Saturday, April 18, 2015

Black History Going Strong: Part 1

February was Black History Month.  It was a month to reflect on the past, think about the present and hope for the future.  

Posting this quite late in order to keep it going.  Here are some reading suggestions.  I am so excited to share this because there was so much amazing stuff out there to put into this list.   I wanted to cover the fuller spectrum of black history so I didn't limit myself to a specific event or time period.

There will be a part two  and three, which will cover middle grade/young adult, some  non-fiction titles and picture books.  I hope you enjoy it.

Graphic Novels:

I See the Promised Land
written by Arthur Flowers
illustrated by Manu Chitrakar

In this biographical graphic novel, readers will experience full colour moments from Martin Luther King Jr.'s life.   From his experiences with apartheid in the South to his involvement in building civil rights groups.  In his descriptions of events,  Arthur Flowers weaves his own musical writing style with pieces of King's actual speeches.  The book beautifully reveals the story behind the figure and gives readers a better understanding of the man that led the way for change. 

*****Recommended for teens and adults.

March: Book One
written by John Robert Lewis 
& Andrew Aydin
illustrated Nate Powell

In the first book of the trilogy, John Robert Lewis shows and tells readers his life in his own voice.  Follow him through his younger years spent in Alabama.  Watch him meet Martin Luther King Jr.  See him during the beginnings of the Nashville Student Movement.  Lewis paints an honest picture of his experiences that will resonate now and with future generations.

*****March: Book Two is already out.  This book is recommended for teens and adults.

Strange Fruit: Vol. 1
Uncelebrated Narratives from Black History
written &  illustrated 
by Joel Christian Gill

This graphic novel collects stories about nine figures in black history that are seldom discussed or celebrated for their triumphs.  One of them being Marshall "Major" Taylor, who was the first black champion in sports.  Another being a magician named Richard Potter.  Each individual is profiled and given unique treatment in this anthology. 

***** Recommended for teens and adults.

Canadian Content:

Harriet's Daughter
by Marlene Nourbese Philip

Margaret Cruickshank has the wildest imagination.  She spends her time with friends pretending to be Harriet Tubman, leading them to freedom on the underground railroad.  One day, she meets Zulma.  Recently emigrated from Tobago, Zulma is finding her new life in Canada difficult and longs to be back home with her grandmother.  As the girls become close friends, Margaret vows to figure out how to get Zulma back to Tobago.

I read Harriet's Daughter book for a Children's Literature class at Uni and man, does it stay with you.  It's a slice of diaspora in Canada.  It deals a lot with identity not just with someone who is new to a country but also with someone who is a 2nd generation Canadian.

The Kids Book of Black Canadian History
by Rosemary Sadlier

This book collects events and stories from the earliest recorded Black Canadians to the most recent inspiring African immigrants.   It contains timelines, fun facts and individual profiles of important figures.

A really exciting book that focuses on an important part of Canadian history.


The below video is about an exhibit at the Toronto Public Library that has photographs, historical documents, manuscripts and paintings from and about black Torontonians.   It is called Freedom City: Uncovering Toronto's Black History.

The below video is also from the Toronto Public Library and is presented by the historian Afua Cooper.  She discusses the beginning of the Underground Railroad.

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