Candlewick Press' Black History Month Book Suggestions
The Freedom Maze by Delia Sherman
9780763669751 ? January 2014 ? Paperback ? $6.99 ? 272 pages ? 10 years and up
Thirteen-year-old Sophie isn't happy about spending the summer of 1960 at her grandmother's old house in the bayou. Bored and lonely, she can't resist exploring the house's maze, or making an impulsive wish for a fantasy-book adventure with herself as the heroine. What she gets instead is a real adventure: a trip back in time to 1860 and the race-haunted world of her family's Louisiana sugar plantation. Here, President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation is still two years in the future and passage of the Thirteenth Amendment is almost four years away. And here, Sophie is mistaken, by her own ancestors, for a slave.
Willow by Tonya Cherie Hegamin
9780763657697 ? February 2014 ? Hardcover ? $16.99 ? 384 pages ? 14 years and up
On one side of the Mason-Dixon Line lives fifteen-year-old Willow, her master's favorite servant. She's been taught to read and has learned to write. She believes her master is good to her and fears the rebel slave runaways. On the other side of the line is seventeen-year-old Cato, a black man, freeborn. It's his personal mission to sneak as many fugitive slaves to freedom as he can. Willow's and Cato's lives are about to intersect, with life-changing consequences for both of them. Tonya Cherie Hegamin's moving coming-of-age story is a poignant meditation on the many ways a person can be enslaved, and the force of will needed to be truly emancipated.
Africa is My Home by Monica Edinger; illustrated by Robert Byrd
9780763650384 ? October 2013 ? Hardcover ? $17.99 ? 384 pages ? 10 years and up
When a drought hits her homeland in Sierra Leone, nine-year-old Magulu is sold as a pawn by her father in exchange for rice. But before she can work off her debt, an unthinkable chain of events unfolds: a capture by slave traders; weeks in a dark and airless hold; a landing in Cuba, where she and three other children are sold and taken aboard the Amistad; a mutiny aboard ship; a trial in New Haven that eventually goes all the way to the Supreme Court and is argued in the Africans' favor by John Quincy Adams. Narrated in a remarkable first-person voice, this fictionalized book of memories of a real-life figure retells history through the eyes of a child -- from seeing mirrors for the first time and struggling with laughably complicated clothing to longing for family and a home she never forgets. Lush, full-color illustrations by Robert Byrd, plus archival photographs and documents, bring an extraordinary journey to life.
«"[A] remarkable story of resilience, faith, and hope... With more than 40 stunning illustrations, this unique narrative should find an appreciative audience." - School Library Journal (starred review)
Come August, Come Freedom by Gigi Amateau
9780763668709 ? January 2014 ? Paperback ? $6.99 ? 272 pages ? 12 years and up
In a time of post-Revolutionary fervor in Richmond, Virginia, an imposing twenty-four-year-old slave named Gabriel, known for his courage and intellect, plotted a rebellion involving thousands of African- American freedom seekers armed with refashioned pitchforks and other implements of Gabriel's blacksmith trade. History knows little of Gabriel's early life. But here, author Gigi Amateau imagines a childhood shaped by a mother's devotion, a father's passion for liberation, and a friendship with a white master's son who later proved cowardly and cruel. She gives vibrant life to Gabriel's love for his wife-to-be, Nanny, a slave woman whose freedom he worked tirelessly, and futilely, to buy. Interwoven with original documents, this poignant, illuminating novel gives a personal face to a remarkable moment in history.
«"Amateau's prose is appropriately passionate, but it's tempered with disciplined restraint and moments of startling delicacy. Although the subject of this title will call to historical fiction readers who appreciate such thoughtful works as M. T. Anderson'sOctavian Nothing, teens who approach history with the poetic insight of Marilyn Nelson will also find Amateau's chronicle rewarding." - Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (starred review)
Courage Has No Color by Tanya Lee Stone
9780763665487 ? October 2013 ? Paperback ? $17.99 ? 160 pages ? 10 years and up
World War II is raging, and thousands of American soldiers are fighting overseas against the injustices brought on by Hitler. Back on the home front, discrimination against African Americans plays out as much on Main Street as in the military. Tanya Lee Stone examines the little-known history of the Triple Nickles, America's first black paratroopers, who fought in an attack on the American West by the Japanese. The 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion, in the words of First Sergeant Walter Morris, "proved that the color of a man had nothing to do with his ability."
«"An exceptionally well-researched, lovingly crafted, and important tribute to unsung American heroes." -Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
«"A captivating look at a small but significant piece of military and civil rights history." -Publishers Weekly (starred review)
What Color is My World by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Raymond Obstfeld
9780763664428 ? December 2013 ? Paperback ? $5.99 ? 96 pages ? 8 yrs - 12 yrs
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, basketball legend and the NBA's all-time leading scorer, champions a lineup of little-known African-American inventors in this lively, kid-friendly book. Offering profiles with fast facts and framed by a funny contemporary story featuring two feisty twins, here is a tribute to black inventors whose ingenuity and perseverance against great odds made our world safer, better, and brighter.
"A playful history." - USA Today
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