Black History Month: A Round-Up
I’m not the only person writing about Black History Month so I thought I would share some blog posts written by my friends from around the internet.
My friend Sussu shares a few of her faves:
Most African-American picture books are about feeling grand, having super powers, liking oneself and about looks. They often portray characters who need to feel better about themselves, who show how to accept oneself and how to be proud of who they are.
Some African-American books are also about famous people and slavery.
The books I read in the USA are so different from the books I have grown up with in France, a country with many African influences, especially since the colonial times. The African tales I read and was told about are populated with tales born in Africa and passed on from generation to generation. These tales hint at the folklore, the culture, the nature, the bravery of African people, the feats they have to overcome. Oftentimes the characters were brave, especially when they had to face witches and wild animals. Often the characters were wise and cunning. They also talked to trees, to animals, and to rivers. These tales were also filled with animal tales as in Africa each animal symbolises a quality. I also learned of the savanna, the desert, the fishermen and African villages, of healers, chiefs, and spriritual leaders, of communities and griots (the living libraries). These tales talked about cultures that live overseas.
Sussu highlights Kadir Nelson’s illustrations in this post and you KNOW how much I love him! For more of this post, check her out at https://sussu.weebly.com/
Another topic to discuss during Black History Month is the diversity of POC. Not all POC practice the same religion. That’s why it’s important to include people who identify as Muslim. After all, they are people of color too. Muslim children, especially need to see themselves portrayed positively. Sussu highlights an absolutely ADORABLE book called Nanni’s Hijab.
Nanni is quite the attraction at school with her beautiful hijabs, so it doesn’t come as a surprise when one of her classmates is unappreciative. It is hard for new kids to see all the attention drawn to someone else because, after all, being new should be something that gets people’s attention. Soon, the new classmate, Leslie, tries to bully Nanni, but instead of retaliating, Nanni finds a smart way to solve the issue. And it’s truly inspiring.
It’s a beautifully illustrated picture book that celebrates the hijab and is perfect for all littles: windows and mirrors, remember? Read more about Nanni’s Hijab here.
And speaking of representing Muslims, Sussu features a list of YA books with Muslim characters which includes the new Ms Marvel! Check it out!
Remember, diversity is for everyone. We all learn and grow when we read diverse books. All of these titles would qualify for the Diversity Reading Challenge!