of African American Picture Books is different for me, because rather than list the books from favorite to most favorite as I usually do, I chose instead to list the books in historical chronology such that each book touches on a significant period or event of African American history in the United States. If you read all 10 (and please use your library for this!), you and your child will get a sense of history through picture books. Because each picture books tells its own powerful story, I am hoping you and your child will get images and vignettes that will linger in your mind.
So it’s only now, as I learn alongside my children that I start to get a sense of the what exactly happened during the civil rights movement and truly, what a great man of historic proportions Martin Luther King, Jr. is. And, like a puzzle coming together, I am only just now able to connect the dots to see how Dr. Martin Luther King inspired every day people to do extraordinary things.
I found this great site called Africa Access, founded in 1989, to help schools, public libraries, and parents improve the quality of their children’s collection on Africa. Africa Access Review, our online database, contains over 1000 annotations and reviews of children’s books written by university professors, librarians, and teachers most of whom have lived in Africa and have graduate degrees in African Studies. Their award, Children’s Africana Book Awards has presented more than forty awards since 1992. These are the winners for 2010 with reviews by Africa Access.