Black History Month Recommended Reading - Clifton Public Library List for Young Readers


The Clifton Public Library shares a wide range of beautifully illustrated books for young readers for Black History Month

Last week the Board of Education made the following resolution in declaration of Black History Month:

“WHEREAS, "Black Resistance" is this year's national theme and takes a look at how African Americans; have fought repression from America's earliest days; and

WHEREAS, African Americans have contributed significantly to the economic, cultural, spiritual, and political development of the country, and

WHEREAS, African Americans value knowledge and learning; and

WHEREAS, African American teachers distinguish themselves as educators in the Clifton Public School District classrooms; and

WHEREAS, incorporating an accurate portrayal of African American history into the curriculum and teaching the contributions of African American history, culture, society, and language in the classroom promotes academic success for African American students, increases the understanding of all students, and benefits all citizens;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the Clifton Board of Education proclaims February 2023 Black History Month and encourages staff and students to honor it during February and throughout the year with interactive research, classroom lesson plans, guest speakers, displays, lectures, practical activities, and cultural celebrations.”

To aid our community in learning more about significant Black contributions and African culture, the Clifton Public Library has graciously put together a children’s book list.

Clifton Public Library Recommendations for Black History Month
The Clifton Main Memorial Library has curated a Black History Month reading list for The Clifton Times, which features a wide range of books recommended for young readers, selected by Children’s Department Supervising Librarian Gloria Abero. These books serve as a reminder that Black history is the story of America. The list for adult readers can be found here.

We have included a link to each book’s publisher with a brief summary from the publishers’ websites. You can stop by the Allwood Branch of the Clifton Public Library from 10 am to 9 pm, from Monday through Saturday, to see their displays and pick up one of these titles.  The Clifton Main Memorial Library remains closed due to boiler issues. The Clifton Times will continue to update readers on the status of the library closures.  Patrons can also place holds on any of these books through PALS Plus.

The United States v. Jackie Robinson by Sudipta Bardham-Quallen (for ages 4-8): A moving and inspiring nonfiction picture book about Jackie Robinson’s court martial trial-an important lesser-known moment in his lifetime of fighting prejudice with strength and grace.

Smile with African Style by Mylo Freeman (for ages 3-6): This beautiful picture book highlights traditional clothing from Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, Cameroon, and other African countries and encourages readers to appreciate diversity within Africa and to learn about the origins of these beautiful, colorful fabrics and the people who wear them.

Jimi Sounds Like A Rainbow: A Story Of The Young Jimi Hendrix - - Gary Golio (for ages 4-8): This book focuses on the story of Jimi Hendrix and how he discovered his talent for music. When interviewed by NPR author Gary Golio said, "If you pass through the mythology about him, his childhood reflects all the values that we want to teach our children about. Persistence, and loving what you do, and having goals, positive goals, and investing yourself. That's the way I approached it."

My Fade Is Fresh - Shauntay Grant (for ages 3-6): A sweet, rhyming story that encourages young girls to be self-confident and celebrates the many shapes and forms Black hair can take.

Black: The Many Wonders Of My World - Nancy Johnson James (for ages 3-7): This beautifully illustrated book is an ode to the color black, providing positive examples of the color to diminish its stereotypical association with more negative things, like danger or sadness.

Free At Last: A Juneteenth Poem - Sojourner Kincaid Rolle (for ages 6 to 12): An illustrated version of the poem by poet and activist Sojourner Kincaid Rolle traces the celebration of Juneteenth from its 1865 origins in Galveston, Texas to contemporary observances all over the United States.

Because Of You, John Lewis: The True Story Of A Remarkable Friendship - Andrea Davis Pinkney (for ages 8-12): The story of young activist Tybre Faw, who was determined to meet Congressman John Lewis after learning about his heroic march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in the fight for voting rights in 1965. Lewis invites Faw to join him in the annual memorial walk across the Bridge, celebrating the bonds of mentorships amongst community activists and the life of Congressman John Lewis.

Josephine: The Dazzling Life Of Josephine Baker - Patricia Hruby Powell (for ages 8 – 12): A beautifully illustrated portrait for young people of the talented performer and civil rights advocate Josephine Baker, who worked her way from the slums of St. Louis to the grandest stages in the world.

Grandpa Stops A War: A Paul Robeson Story - Susan Robeson (ages 3 – 8): The true story of Paul Robeson’s visit to the front lines of the Spanish Civil War is a tale of courage and activism told by his granddaughter, Susan Robeson.

Uncovering Depots Of The Underground Railroad - Kathryn Wesgate (ages 8 – 12): The Underground Railroad secretly brought thousands of enslaved people to freedom in the North in the 19th century. Readers will learn about safe havens, called “depots,” that housed freedom seekers and the secret passages within them that hid the enslaved people from their pursuers.

If you know of other wonderful books for children that celebrate Black contributions, spotlight Black Americans, or share pieces of African culture, please leave their titles and authors as a comment here for others to see.

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