5 Books to Read for Black History Month
February is Black History Month, an opportunity to teach your children about the historical accomplishments and struggles of African Americans. By connecting children with history, they’ll gain a better understanding of the world they live in and develop compassion for other people.
Taken from the Kumon Recommended Reading List, below is a collection of inspirational books honoring African heritage.
- Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears by Verna Aardema
This Caldecott Medal-winning folktale from Africa demonstrates the consequences of lying to others through a story of a mosquito causing a jungle disaster. This well-illustrated, moral lesson is funny and a great conversation starter about telling the truth.
- The Day GoGo Went to Vote by Elinor Batezat Sisulu
This beautifully illustrated book marks a pivotal event in history. In 1994, South Africa held their first general election where all races could vote. As a result, Nelson Mandela was elected the first black head of state in that country. The story is told through the eyes of a young, excited girl who accompanies her frail and respected grandmother to the voting booth for this milestone occasion.
- Amos Fortune: Free Man by Elizabeth Yates
This biographical novel won the Newbery Medal for excellence in American children’s literature. Amos Fortune was a young, African prince captured by slave traders, sent overseas, and sold at an auction in New England. This inspiring true story is of a courageous man who goes on to master a trade and gain his freedom at 60 years old.
- The Other Side of Truth by Beverley Naidoo
Taking place in 1995, this Carnegie Medal winning novel tells a story of two siblings who are exiled out of Nigeria by their father after the children are left motherless by the actions of the corrupt government soldiers. The children flee to England and become Nigerian political refugees in a deeply engaging tale including the highly suspenseful reunification with their father. This book offers a world-view of the complexities in life including human rights and clashes of cultures.
- Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton
Taking place in South Africa, this important book tells a compassionate story leading up to apartheid from 1948-1994. It weaves together the lives of a black minister, a white farmer, and the son of each. The reader is immediately caught up in the gravity of each character’s situation and irrevocably drawn into the plot that ensures. By the end, the profound power of the human spirit prevails.