Children’s books help in so many ways; they inspire young readers to learn to read, to be curious about the world around them, to imagine worlds of wonder, to learn new information about a myriad things, and so much more. And books that share stories from history make learning history a whole new adventure, inciting their curiosity and prompting great discussions. This post includes 3 such books about stories from history – this one specific to the U.S. And this is part of my continued reading for the Cybils Awards.
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3 Amazing Picture Books About Stories from History
The Teachers March!
Title: The Teachers March!
Author: Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace
Illustrator: Charly Palmer
Length: 44 pages
Genre: Children’s Nonfiction/History (7 – 10 years, and up)
Publisher: Calkins Creek (September 29, 2020)
Source: Edelweiss digital review copy
What It Is
A heartfelt and inspiring tribute to the participants of a little-known but deserves to be more well-known event in history; to all those wonderful educators who risked their lives and their livelihood as they took part in the 1965 Teachers’ March at Selma. With eyewitness testimonies and beautiful artwork, this book is a must-have.
The How (I Felt)
While I knew about some of the more prominent things about Selma – the march with MLK in specific, I did not know about Reverend F.D. Reese or the teachers’ march, I did not know how it sparked many more such marches among regular people – barbers, doctors, and other professionals – to take up the right to march and to fight for their rights. The book also revealed many other details of racial segregation that I had been aware of only slightly, like the truly unnecessary and vague tests black people needed to take to become registered voters.
The Teachers March! takes readers right alongside all those marchers of years ago, with an inspiring, engaging, and dramatic narrative, and stunning artwork that captures the emotions and actions effectively. We learn about some of the specific educators who took part in the march, including Reverend Reese, a teacher named Too Sweet and her daughter, as well as a couple more.
Back matter includes an author’s note, illustrator’s note, a timeline, historical photographs, and a selected bibliography with a rich list of resources.
One book from books I have read earlier – Someday is Now.
An important story that deserves to be read, especially in the current climate.
Get It Here
A Ride to Remember
Title: A Ride to Remember: A Civil Rights Story
Author: Sharon Langley, Amy Nathan
Illustrator: Floyd Cooper
Length: 40 pages
Genre: Children’s Nonfiction/History (6 – 9 years, and up)
Publisher: Abrams Books for Young Readers (January 7, 2020)
Source: Library copy
What It Is (From the description)
The true story of how a ride on a carousel made a powerful Civil Rights statement
The How (I Felt)
Yet another story I had not known. And now I need to remember to see the carousel on our next visit to Washington.
This story tells readers of a historic carousel ride – that soon became a symbol of the Civil Rights movement, in its own way. This proves how a simple thing, a small act can make a big impact.
I love the realistic yet dreamy artwork with muted colors and lots of details provided to occupy young readers as they turn the pages of this beautiful book that tells an important story. These illustrations lend a sense of history and sentiment to the strong and sweet narrative.
While I am not sure if the Langleys themselves were part of the protests prior to this historic ride, Sharon Langley was certainly the first colored person to ride on the carousel the day it opened.
Backmatter includes an author’s note, photographs, and additional informative resources for curious readers of all ages.
Thinking about the simple things that can make a big impact, I remembered this beautiful story – Sing a Song : How Lift Every Voice and Sing Inspired Generations
A sweet and important story that illustrates the Civil Rights movement in a way that young readers can easily understand.
Get It Here
The Voice of Liberty
Title: The Voice of Liberty
Author: Angelica Shirley Carpenter
Illustrator: Edwin Fotheringham
Length: 36 pages
Genre: Children’s Nonfiction/History (6 – 10 years, and up)
Publisher: South Dakota State Historical Society (September 15, 2020)
Source: Digital review copy from Publishers via Cybils Awards
What It Is
The story of the protest by suffragists during the dedication of the Statue of Liberty.
The How (I Felt)
I love how these books bring to light little known or unknown stories from history. And this was another I did not know about at all. We visited New York and the Statue of Liberty last summer (seems like a lifetime ago now!)
After reading this book, I am looking back at my trip to Liberty Island with a fresh perspective – that of the women featured in this book, of the women who lived at the time Lady Liberty first came to this country. I thought about how those women would have felt about being denied the right to step onto the island on that day when Lady Liberty was unveiled. Pretty ironic, actually! This book points out that irony as well as talks about how three women suffragists, Katherine Devereux Blake, Lillie Devereux Blake, and Matilda Joslyn Gage, fought for their rights – not just to be allowed to be present at the dedication, but also to vote, and more.
While the flow felt off at a couple of points (for me), it is totally an important and interesting read with bright, colorful, historically accurate illustrations that complement the narrative. Backmatter includes more information about the three women and the Statue of Liberty, a short history of the women’s suffrage movement, a timeline, and an author’s note.
A perfect read for learning about this little known event as we continue celebrating this centennial year honoring a woman’s right to vote.
Get It Here
Stories like these make us realize that for all that we are a developed nation, we only stripped ourselves of unfair laws like segregation — based on race, color, gender, or other reasons — so very recently, and also of the fact that we are yet to free ourselves fully of many biases and absurd notions.
The laws are gone but the feelings persist, and until everyone feels like those horses on the carousel – that there is no one better than others, that all are equal, the work is not done. These stories from history are a reminder of both how far we have come and how far we have yet to go.
And Now, the End of This Post
Dear reader, have you read any of these featured books that tell stories from U.S. history!? If yes, your thoughts on those are welcome.. If not, which of these books would you pick first. And as always, your recommendations please..