Happy Black Lives Matter at School Week! Although Black Lives Matter at School Week ends today, February 8th, it should be a year-round conversation with our students and kiddos. To help you with this conversation, here are five books you need for Black Lives Matter at School:
(1) I Love My Hair!, by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley
Tarpley writes a sweet story about a loving interaction between a young Black girl and her mother. Throughout the book, the girl learns to love her hair more and more.
This book touches upon the Black Lives Matter values: Unapologetically Black and Black Women. On The Spectrum for Multicultural Literature, it is mostly an Exploration Book because of its exploration of hair, which is an element of culture.
(2) We Came to America, by Faith Ringgold
We Came to America talks about immigration and the different reasons people came to America. It is one of my favorite books to talk about immigration because it shows about how some people did not come here by choice (a reference to slavery), which some immigration books never address.
This book touches upon the Black Lives Matter values: Diversity and Globalism. On The Spectrum, it is between an Exploration Book and a Conversation Book because it explores immigration but also mentions slavery and other conversation topics.
While creating this list, I wanted to include a book that addressed what launched the Black Lives Matter movement: the unjust shootings/murders of Black lives. Initially, I was just going to put How It Went Down because it is an amazingly written chapter book that shows the effects of such a shooting through multiple points of view. However, I also wanted to include a picture book to make sure this component of Black Lives Matter is being discussed with younger children. Thus, I included Something Happened in Our Town, which is similar to Magoon’s book but for younger audiences.
These books touch upon the Black Lives Matter values: Loving Engagement, Empathy, and Restorative Justice. On The Spectrum, they are Conversation Books because of the racism and prejudice of society each addresses.
(4) BigMama’s, by Donald Crews
Crews writes about his childhood family trip to BigMama’s. This loving tale explores family relationship and intergenerational bonds.
This book touches upon the Black Lives Matter values: Black Villages, Intergenerational, and Black Families. On The Spectrum, the book is a Representation Book because it is just about a family trip, but features a protagonist of color.
(5) Large Fears, by Myles E. Johnson
Large Fears is one of the first picture books that I have seen that features a Black LGBTQ+ character- SO EXCITING! Johnson writes about Jeremiah Nebula, a black boy who loves pink and wants to travel to Mars. The books is about his quest for acceptance as a Black boy who he sees as “different” than other Black boys.
This book touches upon the Black Lives Matter values: Queer-Affirming; Transgender-Affirming, and Collective Value. On The Spectrum, it is a Conversation Book because of Jeremiah Nebula’s want for acceptance for his identity.
I hope you find these books useful. Every single one of these books is written (or co-written in the case of Something Happened in Our Town) by an African-American, Black, or Biracial author. Remember: Representation matters – on the page AND off the page!
Comment below and tell me how you are going to use these books in your class or at home!