A Lifetime of History
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Black History Month is the perfect time to introduce your children to stories that celebrate the heritage and history of African Americans. Here are seven books that reflect characteristics you’ll want to foster in your children. — Thanks to Nicole Yasinsky, the children’s manager with The Booksellers at Laurelwood, for her insights and contribution.
Wilma Unlimited by Kathleen Krull, illustrated by David Diaz.
If you have a child who needs a dose of encouragement, read the inspirational tale of Olympic gold-medalist Wilma Rudolph. A Tennessee native who grew up in a family of 21, Wilma was stricken with polio as a child. Despite the clumsy braces she had to wear to walk, the young girl never gave up on her dream of being strong and playing sports. With dogged determination and grit, she gradually overcame her handicap, and went on to become a world-class athlete. Rudolph’s perseverance is a lesson for all ages. — JS
Uncle Jed’s Barbershop by Margaree Mitchell, illustrations by James Ransome.
What does it mean to be part of a family? Is it about selflessness, kindness, sharing? Rich, joyful illustrations help tell this story, which is set in the South (Mitchell comes from Holly Springs) as Uncle Jed works hard to save his money in hopes of one day opening his own barbershop. But each time he’s ready, an emergency arises and instead, he gives his savings to help family members. Despite a lifetime of setbacks, this resilient man never gives up on himself or his dreams. — JS
Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt by Deborah Hopkinson, illustrations by James Ransome.
Slavery was oppressive, but the African-American spirit proved resilient, and slaves found many resourceful ways to survive and occasionally escape. Such is the tale of Clara, a clever slave girl who works as a seamstress on a plantation and creates a quilt, rich in secret images, that doubles as a map to freedom. — JS