April 19, 2014

African-American children’s books that inspire and empower

by Shannon Harmon

You don’t have to wait until African-American history month to learn about and celebrate the lives of powerful men and women who contributed greatly to the well-being of all Americans. Not sure where to start? Here are some really amazing books that demonstrate the power of leadership and courage in the face of tremendous obstacles. We’ve often heard the names Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman, and these amazing women led complex, challenging lives and rose above hardship.

Sojourner Truth’s Step-Stomp Stride
By: Andrea Davis Pinkney
Illustrated By Brian Pinkney

Her story is layered, and you may be reluctant to share a book on slavery with a young child. However, this book does a great job of engaging young minds through a vibrant retelling of Sojourner’s life. She was a towering figure with an electrifying voice, and when she spoke, people paid attention. Sojourner knew that no one would hand out equal rights, and she traveled across the country fighting for equality.

We’re inspired by her bravery and courage in the face of death threats and other indignities. Acclaimed children’s author Andrea Davis Pinkney takes her story and makes it accessible for young children in the 4-6 age range. By doing so, she ensures that Sojourner’s rich history will be carried forward to future generations.

Who Is Harriet Tubman?
By: Yona Zeldis McDonough
Illustrated by Nancy Harrison

This lively and engaging story takes us on a journey through the life of Harriet Tubman. She was a leader, freedom fighter, and courageous African American woman who stood for something larger than herself. As she found her way to freedom, she personified the notion that “we are our brother’s keeper” and risked her life countless times to bring others to freedom as a conductor on the Underground Railroad. Ms. Tubman’s bravery saved lives and kept families intact. She is a remarkable example of fortitude and fearlessness.

A Picture Book of Sojourner Truth
By: David Adler
Illustrated By: Gershom Griffith

This easy-to-read picture book can be enjoyed by young children from 4-6 who read independently. The book focuses on Sojourner’s childhood and how she grew up to make such a huge difference for African Americans, women and all Americans. Children will put this book down feeling proud and inspired to prepare themselves for leadership.

The Story of Martin Luther King, Jr.
By: Johnny Ray Moore

We’ve heard the story of Dr. King before, but this book makes his story accessible to the youngest of readers in a easy-to-hold board book. He touched so many lives with his bravery, courage and unbreakable spirit, and this book ensures that his legacy lives on. It’s never too early for kids to begin to learn about hard work, integrity and leadership–all hallmarks of Dr. King’s life.

These great books for children would be a perfect addition to any bookshelf as these pages are filled with heart, courage and leadership–an example for African American children and all children.

Shannon is a writer, attorney and entrepreneur. She is committed to empowering families through proper legal protection, literacy and entrepreneurship.

Visit her at http://www.writewellforbusiness.com and http://www.multicultibaby.com/
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Kristina Daniele

Kristina Daniele

Kristina, Founder and Oz of We of Hue is one of many doing it across hues-homeschooling, wifing, mothering, and business building. She is a web designer and social media consultant with a love of building communities on line. She looks forward to intelligent conversation that is eye-opening and statement-making.

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