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Learning as we climb: stories about the Civil Rights Movement for young readers.

Black Issues Book Review's editor for children's books, Suzanne Rust, chose several books to provide a range of choices for young readers this season, as well as the sampling for young-adult readers that follows:

Remember: The Journey to School Integration by Toni Morrison, Houghton Mifflin Company, May 2004, $18.00 ISBN 0-618-39740-X, all ages

This collection of poignant and powerful archival photographs captures the mood and events of school integration. The images, accompanied by Morrison's fictional dialogue, give the reader a feel of this chapter of American history and help children grasp what a tumultuous time it was. Morrison dedicates her book to Addle Mac Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson and Cynthia Wesley, the four little girls who died during the infamous bombing of their Birmingham church in 1963. Morrison writes: "Their lives short, their deaths quick. Neither were in vain."

Malcolm X: A Fire Burning Brightly by Walter Dean Myers, illustrated by Leonard Jenkins, HarperCollins January 2000, $16.99 ISBN 0-060-27707-6, ages 5-8

Because of Malcolm X's controversial messages, children's books about him are not nearly as plentiful as they should be. Myers skillfully approaches Malcolm X from early childhood through a troubled youth and finally to his rise as an important and complex leader. Myers weaves quotes from Malcolm's fiery speeches against the backdrop of Leonard Jenkins's strikingly bold paintings. The combination captures Malcolm's spirit and his changing beliefs.

I've Seen the Promised Land: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by Walter Dean Myers, illustrated by Leonard Jenkins, Amistad Press December 2003, $15.99, ISBN 0-060-27703-3, ages 5-8

Unlike books about Malcolm X, titles about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. abound, especially for children. Once again, Myers's approach to his is special. Here, he takes the life and words of Dr. King and mixes them with an overview of the Civil Rights Movement to create a stirring portrait of the man who guided American society towards the ideals of fairness and freedom. Jenkins's vibrant collage-like illustrations help set this book apart from the pack. Both of these biographies should be on every child's bookshelves.

Promises to Keep: How Jackie Robinson Changed America by Sharon Robinson Scholastic Press February 2004, $16.95 ISBN 0-439-42592-1 ages 9-12

Written with a loving hand by his daughter, this book on Jackie Robinson, the first African American to add some color to the great American pastime, is refreshing. Ms. Robinson shares with readers all of her father's trials, tribulations and triumphs, and her closeness to the subject gives a new perspective of the baseball pioneer. Promises to Keep is chock-full of great photos, both personal professional, as well as memorabilia.

Other Selections God Bless the Child by Billie Holiday, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney, HarperCollins Children's Books January 2004, $16.99, ISBN 0-060-28797-7, all ages

Free at Last! Stories and Songs of Emancipation by Dorren Rappaport illustrated by Shane W. Evans Candlewick Press, January 2004 $19.99, ISBN 0-763-61440-8, age 9-12

In this colorful history book, covering the years from Emancipation in 1863 to the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education, songs, poems, stories and brilliant illustrations aim to educate youngsters about a few of the significant people and moments that display the proudness and determination that is characteristics of the black experience in America.

Billie Holiday's signature song is put to the page with Jerry Pinkney's lush paintings to depict one family's move from the rural South to the urban North during the Great Migration of the 1930s.

The Legend of Buddy Bush by Shelia R Moses Margaret K. McElderry Books January 2004 $15.95, ISBN 0-689-85839-6 ages 12 and up

After living in Harlem, Uncle Goodwin "Buddy" Bush returns home to a small town in North Carolina and shakes things up. It is 1947, but Buddy doesn't act like the local folks and he quickly finds a fan in his niece Pattie Mae Sheals, a precocious and spirited child. When Buddy winds up in jail for a crime he didn't commit many lesson s are learned.

Powerful Words: More Than 200 Years of Extraordinary Writing by African Americans by Wade Hudson, illustrated by Sean Qualls, Foreword by Marian Wright Edelman Scholastic, February 2004 $19.99, ISBN 0-489-40969-1 ages 9-12

Edelman writes in her foreword: "But even in those difficult times and places, black people have always found ways of putting our dreams into words." Powerful Words is a fine collection of writings by more than 30 remarkable people, including Ida B. Wells Barnett, Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. Du Bois, Thurgood Marshall, Toni Morrison and Lauryn Hill among them--all displaying the range of emotions and ideas that have come to express the various aspects of being black in America. Adults, too, will find these words inspiring and uplifting, worthy of rereading over and over.

Papa's Mark by Gwendolyn Battle-Lavert illustrated by Colin Bootman Holiday House, February 2004 $16.95, ISBN 0-823-41650-X

Set circa 1870, when blacks had just been granted the right to vote through the Fifteenth Amendment, rids is a moving tale of a son teaching his father to write his name just in time to cast his ballot. Bootman's warm-toned oil paintings enhance the mood.

Wilma Rudolph: Olympic Runner by Jo Harper, illustrated by Meryl Henderson, Aladdin Library, January 2004, $4.99, ISBN 0-689-85873-6 ages 9-12

From the Childhood of Famous Americans series comes a biography of track-and-field legend Wilma Rudolph. Once we learn about her challenging childhood and how she overcame double pneumonia, scarlet fever and polio, and then being unable to walk normally until the age of 11, Rudolph's determination and accomplishments shine all the brighter.

Some Friend by Marie Bradby Atheneum Books for Young Readers January 2004, $16.99, ISBN 0-689-85615-6 ages 9-12

An engaging story of a young girl's search for and discovery of friendship.

No Laughter Here by Rita Williams Garcia Amistad Press, December 2003 $15.99, ISBN 0-688-16247-9 ages 12 and up

Two young girls, from different backgrounds, explore each others' heritages and traditions.

Shooter by Walter Dean Myers Amistad Press, May 2004 $15.99, ISBN 0-680-29519-8 ages 9-12

Myers tells the gripping story of a high-school student and his involvement in a school shooting.
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Title Annotation:books
Author:Rust, Suzanne
Publication:Black Issues Book Review
Article Type:Book Review
Date:May 1, 2004
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