Tag Archives: African American history

March Madness

You don’t have to be college-aged to be interested in college basketball!

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Basketball Belles: How Two Teams and One Scrappy Player Put Women’s Hoops on the Map by Sue Macy
Agnes Morley led her team to victory in the first-ever intercollegiate women’s basketball game– back when women played basketball in bloomers.

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Basketball: From Tip-off to Slam Dunk–The Essential Guide by Clive Gifford

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Basketball: Girls Rocking It by Barry Mableton and Elizabeth Gettelman

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Basketballogy: Supercool Facts You Never Knew by Kevin Sylvester

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Game Changer: John Mclendon and the Secret Game by John Coy
In 1944, in segregated North Carolina, Coach John McLendon of the North Carolina College of Negroes invited the Duke University Medical School basketball team for a secret and illegal game.

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Great Teams in College Basketball History by Luke DeCock

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Greatest Comebacks in Sports by Dustin Long

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The Illinois Fighting Illini by Mark Stewart

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The Mighty Macs
A sports movie about a women’s basketball team at a small Catholic college in the 1970s, and the coach who brought them all the way to a national championship.

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NCAA Basketball Championship by Annalise Bekkering

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Strong Inside: The True Story of How Perry Wallace Broke College Basketball’s Color Line by Andrew Maraniss
A biography of the student athlete who courageously integrated the Southeastern Conference.

Martin Luther King, life and legacy

pinkneysA patron came in the other day and asked what new books we had on Martin Luther King. This year, 50 years since he was assassinated, there are some especially beautiful new works like Martin Rising. The poet (Andrea Davis Pinkney) and illustrator (her husband, Brian Pinkney) made a video that lets you see inside the book.

This year, The Great Read will focus on the life and legacy of Dr. King. Fountaindale and other local libraries will be offering special activities next month, and an art contest you can enter now through February 14.

Here are the latest books to inspire you:

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Be a King: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s Dream and You by Carole Boston Weatherford; illustrated by James E. Ransome
In this picture book, a class of children learns about the life of Dr. King and how they can be like him.

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Dream March: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the March on Washington by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson; illustrated by Sally Wern Comport
A book for beginning readers introduces the Civil Rights Movement and Dr. King’s famous speech.

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Let the Children March by Monica Clark-Robinson; illustrated by Frank Morrison
Under the leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King, children and teenagers march against segregation in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963. This picture book includes historical notes and photographs.

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Martin Rising: Requiem for a King by Andrea Davis Pinkney & Brian Pinkney
In a rich embroidery of visions, musical cadence, and deep emotion, Andrea and Brian Pinkney convey the final months of Martin Luther King’s life — and of his assassination — through metaphor, spirituality, and multilayers of meaning.

Jazzy birthdays

100 years ago this month, two great jazz musicians were born: Thelonious Monk and  Dizzy Gillespie. Here are some children’s books and recordings that celebrate their music:

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Bird & Diz by Gary Goglio, illustrated by Ed Young
Presents a rhythmic tribute to Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, and their creation of bebop.

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Dizzy by Jonah Winter, illustrated by Sean Qualls
After arriving in New York, John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie was soon playing with the famous Cab Calloway Band, but his clowning around got him fired. Dizzy kept trying out his new music which took over the world of jazz. He had invented “bebop!”

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Ellington Was Not a Street by Ntozake Shange, illustrated by Kadir Nelson
A poem from the author’s first collection of poetry pays tribute to the community of talented artists that frequented her childhood home.

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I See the Rhythm by Toyomi Igus, illustrated by Michele Wood
Chronicles and captures poetically the history, mood, and movement of African American music.

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Jazz Day: The Making of a Famous Photograph by Roxane Orgill, illustrated by Francis Vallejo
When Esquire magazine planned an issue to salute the American jazz scene in 1958, graphic designer Art Kane pitched a crazy idea: how about gathering a group of beloved jazz musicians and photographing them? He didn’t own a good camera, didn’t know if any musicians would show up, and insisted on setting up the shoot in front of a Harlem brownstone. Could he pull it off? In a captivating collection of poems, Roxane Orgill steps into the frame of Harlem 1958, bringing to life the musicians’ mischief and quirks, their memorable style, and the vivacious atmosphere of a Harlem block full of kids on a hot summer’s day. Francis Vallejo’s vibrant, detailed, and wonderfully expressive paintings do loving justice to the larger-than-life quality of jazz musicians of the era. Includes bios of several of the fifty-seven musicians, an author’s note, sources, a bibliography, and a foldout of Art Kane’s famous photograph.

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Jazz for Kids: Everybody’s Boppin’ featuring various artists
This introduction to jazz includes music by greats like Dizzy Gillespie as well as original songs.

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Jazz on a Saturday Night by Leo & Diane Dillon
If you have ever been lucky enough to hear great jazz, then you will understand the pure magic of this book. Leo and Diane Dillon use bright colors and musical patterns that make music skip off the page in this toe-tapping homage to many jazz greats. From Miles Davis and Charlie Parker to Ella Fitzgerald, here is a dream team sure to knock your socks off. Learn about this popular music form and read a biography of each player pictured-and then hear each instrument play on a specially produced CD. What’s the featured song? “Jazz on a Saturday Night,” written and recorded to accompany this book.

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Portraits of African-American Heroes by Tanya Bolden
A stunningly beautiful picture book profiles twenty outstanding African-Americans with a three-page biography and black-and-white portrait of each, ranging from historical to contemporary figures who made a difference in their field.

Happy Anniversary!

Today is the 50th anniversary of the Loving vs. Virginia decision!

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The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage by Selina Alko; illustrated by Sean Qualls and Selina Alko.
The story of interracial couple Mildred and Richard Perry, who got married in Washington, D.C., and were arrested after they returned to Virginia, and took their legal case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Remembering Patricia McKissack

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We recently lost a much-honored author, Patricia McKissack. She was particularly known for writing about African American history (often collaborating with her husband), but her talent was wide-ranging and she also wrote realistic fiction, science fiction, picture books, beginning readers, religious works (she was an editor at Concordia Publishing House) and collections of folktales and traditional rhymes. We would be happy to help you find her books in our collection or place a hold on titles available from other libraries.

African American History Biographies, part 2

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Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe
Jean-Michael Basquiat and his unique, collage-style paintings rocked to fame in the 1980s as a cultural phenomenon unlike anything the art work had ever seen. But before that, he was a little boy who saw art everywhere: in poetry books and museums, in games and in the words that we speak, and in the pulsing energy of New York City. Now, award-winning illustrator Javaka Steptoe’s vivid text and bold artwork echoing Basquiat’s own introduce young readers to the powerful message and art doesn’t always have to be neat or clean–and definitely not inside the lines–to be beautiful.
(If you’re not sure you know his work, that painting being hung at the end of the last episode of Luke Cage is a Basquiat.)
The stickers on the cover indicate that artist Javaka Steptoe (whose father has his own award named after him) won the Caldecott Medal and was the 2017 Coretta Scott King Book Awards Illustrator Winner.

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A Spy Called James: The True Story of James Lafayette, Revolutionary War Double Agent by Anne Rockwell; illustrated by Floyd Cooper
The true story of James Lafayette, a slave who spied for George Washington’s army during the American Revolution. But while America celebrated its newfound freedom, James returned to slavery. His service hadn’t qualified him for the release he’d been hoping for. For James the fight wasn’t over; he’d already helped his country gain its freedom, now it was time to win his own.

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Step Right Up: How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World about Kindness by Donna Janell Bowman; illustrated by Daniel Minter
A picture book biography of Dr. William Key, a former slave and self-trained veterinarian who taught his horse, Jim, to read and write and who together with Jim became one of the most famous traveling performance acts around the turn of the twentieth century.

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Strong Inside: The True Story of How Perry Wallace Broke College Basketball’s Color Line by Andrew Maraniss
Perry Wallace was born at an historic crossroads in U.S. history. He entered kindergarten the year that the Brown v. Board of Education decision led to integrated schools, allowing blacks and whites to learn side by side. A week after Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, Wallace enrolled in high school and his sensational jumping, dunking, and rebounding abilities quickly earned him the attention of college basketball recruiters from top schools across the nation. In his senior year his Pearl High School basketball team won Tennessee’s first racially-integrated state tournament. The world seemed to be opening up at just the right time, and when Vanderbilt University recruited Wallace to play basketball, he courageously accepted the assignment to desegregate the Southeastern Conference. The hateful experiences he would endure on campus and in the hostile gymnasiums of the Deep South turned out to be the stuff of nightmares. Yet Wallace persisted, endured, and met this unthinkable challenge head on. This insightful biography digs deep beneath the surface to reveal a complicated, profound, and inspiring story of an athlete turned civil rights trailblazer.

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Tiny Stitches: The Life of Medical Pioneer Vivien Thomas by Gwendolyn Hooks; illustrated by Colin Bootman
Biography of Vivien Thomas, an African-American surgical technician who pioneered the procedure used to treat babies with a heart defect known as ‘blue baby syndrome.’

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Whoosh! Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions by Chris Barton; illustrated by Don Tate
Chronicles the life and achievements of the NASA engineer and inventor, from his childhood to his accidental invention of the Super Soaker water gun.

African American History in Poetry

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Freedom in Congo Square by Carole Boston Weatherford; illustrated by R. Gregory Christie
As slaves relentlessly toiled in an unjust system in 19th century Louisiana, they all counted down the days until Sunday, when at least for half a day they were briefly able to congregate in Congo Square in New Orleans. Here they were free to set up an open market, sing, dance, and play music. They were free to forget their cares, their struggles, and their oppression. This story chronicles slaves’ duties each day, from chopping logs on Mondays to baking bread on Wednesdays to plucking hens on Saturday, and builds to the freedom of Sundays and the special experience of an afternoon spent in Congo Square.
This title received honors as a Caldecott Honor Book and a King Illustrator Honor Book this year.

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Jazz Day: The Making of a Famous Photograph by Roxanne Orgill; illustrated by Francis Vallejo
When Esquire magazine planned an issue to salute the American jazz scene in 1958, graphic designer Art Kane pitched a crazy idea: how about gathering a group of beloved jazz musicians and photographing them? He didn’t own a good camera, didn’t know if any musicians would show up, and insisted on setting up the shoot in front of a Harlem brownstone. Could he pull it off? In a captivating collection of poems, Roxane Orgill steps into the frame of Harlem 1958, bringing to life the musicians’ mischief and quirks, their memorable style, and the vivacious atmosphere of a Harlem block full of kids on a hot summer’s day. Francis Vallejo’s vibrant, detailed, and wonderfully expressive paintings do loving justice to the larger-than-life quality of jazz musicians of the era. Includes bios of several of the fifty-seven musicians, an author’s note, sources, a bibliography, and a foldout of Art Kane’s famous photograph.

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Let’s Clap, Jump, Sing & Shout; Dance, Spin, and Turn It Out! Games, Songs, & Stories from an African American Childhood collected by Patricia C. McKissack; illustrated by Brian Pinkney
Parents and grandparents will delight in sharing this exuberant book with the children in their lives. Here is a songbook, a storybook, a poetry collection, and much more, all rolled into one. Find a partner for hand claps such as “Eenie, Meenie, Sassafreeny,” or form a circle for games like “Little Sally Walker.” Gather as a family to sing well-loved songs like “Amazing Grace” and “Oh, Freedom,” or to read aloud the poetry of such African American luminaries as Langston Hughes, James Weldon Johnson, and Paul Laurence Dunbar. And snuggle down to enjoy classic stories retold by the author, including Aesop’s fables and tales featuring Br’er Rabbit and Anansi the Spider.

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One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance by Nikki Grimes
In this collection of poetry, Nikki Grimes looks afresh at the poets of the Harlem Renaissance — including voices like Langston Hughes, Georgia Douglas Johnson, and many more writers of importance and resonance from this era — by combining their work with her own original poetry. Using “The Golden Shovel” poetic method, Grimes has written a collection of poetry that is as gorgeous as it is thought-provoking. This special book also includes original artwork in full-color from some of today’s most exciting African American illustrators, who have created pieces of art based on Nikki’s original poems.
Nikki Grimes is the 2017 winner of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award for her “substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children.”

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A Poem for Peter: The Story of Ezra Jack Keats and the Creation of The Snowy Day by Andrea Davis Pinkney
A celebration of the extraordinary life of Ezra Jack Keats, creator of The Snowy Day. The story of The Snowy Day begins more than one hundred years ago, when Ezra Jack Keats was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. The family were struggling Polish immigrants, and … it was many years before Keats’s greatest dream was realized and he had the opportunity to write and illustrate his own book. For more than two decades, Ezra had kept pinned to his wall a series of photographs of an adorable African American child. In Keats’s hands, the boy morphed into Peter, a boy in a red snowsuit, out enjoying the pristine snow; the book became The Snowy Day, winner of the Caldecott Medal, the first mainstream book to feature an African American child. It was also the first of many books featuring Peter and the children of his — and Keats’s — neighborhood. Andrea Davis Pinkney’s lyrical narrative tells the inspiring story of a boy who pursued a dream, and who, in turn, inspired generations of other dreamers

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You Can Fly: The Tuskegee Airmen by Carole Boston Weatherford; art by Jeffery Boston Weatherford
This history in verse celebrates the story of the Tuskegee Airmen: pioneering African-American pilots who triumphed in the skies and past the color barrier.