Among the many reasons that I love picture books, a major point for me as an adult is that I continually learn about important things through them. As a child with a vivid imagination and creativity, I was never much for history, biographies or period stories growing up. Even now, non-fiction books consistently take me longer to get through, while I devour fiction and stories at an almost alarming rate. But give me bite-size chunks of history, depict it with powerful illustrations, and you’ve got my attention. That’s what today’s book did.
I’m ashamed to say I knew nothing about the Memphis Sanitation Strike of 1968. I honestly did not even know it had occurred. My childhood education in the civil rights movement is basically non-existent. I don’t remember reading about much of anything except a few paragraphs here and there about Martin Luther King, Jr. My adult education is heavily underway, greatly aided by the powerful school my children attend. And I continue to seek out resources and especially picture books to fill in so many gaps in my knowledge as I learn alongside my children.
The newest one to our stack is Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop: The Sanitation Strike of 1968 by Alice Faye Duncan, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie, 2018. It is a lengthier picture book, a combination of poetry and prose, based on a teacher who participated in the strike and marches in Memphis as a child. Come learn along with me.
Happy Wednesday! This book came out several years ago, but I recently came across it while searching for more civil rights picture books. A tribute to the famous song and the many people who have sung it from America’s era of slavery through the 60s civil rights movement and continuing today in the fight for freedom and equality, take a look at We Shall Overcome: The Story of a Song by Debbie Levy, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton, 2013.
Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day! Dr. King would be 90 years old if he were alive today. With the memorial holiday reminding us to reflect and continue to press on in the civil rights movement Dr. King helped orchestrate, this book is an excellent addition to the day. Here is Martin’s Big Words by Doreen Rappaport, illustrated by Bryan Collier, 2001.
“A little black dog and a little white dog were friends,
And they stayed together and played together all day long.”
Words so simple and yet so lyrical, those are the words on the opening spread of Dahlov Ipcar’s stunning book about two dogs, two friends, two colors, and the adventures and imaginings surrounding them. Originally published at the height of the US civil rights movement in 1963, Flying Eye Books has remastered the original art and traditionally printed the book (on uncoated paper!) using the same bold spot color that made Ipcar known as a true master of color and organic form. I am thrilled to add this timeless and yet continually so poignant piece of work into my own library and I am delighted to share it with you. Come look at this breathtaking book, Black and White by Dahlov Ipcar, 1963 and now 2015. Read the full post…
It’s the first official day of Autumn over here in the Northern hemisphere. While we are suddenly having a warm spell again, thanks but no thanks New York, I’m ready to fully embrace my favorite time of year! While perusing the library a couple weeks ago, I spied this little book on a shelf. It’s(…)
The summer came and went. Autumn is two days away. I have so many books to share. They are coming. For today, bask in the beauty of this September poem. One of the beautiful spreads from A Child’s Calendar by John Updike (1965) and illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman in 1999. September – the month(…)
Happy Juneteenth! On this important day commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States, one book came to mind immediately. Take a glimpse of this difficult, beautiful, and necessary book: Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans by Kadir Nelson, 2011.
A beautifully narrated and breathtakingly illustrated biography about Pura Belpré – the first Puerto Rican librarian in New York City. This book is a must see: Planting Stories The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré by Anika Aldamuy Denise, illustrations by Paola Escobar.
An incredible non-fiction picture book about the history of the Negro Leagues. A hefty book in size and information, overflowing with breathtaking paintings by Kadir Nelson, this is a book not to be missed by baseball lovers everywhere.
A special new book. A charming story about a little boy encountering a girl with noticeable disability and learning that making friends is not as hard as it feels sometimes. This book is like illustrated role-play, teaching how to handle specific situations. It opens conversations. It puts things into words that we don’t even know how to ask. And this book breaks several picture book “rules” for some really good reasons. Check out When Charley Met Emma by Amy Webb, illustrated by Merrilee Liddiard.
Today I wrestle with how to share a brilliantly clever, marvelously illustrated book. It is a story, quite simply, about walls. It is a surprising story, a hilarious story, a fun and thought-provoking story. Don’t miss this one. It is worth reading, talking about with everyone, and reading aloud to anyone: The Wall in the(…)