Article

Books: Black History Month

10 inspirational reads in honor of Black
History Month

  • Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

Kadir Nelson Illustrator, A Nation’s Hope: The Story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis

What is your research process before you start work on a new book?

I begin with loose sketches of each spread in the book. Then I create more detailed sketches and amass a collection of visual references. I also research the story and the life history of my subject. When
I have everything in place, I’ll create the finished paintings.

Why is a book on Joe Louis important for kids today?

Joe Louis is an example of someone who overcame great odds to achieve a goal. He followed his own path by doing what he loved.

Besides Joe Louis, your subjects have included Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr., and Jackie Robinson. Do you have a favorite, one subject whose story you became particularly enmeshed in?

I love any story about transformation, stories that speak to the hero inside all of us.

1 | Africa Is My Home: A Child of the Amistad
By Monica Edinger, illustrated by Robert Byrd. $17.99.
A fictionalized story of the Amistad slave rebellion and a return to Africa, as seen through the eyes of a young girl. Grades 3–5.

2 | The Port Chicago 50
By Steve Sheinkin. $19.99.
Discrimination in the armed forces is the topic of this book about the Port Chicago explosion of 1944, told in a fast-paced reportorial style with archival photos. Grades 5–9.

3 |  Malcolm Little: The Boy Who Grew Up to Become Malcolm X
By Ilyasah Shabazz, Illustrated by AG Ford. $17.99.
A charmingly illustrated look at the childhood of the resilient boy who became Malcolm X. Grades 1–3.

4 | The Sittin’ Up
By Shelia P. Moses. $16.99.
This rich, humorous story is set in a sharecropping community during the Depression, where two young boys are mourning the death of “the last slave man around.” Grades 5–8.

5 | Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker
By Patricia Hruby Powell, illustrated by Christian Robinson. $17.99.
A story-in-verse looks at the life of the iconoclastic dancer who wowed Paris and marched with MLK. Grades 2–5.

6 | The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond
By Brenda Woods. $16.99.
A biracial teen who sometimes feels “like a brown leaf on a pile of snow” reaches out to the family of a father she never knew. Grades 3–7.

7 | The Freedom Maze
By Delia Sherman. $6.99.
The stakes are high in this time-travel adventure when a teen meets her ancestors on a Louisiana sugar plantation in 1860—and finds she herself is a slave. Grades 5–8.

8 | Jump Into the Sky
By Shelley Pearsall. $7.99.
When a courageous 13-year-old Chicago boy goes south in 1945 to search for his soldier father, he discovers dangerous secrets and a world of prejudice. Grades 4–7.

9 | A Nation’s Hope: The Story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis
By Matt de la Peña, illustrated by Kadir Nelson. $8.99.
A country cheered as the Brown Bomber sank German boxer Max Schmeling on the eve of WWII. Grades 1–3.

10 | Back of the Bus
By Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Floyd Cooper. $8.99.
A fictional account of a young boy watching Rosa Parks take her historic stand in 1955—an action that set off the civil rights movement. Grades 1–4. 

Click Here to Subscribe to Instructor Magazine

 

  • Part of Collection:
  • Subjects:
    Language Arts, African American History, Slavery, Underground Railroad, Abolition, Independent Reading, Literature, Literature Appreciation, Segregation and Integration, Civil Rights Movement
top
Instructor Cover

Instructor Magazine

Six issues per year filled with practical, fun, teacher-tested ideas for your classroom. Keep up with classroom trends, get expert teaching tips, and find dozens of resources in every issue.