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The Library's Early Literacy Program

The Library's Early Literacy Program

EARLY LITERACY BLOG

Celebrate Black Brilliance in February!

February is Black History Month, an opportunity to celebrate and learn more about Black Americans and Black history and how both have contributed to America. The Library is welcoming families to a series of special storytimes designed to focus on books written and illustrated by Black creators. You can find the full list of Celebrating Black Brilliance Storytimes on our Programs page.

It is important to read books about all kinds of people and families all the time, not just in February, so use the Celebrate Black History booklist to add some new titles to your children's book diet!

Alma's Art by Roda Ahmed
Meet Alma, she loves to paint. With each new bucket of paint she finds, brushstroke by brushstroke, page by page, magic appears. Welcome to Alma's World. Alma's Art is inspired by the little-known African American painter Alma Woodsey Thomas, the treasured expressionist who made her national debut in the art world at age 80. Alma kept beauty and happiness at the forefront of her painting technique, studying how light and color worked together in the shapes and patterns on her canvases.

Barack Obama by Katlin Sarantou
This book examines the life of Barack Obama, the 44th president of the United States, in a simple, age-appropriate way that will help young readers develop word recognition and reading skills.

Big by Vashti Harrison
Praised for acting like a big girl when she is small, as a young girl grows, big becomes a word of criticism, until the girl realizes that she is fine just the way she is.

Hey Black Child by Useni Eugene Perkins
A lyrical, empowering poem that celebrates black children and seeks to inspire all young ones to dream big and achieve their goals.

I Am an Antiracist Superhero! by Jennifer Nicole Bacon
I am an Antiracist Superhero! is a story about 6-year-old Malik, who after learning about racism, decides to change the world by becoming an antiracist superhero. With the help of his parents, Malik learns that even when he is feeling scared, he can still be a superhero by Looking, Listening, Feeling, and Acting! Join Malik and his friends as they help other children feel safe, included, and empowered.

I Am Rosa Parks by Brad Meltzer
Recounts Rosa Parks' daring effort to stand up for herself and other African Americans by helping to end segregation on public transportation.

Let the Children March by Monica Clark-Robinson
Under the leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King, children and teenagers march against segregation in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963.

Little Black Lives Matter by Khodi Dill
Little Black Lives Matter empowers all children, but Black children especially, by affirming that their lives, however little they may yet be, matter. Featuring fifteen great Black heroes of the past and the powerful words they spoke and actions they took, Little Black Lives Matter is a rhyming board book that incorporates memorable quotations and a reminder to little ones that each of these great people once lived a little Black life themselves.

Mae Among the Stars by Roda Ahmed
When young Mae Jemison is asked by her teacher what she wants to be when she grows up, African American Mae tells her mostly white classmates that she wants to be an astronaut, a dream that her parents wholeheartedly support.

Martin's Big Words : the Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Doreen Rappaport
A brief biographical sketch of Martin Luther King, Jr., one of the greatest figures in the American civil rights movement.

Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe
This picture book biography of the 1980's cultural phenom introduces young readers to the powerful message that art doesn't always have to be neat or clean--and definitely not inside the lines--to be beautiful.

Ready to Fly : How Sylvia Townsend Became the Bookmobile Ballerina by Lea Lyon
Ready to Fly is the true story of Sylvia Townsend, an African American girl who falls in love with ballet after seeing Swan Lake on TV. Although there aren't many ballet schools that will accept a girl like Sylvia in the 1950s, her local bookmobile provides another possibility. A librarian helps Sylvia find a book about ballet and the determined seven-year-old, with the help of her new books, starts teaching herself the basics of classical ballet. Soon Sylvia learns how to fly-- how to dance--and how to dare to dream.

Stacey's Extraordinary Words by Stacey Abrams
When she is chosen to compete in the local spelling bee, Stacey learns that, win or lose, her words are powerful, and sometimes perseverance is the most important word of all, in this debut picture book from the iconic voting rights advocate.

The Artivist by Nikkolas Smith
Motivated by the realization of global inequities, a young boy embraces his dual identities as an artist and activist, becoming an Artivist to make a difference by using his viral mural as a catalyst for positive change.

There Was a Party for Langston by Jason Reynolds
A celebration of Langston Hughes and African American authors he inspired, told through the lens of the party held at the New York Public Library's Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in 1991.

We Are Here by Tami Charles
Lyrical, affirmational, and bursting with love, We Are Here is a poignant story about Black and brown heritage and community. Full of assurance, tenderness, and triumph, this much-anticipated follow-up to the New York Times bestselling picture book All Because You Matter offers an equally inspirational and arresting ode to all of the Black women and men throughout history who have made momentous contributions from the beginning of time.

You Come From Greatness: A Celebration of Black History: A Picture Book by Sara Chinakwe
A young boy learns that he is walking in the footsteps of greatness through a vibrant, lyrical retelling of Black history--both a love letter to Black children and an anthem empowering them to know their God-given worth.