Submitted by Ms. Sue!
Ruth and the Green Book by Calvin Alexander, illustrated by Floyd Cooper. Ruth and her parents are taking Ruth’s first road trip, in their first car, from Chicago to Alabama. During the 1950’s, most African Americans couldn’t afford to own a car, so this will be an adventure for Ruth and her parents! It feels funny to Ruth, to see her neighborhood disappear as they drive out of Chicago. Unfortunately, Ruth and her family find out that black travelers are not welcome in many service stations, hotels, or towns, and that they can be turned away due to the “Jim Crow” laws. They have a few bad experiences in places where they are not welcome, and have to spend the night sleeping in their car. Eventually, Ruth and her family are lucky enough to meet a friendly attendant at an Esso station, who shows them a book called “The Negro Motorist Green Book.” It provides a list of places that black travelers can go that will welcome them, and their business. Ruth and her parents are very relieved to have a guide book to help them make a safe journey to Grandma’s house. This story contains factual information about “The Green Book” and how it helped African Americans travel more safely. See this book listed in our catalog
Submitted by Catherine from Charlotte Hall!
“The Pied Piper of Hamlin” is a story that is familiar to most. The gloomy tale teaches a lesson of honesty and the importance of keeping one’s word. However, its dark theme and plot makes it one that many children will find scary. The Steel Pan Man of Harlem by Colin Bootman teaches the same lessons with a much lighter touch. Set in Harlem, rather than the German countryside, the mysterious man, gifted with the ability to drive away the rats, hails from the Caribbean, and it’s a steel drum rather than a pipe that makes the magical music. With beautiful water color illustrations that are as much a part of the story as the text, Bootman updates this tale with a new twist: the ending, so dark and frightening in the original, is made funny instead. Rather than every child in town being led to their doom, only the cruel mayor is made to dance away from the town. If you are looking for a lesson on honesty, or simply an updated version of this classic tale, The Steel Pan Man of Harlem will be a great choice. See this book listed in our catalog
Submitted by Tess from Lexington Park!
Our Children Can Soar: A Celebration of Rosa, Barack, and the Pioneers of Change by Michelle Cook, with illustrations by a variety of talented artists, is an excellent book for Black History Month, or any time of year you want to have a conversation with your child about the monumental achievements of African Americans throughout our country’s history. Beginning with the buffalo soldiers of the civil war, and ending with the election of Barack Obama and a promise of hope for the future, it features such heroes as George Washington Carver, Jesse Owens, Ruby Bridges, Ella Fitzgerald, and Thurgood Marshall, who all lead the way to inspire generations after them to dream and succeed. This is an upliftifting and powerful book, that may even bring tears to your eyes! See this book listed in our catalog