Editor's Note
Reviews Roundup: Black History Month

From Martin Luther King Jr. to Malcolm X, from the art of the Harlem Renaissance to pioneering advancements in science, the contributions of African Americans in our nation's history has been far-ranging and profound. As we celebrate Black History Month, the reviews team at SLC has highlighted a handful of recently recommended titles that showcase the black experience in all its complexity, spanning the gamut from James Baldwin's fictionalized account of the racism he encountered growing up in 1970s Harlem to Mélina Mangal's picture book portrait of the trailblazing biologist Ernest Everett Just. These titles can serve as an inspirational springboard for educators designing curriculum or as pleasure reading. Ultimately, however, these five titles are noteworthy as they transcend the particular and achieve a universal meaning and significance that will be readily felt by readers and educators alike. These titles would be great choices not only to highlight during Black History Month, but also to include in your collection throughout the year!

Standing Up Against Hate
Farrell, Mary Cronk
Standing Up Against Hate: How Black Women in the Army Helped Change the Course of WWII
2019. Abrams Books for Young Readers. Grades 6-12

A nonfiction writer for youth audiences, Farrell settles in to explain with depth and precision the fight black women faced both in and out of the military as World War II surged. Focused specifically on black women in the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC), the book profiles several key figures.…In addition to the deft writing, images are presented every few pages that reveal a score of brave women who persevered despite suffering discrimination.
—Reviewed by Alicia Abdul
Click here to read the full version of the review

John Lewis and Andrew Aydin
March: Book Three
Illustrated by Nate Powell. 2016. Top Shelf Comics. Grades 9-12

American history and literature teachers will appreciate this first-person account of a troubling time in the country's history, with scenes featuring civil rights heroes like Martin Luther King Jr.; Rosa Parks; Malcolm X; and Lewis himself, while teenagers will be drawn in by the format and action.…This graphic memoir completes the highly acclaimed March trilogy, which details Congressman John Lewis' role in the Civil Rights Movement.
—Reviewed by Tara Williams
Click here to read the full version of the review

Little Man, Little Man
James Baldwin
Little Man, Little Man: A Story of Childhood
Illustrated by Yoran Cazac. 2018. Duke University Press. Grades 6-12

The story's profound depth stems from the implication that childhood innocence is a myth. Baldwin implies, as he does in his other work, that claiming innocence to racism (by adults and children alike) is a poor excuse for avoiding the difficult work required to grapple with it. Baldwin's story of childhood forces the reader to grapple….
—Reviewed by Jenny Gapp
Click here to read the full version of the review

Vast Wonder
Mélina Mangal
The Vast Wonder of the World: Biologist Ernest Everett Just
Illustrated by Luisa Uribe. 2018. Millbrook Press. Grades 3-5

The life of African American scientist Ernest Everett Just is made accessible to students in an appealing picture book format. Mangal chooses to highlight Just's importance as a pioneer in the field of cell biology and the egg fertilization process, as well as his expertise in marine aquatic organisms.…The 2-D pencil and soft-wash illustrations are eye-catching, making for an engaging read aloud.
—Reviewed by Becky Nelson
Click here to read the full version of the review

Hidden Women
Rebecca Rissman
Hidden Women: The African-American Mathematicians of NASA Who Helped America Win the Space Race
2018. Capstone Press. Grades 6-8

Katherine Johnson finished the calculations confirming John Glenn could fly into space. He requested she be the one to do them; he wanted the best brain at NASA and he got it. This is just one of the many stories that come from the women who worked at NASA during the space race….This is the perfect start for students who are interested in reading about this topic and require an easy-to-read format.
—Reviewed by Karen Scott
Click here to read the full version of the review

Alex Casavant, SLC Reviews Team

MLA Citation Casavant, Alex. "Reviews Roundup: Black History Month." School Library Connection, February 2019, schoollibraryconnection.com/Home/Display/2190225.

View all citation styles

Entry ID: 2190225

Back to Top