Black history month has been recognized in the United States 1926. A this time Carter G Woodson and other prominent African Americans created what was then called, “Negro History Week”. It is now an annual celebration of achievements by black Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of African Americans in U.S. history. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month.
Picture Books for Black History Month
1. The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson - Clover has always wondered why a fence separates the black side of town from the white side. But this summer when Annie, a white girl from the other side, begins to sit on the fence, Clover grows more curious about the reason why the fence is there and about the daring girl who sits on it, rain or shine. And one day, feeling very brave, Clover approaches Annie. After all, why should a fence stand in the way of friendship?
2. Minty: A Story of Young Harriet Tubman by Alan Schroeder -As a young slave, nicknamed “Minty,” Harriet Tubman was a feisty and stubborn girl with a dream of escape, and whose rebellious spirit often got her into trouble. Pinkney’s expressive illustrations bring every emotion to brilliant life — from troubled sorrow to spirited hope for freedom.
3. Henry’s Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad by Ellen Levine - Henry Brown doesn’t know how old he is. Nobody keeps records of slaves’ birthdays. All the time he dreams about freedom, but that dream seems farther away than ever when he is torn from his family and put to work in a warehouse. Henry grows up and marries, but he is again devastated when his family is sold at the slave market. Then one day, as he lifts a crate at the warehouse, he knows exactly what he must do: He will mail himself to the North. After an arduous journey in the crate, Henry finally has a birthday, his first day of freedom.
4. Follow the Drinking Gourd by Jeanette Winter - This engagingly illustrated picture book tells the story of Peg Leg Joe, a white one-legged sailor and handyman, who hired himself out to plantation owners, and eventually made friends with slaves. It turns out that this was all part of his plan, the book reads, to “teach the slaves a song/that secretly told the way/to freedom.” When the song was learned, Peg Leg Joe would quit to work for another master. In this way, the song got spread around. The story chronicles, in simple unrhymed verse, the escape of one family, and how Joe’s song helps to lead and inspire them.
5. A Chair for My Mother - This story tells of a young girl, who along with her waitress mother, saves coins in a big jar in hopes that they can someday buy a big, new, comfortable chair for their apartment.There hasn’t been a comfortable place to sit in the apartment since a fire in their previous apartment burned everything to “charcoal and ashes.” Finally the jar is full, the coins are rolled, and in the book’s crowning moment mother, daughter, and Grandma search four different furniture stores, and after carefully trying several chairs, like Goldilocks, they find the chair they’ve been dreaming of at last.
6. Freedom on the Menu by Carole Boston Weatherford - There were signs all throughout town telling eight-year-old Connie where she could and could not go. But when Connie sees four young men take a stand for equal rights at a Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, she realizes that things may soon change. This event sparks a movement throughout her town and region. And while Connie is too young to march or give a speech, she helps her brother and sister make signs for the cause. Changes are coming to Connie’s town, but Connie just wants to sit at the lunch counter and eat a banana split like everyone else.
7. The Quilt by Ann Jonas – The new quilt is finished, and what a quilt it is! Here is a square from the proud owner’s baby pajamas, and one from the shirt she wore on her second birthday. There is even a square of the same material from which her mother made her stuffed dog Sally. How can she possibly sleep when there is so much to look at, and remember, and dream about . . . ?
8. White Socks Only by Evelyn Coleman – In the segregated south, a young girl thinks that she can drink from a fountain marked “Whites Only” because she is wearing her white socks.