Monday, February 26, 2018

Two Books for #BlackHistoryMonth and a Personal Journey Brought by One of Them

Disclosure: I was sent these books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

It is hard to believe that February is ending this week. I know something I really enjoy in February is learning more Black History. I love all the new books out as well as my friend's posts on Facebook about various black people in history. (He is a vice principal now but was a history teacher and is black.) This year we have already shared with you many new books including ones on Frederick Douglass, the Underground Railroad, black heroes, Harriet Tubman, as well as about the black women of NASA. Today we are sharing two books. The first is a wonderful introduction book to black history. It is A Child's Introduction to African American History by Jabari Asim and illustrated by Lynn Gaines. 

This beautiful books goes through what black history is and starts with slavery and then goes all the way to Black Lives Matter and our first black president. It gives basics of the history and goes into brief specifics about people and culture. There are series of pages about artists, athletes, and politicians. What I love about this book is how it gives information in simple terms that kids will understand. It explains the various names this group of people has been given over time. It shares the past and the various struggles and successes over time. It also has little asides of people to get to know.

The words are clear and precise and answer questions young minds may have. The book is recommended for ages 8 to 12. The illustrations are beautiful. It is a colorful book and the pictures add to the information presented in the words. 
This is a book I think all classrooms and libraries should have and the kids should be reading. It shares information that is not always found in classroom history books.

Our second book is a poem. This book took me on a personal journey with my own thoughts and beliefs. It is powerful. It is Black Girl Magic by Mahogany L. Browne and art by Jess X. Snow. Now before I begin I am going to say that I consider myself pretty open and diverse. I may be a white woman living in white suburbs, but I have had much diversity training when I was a teacher and have read books about various cultures, histories, etc. to Hazel. I wanted her to grow up loving people for who they are and not for what color their skin is or where they come from. However this book made me question all of that. The first time I read it, I didn't like it and I didn't get it. It wasn't a book I wanted Hazel to read and it was a book I wasn't sure what to do with. I often donate the books to Hazel's school, classroom or the public library. I was embarrassed to even think about donating this one and I surely didn't want Hazel to keep it.  But the words stayed with me and my mind kept going back to it. 

I hated the slang. I hated the negativity. I hated so much about it. I questioned why anyone would read it and why it got published. Why? Then the big question was why write it. That question awakened me.

This poem was written about her life experiences. It is what she feels. How she feels society treats black girls. How racism is still alive and well in our country. She is sharing her struggles and her path to self awareness. 

It is a poem to empower black girls. It is telling them to stay strong and love themselves. It is all right to love yourself. It is all right to think for yourself and be brilliant. You are just as special as everyone else.

Wow, I saw my white privilege when I read this book. I try so hard not to have it and certainly not to show it, but this book brought it right out in me. This poem helped me grow in a way I haven't grown in quite awhile. It opened me up to question myself, my whiteness, my own stereotypes. It took me out of my comfort zone and forced me to face what others face every day. Do you have a book that has done that for you?

Black History Month Series on Multicultural Kid Blogs
Welcome to our fifth annual Black History Month series! Follow along all month long as we explore the rich history and cultures of Africa and African-Americans.
You can also follow our Black History board on Pinterest:
February 2 Kid World Citizen on Multicultural Kid Blogs: MLK Day of Service
February 5 Great Family Reads: Picture Books for Black History Month
February 7 Mommy Evolution: Must Read Middle School Books for Black History Month
February 8 Colours of Us: 17 New Picture Books About Black History
February 9 GUBlife: 5 Ways to Celebrate Black History Month with Your Family
February 12 Discovering the World Through My Son's Eyes: Circle Unbroken Children's Book and Gullah Traditions and Heritage
February 13 All Done Monkey: Harriet Tubman - Learning Resources for Kids
February 15 A Crafty Arab: 6 Books on Muslim American Slaves
February 16 Hispanic Mama
Creative World of Varya on Multicultural Kid Blogs: 10 Fun Facts About Tanzania for Kids
February 19 Biracial Bookworms: Our Invisible Armor - Heroes of Black History
February 21 Discovering the World Through My Son's Eyes: Senufo Mud Painting Art Project for Kids
February 23 Growing Up Gupta on Multicultural Kid Blogs: 12 African American Inventors, Activists and Leaders Lost to History
February 26 Crafty Moms Share
February 26 Creative World of Varya: Easy Maasai Craft Inspired Bracelet