One of the reasons I love children’s books especially non-fiction and biographies are that they are great overviews of complex topics. Children’s books provide a broad overview of subject matter with enough detail to engage the reader to read beyond an introduction to a topic. I like to read a children’s book about a new interest or topic to get the broad brushstrokes with a few interesting details. As almost everyone who’s written an essay or a short story knows, it’s harder to write less about a subject than more. Here are three that I truly enjoyed in the theme of Black History Month.
Struttin’ with Some Barbecue: Lil Hardin Armstrong becomes the First Lady of Jazz
By Patricia Hruby Powell
An excellent biography of Jazz legend Lil Hardin Armstrong. She was a pianist, composer, and big band leader. She was also married to Jazz legend Louis Armstrong and thrust his talent into the spotlight. The book breaks up periods of her life into chronological themed chunks. Extensive bibliography and musicology for further reading and listening pleasure. The lyrical verse begs to be read aloud. Do yourself a favor and introduce yourself to an often over-looked Jazz great.
Children’s biography, History of Jazz, Women’s stories, Prose biography, POC, WOC
Pies from Nowhere: How Georgia Gilmore Sustained the Montgomery Bus Boycott
By Dee Romito
Shines a light on the grassroots efforts of women’s participation and vital support of the Civil Rights Movement. The story of Georgia Gilmore begins with her as a cook at the National Lunch Company in Montgomery, Alabama (a segregated café). She organized a group of women who cooked and baked called the Club from Nowhere. Georgia protected the women’s identities so there could no retaliation took in the rest of their lives (job loss being one). The Club fund-raised for gas and vehicles to sustain the Montgomery Bus Boycott. It illustrates the power of an individual can make within her community and to social justice.
Historical Picture Book, Civil Rights, Social Justice, Women’s Stories, POC, WOC
The Doctor with an Eye for Eyes: The Story of Dr. Patricia Bath
by Julia Finley Mosca
Patricia Bath grew up during the Civil Rights Movement. Her mission was to become a doctor. She fought against poverty, racism, and sexism to become a scientist and doctor who changed the treatment for blindness. She saw how poverty disproportionally affects African Americans eyesight compared to white Americans. She tackles this injustice by opening free clinics in poor areas and making available her new laser techniques.
Children’s Biography, WOC, POC, STEM, Women Scientist, Social Justice