The month of February brings us Valentine’s Day and Black History Month. Our picks range from a shy bunny who struggles with confidence to trailblazing women of color in politics. The books selected for this month’s book corner teach us the importance of perseverance, appreciation, and a call for unity despite our differences.
Valeria by Margarita del Mazo
Illustrated by Ester Garcia
Spanish award-winning author Margarita del Mazo teams up with illustrator Ester Garcia for their newest children’s book, “Valeria.” Valeria is a shy bunny who loves learning, going to school and being outdoors. However, she underestimates her best qualities and constantly looks down, only recognizing her classmates based on the shoes they wear. One day, Valeria loses her inseparable hat and is forced to look at the world around her. Soon, Valeria celebrates her qualities and appreciates the world around her. “Valeria” is published by Cuento de Luz, a publication company based in Madrid, Spain that specializes in children’s literature. Ages 4-8.
Marley and the Family Band
By Cedella Marley and Tracey Baptiste, illustrated by Tiffany Rose
New York Times best-selling author Cedella Marley releases her newest children’s book, “Marley and the Family Band.” Inspired the author’s own childhood, this story is about a young girl who moves to a new country and learns to make new friends. As the leader of her siblings, Marley uses her problem-solving skills and empathy to bridge the differences in her new community through music. Cedella Marley’s newest children’s book contributes to the legacy of her father, Bob Marley and showcases the power of unity and family.
I’m Growing Great
Written and illustrated by Mechal Renee Roe
The author of “Happy Hair” and “CoolCuts” releases her follow-up book “I’m Growing Great.” Like her previous children’s books, Roe’s newest installment celebrates Black joy. “I’m Growing Great” features girls with elaborate floral hairstyles as they celebrate what makes them unique. With bright art and powerful text, this children’s book promotes confidence and positivity that perfect for girls and women of all ages.
Butterflies In Me
By Denisha Seals, illustrated by Gabhor Utomo
Award winning filmmaker and poet Denisha Seals releases “Butterflies In Me: An Anthology Bringing Awareness to Mental Health.” As a survivor of childhood abuse, Seals’ tells the stories of four children from marginalized communities overcoming mental health issues with the help of a caring adult. Repeated throughout the book is the mantra, “You are special, strong, and you did nothing wrong.” Seals’ newest children’s book highlights resilience and triumph of abuse survivors, and the importance of telling one’s story. As part of Black History Month and beyond, Seals’ work aims to share moments of success and happiness rather than focusing on pain and suffering within the Black community. Ages 5-14.
Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre
By Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Floyd Cooper
Winner of multiple awards, including the Coretta Scott King Author award, “Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre” is a picture book that sensitively introduces children to Tulsa Race Massacre. The book provides a powerful look at the history of African Americans in Tulsa’s Greenwood district and highlights the devastation that occurred in 1921 when a white mob attacked the Black community. As a largely suppressed act of racial violence in United States history, “Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre” acknowledges this tragedy with a call for a better future. Grades 3-6.
Speak Up, Speak Out! The Extraordinary Life of Fighting Shirley Chisholm
By Tonya Bolden
In collaboration with National Geographic, Coretta Scott King Honor winner Tonya Bolden releases “Speak Up, Speak Out! The Extraordinary Life of Fighting Shirley Chisholm.” The inspiring biography highlights the success and adversities of Shirley Chisholm, the first black women to be elected to the House of Representatives and first from a major political party to run for president. Chisholm dedicated her life to fighting for fair wages, equal rights, and laying the groundwork for women and people of color who later entered politics. “Speak Up, Speak Out! Ages 10-14.
National Geographic Readers: Stacey Abrams and Kamala Harris (L2)
In celebration of Black History Month, National Geographic releases two biographies that highlight women of color currently in politics, Stacey Abrams and Kamala Harris. Both stories explore each of their journeys, achievements and their challenges.
“National Geographic Readers: Stacey Abrams (L2)” by Melissa H. Mwai outlines Stacey Abrams’ career as a city attorney, and as a minority leader in Georgia’s House of Representatives. Abrams was also the first black women to be nominated by a major political party to run for governor in Georgia. Additionally, “National Geographic Readers: Kamala Harris (L2)” by Tony K. Grant discusses Harris’ childhood, early career and her journey that led to her winning the vice presidency. Kamala Harris is the first woman, first Black woman, and first South Asian American to be elected as Vice President of the United States. Both stories are level 2 text, which provides accessible and wide range information for independent readers. Ages 5-8.
For more book suggestions, check out our January Book Corner.