Monday, October 15, 2018

Bookmarks: Children's Books on Civil Rights

The Civil Rights movement in the mid-1900’s is a difficult topic to teach children since there was so much hatred shown. It is never enjoyable to read about people being treated unkindly.  But I think it is an important era of history for children to understand, even though I may not agree with all the actions of those who fought for civil rights

Here is some carefully selected books to share with your children to help start a discussion about God’s love for all people and the danger of prejudice.

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by Elizabeth Fitzgerald Howard, illustrated by E.B. Lewis
Slavery has ended, and education is now available for southern blacks. Virgie wants to go to school with her brothers, but they say that it is too far for her to walk. And, besides, girls don’t need school. But Virgie knows that everyone needs to learn. Based on a true story from Tennessee.

by Margot Lee Shetterly, illustrated by Laura Freeman
Before computers, inventors and scientists had to do the math figures needed. Learn about four amazing math whizzes and their impact on the U.S. space program despite the prejudice that surrounded them.

by Brad Meltzer, illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos
Learn about the impact that one pastor had on America. Comic-style illustrations combine into a great short biography of Martin Luther King, Jr.


by Ruby Bridges
When little Ruby walked into a New Orleans school surrounded by U.S. marshals in 1960, she didn't know that she was making history. Years later, Ruby recalls that momental event and the challenges that faced her community. Photographs and quotes from others help tell Ruby's story. Highly recommended.

by Robert Coles, illustrated by George Ford
Ruby was the first child to go to an all-white elementary school in New Orleans. Despite threats and danger, Ruby's courage and faith in God is shown through this picture book.

by Deborah Wiles, illustrated by Jerome Lagarrigue
A law has been passed in 1964 to end segregation. Finally best friends Joe and John Henry can enjoy swimming together at the pool. But they soon find that a law doesn’t change hearts. Colorful paintings share the story of southern racism, and the friendship that can surmount it.

by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by E.B. Lewis
Mama says to never climb over the fence when you play, but when the white girl comes and sits on the fence, Clover and Annie find a way to overcome the barrier. Don’t miss this sweet story.

by Sharon M. Draper
This is the only chapter length book on this list. I was searching for historical fiction books on civil rights for older elementary students and rejected numerous books before finding this gem. Stella knows that she lives in the segregated south of North Carolina, but when Stella see the Klan's fire by the pond, she feels danger for the first time. A view of the civil rights struggle through a close-knit community during the Great Depression.

Do you have any recommendations for books on civil rights?

11 comments :

  1. Darby by Jonathon Scott Fuqua. It's been a number of years since I read this one, and there were a few traces of schoolgirl romance. You may want to scan it yourself before turning it over to your pre-teen girls. It was given to my daughter Darbi by one of my friends on account of her name. ☺

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    1. Thanks! I never heard of this book. I'll check it out.
      Gina

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  2. I have both Ruby Bridges books you mentioned above. My daughters are now young adults but I couldn't part with them.
    A couple of books I recommend that I also kept are Scholastic's Let's Read About Rosa Parks written by Courtney Baker and When Marian Sang by Pam Munoz Ryan another Scholastic book. It's the story of Marian Anderson. Both books are really good and I think you and your children might like them.

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    1. Those are two women we should read about. Thanks for the recommendations.
      Gina

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  3. I don't know if this counts as "civil rights," but Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry is a classic but definitely recommended for older children.

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    1. I remember being very impacted by reading Roll of Thunder when I was a teen. I wasn't thinking that my children would be ready for it yet, but I should reread it to check.
      Gina

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  4. Mildred Taylor-Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry,
    She's written a number of books. I would use a little caution with very young readers, but if you're educating your children about civil rights, these are excellently written.

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  5. Gina, THANK YOU for highlighting these books today. I think this topic is diminished or ignored or discredited in our conservative Anabaptist circles to our shame. I also suggest that every school child should listen to Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech at least once a year. We even memorized the last part of it. Barb https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I47Y6VHc3Ms

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  6. Robert Coles is one of my favorite authors :) I'm used to his books about psychiatry, and his biographies of other people - it would be interesting to read a kid's book by him.

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    1. Coles actually met with Ruby Bridges numerous times during the time of this story so it is neat that he wrote her story.
      Gina

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  7. I hesitated giving our children Mildred Taylor's books, due to maybe children having too much responsibility/not obeying parents all that well, but once they discovered them, they love them so much, all the way down to the 6 yo. There are quite a few in the series, and our children listen to the books on tape from the library. Our children would have been abolitionists in slavery time, and civil rights activists in 1950's, I'm sure!

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