Illustrated Fiction – Selections for Black History Month

With longer story lines, more challenging vocabulary, and amazing illustrations, the picture book titles we call  illustrated fiction work well  as part of a curriculum unit for students in the middle grades or junior high.  This month I’ve selected several stories that can be used to supplement curriculum for Black History month celebrated in February. In an effort to offer more context for these illustrated fiction titles, I’ve also included links to videos about the famous African American people and events featured in the stories.

 Almost to Freedom by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson is a captivating account told from the point of view of an enslaved child’s beloved rag doll of escape from slavery via the Underground Railroad. Suspenseful and poignant it is a story of hope and resilience.

  Freedom on the Menu: the Greensboro Sit-ins by Carole Boston Weatherford is told from viewpoint of a little girl whose older brother and sister join the NAACP and participate in the lunch counter sit-ins during the seven month protest.
 Boycott Blues: How Rosa Parks Inspired a Nation by Andera Davis Pinkney combines poetic verse in the rhythm of the blues with riveting artwork to tell the story of the 1955 Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott. It makes for an amazing read aloud and effectively communicates the grim determination of the 40,000 participants in the 13–month–long boycott.

 Looking for more illustrated fiction titles? To search our illustrated fiction collection, enter illustrated fiction in the keyword search box of our catalog, then limit your search by clicking on Community Tags on the left side of the page. Questions? Contact Susan Carlton at scarlton@skokielibrary.info

Posted under Books & Reading, Curriculum Resources, School, Teachers

Hot Resources for Cool Curriculum-Black History Month

Just recently I took some time to view portions of two of the many videos available in the collection, American History in Video, thinking that I might find some interesting resource material for use during Black History Month.  American History in Video provides the largest and richest collection of video available online for the study of American history. The collection allows students and researchers to analyze historical events, and their presentation over time, through commercial and governmental newsreels, archival footage, public affairs footage, and important documentaries. American History in Video was named a Library Journal 2009 Best Reference, in addition to being named as Booklist Editors’ Choice: Reference Sources 2009 winner. You can access it from our website using your teacher library card number.

The 8 minute Universal Newsreel from August 29, 1963 shows events during the march on Washington D.C. in stark black and white footage. I could see the hundreds of thousands of people crammed onto the mall and hear the words of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.  Showing this news clip to your entire class by using a SmartBoard or a projector puts students in that moment in time. You might also want to pair it with a picture book for older readers such as, I Have a Dream, which presents the eloquent speech in its entirety as seen through the eyes of 15 African American artists who have won the Coretta Scott King Award or received a Coretta Scott King honor book designation.

Another possibility for classroom use is a longer video, American in the 20th Century: The Civil Rights Movement, Reconstruction to Redemption (Media Rich Communications) which puts the civil rights movement in historical context and is  appropriate for middle school students. Consider pairing this video with Freedom Walkers; The Story of the Mongomery Bus Boycott by Russell Freedman. This ALA Notable Book for Children combines an attractive photo-essay design with writing that allows the reader to almost experience the events so compellingly described. Another photo-essay, Reaching for Freedom by Elizabeth Partridge, winner of the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award as well as the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award and a National Book Award Finalist documents the role children played in the movement’s progress and eventual success.

Posted under Audio-Visual, Books & Reading, Databases, Teachers