JavaScript disabled or chat unavailable.

Have a question?

We have answers!
Chat Monday-Friday, 8 AM - 5 PM (except MS state holidays)
Phone: 601-432-4492 or Toll free: 1-877-KWIK-REF (1-877-594-5733)
Text: 601-208-0868

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

20 Picture Books That Celebrate African American Dreamers and Achievers

Picture books are a great way to introduce children to the world beyond their tiny spaces. With bright colors and inspiring words, they relate amazing stories and lives in an enticing, kid-pleasing way. Managing to convey a lifetime's worth of achievements in just a few pages is an accomplishment in and of itself. To capture a child's imagination and ignite dreams as well makes picture books simply extraordinary.

We've shared several Black History Month reading lists this year, for adults, for middle school and YA readers, and for fictional picture books that explore African American history and culture. We couldn't resist rounding out our reading recommendations with a few more excellent picture books. These biographies about African American dreamers and achievers are worthy reads all year long.

Wilma Unlimited: How Wilma Rudolph Became the World's Fastest Woman
Kathleen Krull and David Díaz
This is the story of Wilma Rudolph, who suffered from polio as a child and went on to win gold in the Olympics.

Talkin' About Bessie: The Story of Aviator Elizabeth Coleman
Nikki Grimes, Barry Moser, and Earl B. Lewis
Born to a poor family in Texas, Bessie followed her dreams to become a pilot in a time when both African Americans and women were not allowed to fly airplanes.

Freedom River
Doreen Rappaport and Bryan Collier
Based on the life of John Parker, an ex-slave helping people on the Underground Railroad, this picture book retells one of his daring rescues.

When Marian Sang: The True Recital of Marian Anderson
Pam Muñoz Ryan and Brian Selznick
This glorious picture book tells the life story of Marian Anderson, one of America's greatest singers, who fought to sing where everyone could hear and enjoy her music.

Catching the Moon: The Story of a Young Girl's Baseball Dream
Crystal Hubbard and Randy Duburke
Marcenia Lyle, better known as Toni Stone, was the first woman to play professional baseball.

Nikki Giovanni and Bryan Collier
Every child learns about Rosa Parks in school, but this picture book brings her fight against injustice to beautiful life.

Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom
Carole Boston Weatherford and Kadir Nelson
Moses is a gorgeous biography of Harriet Tubman, who led at least 70 people north to freedom on the Underground Railroad.

Henry's Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad
Ellen Levine and Kadir Nelson
This is the remarkable story of Henry Brown, who mailed himself north to escape slavery.

Before John Was a Jazz Giant: A Song of John Coltrane
Carole Boston Weatherford and Sean Qualls
The childhood of John Coltrane, master of the saxophone, is vividly recreated.

Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshal
Vaunda Micheaux Nelson and R. Gregory Christie
Bass Reeves was an African-American hero of the Old West. He fled slavery as a young man and became a US Deputy Marshal with over 3,000 arrests to his name.

Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave
Laban Carrick Hill and Bryan Collier
 Little is known about Dave, except that he lived and died a slave and he created remarkable pottery and poetry. This picture book imagines what his life was like.

It Jes' Happened: When Bill Traylor Started to Draw
Don Tate and R. Gregory Christie
Bill Traylor was a self-taught folk artist from Alabama. He didn't began drawing until he was in his 80s, and then he just couldn't stop!

Fifty Cents and a Dream: Young Booker T. Washington
Jabari Asim and Bryan Collier
You'll be inspired by the life of Booker T. Washington, educator, orator, and author.

A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin
Jennifer Fisher Bryant and Melissa Sweet
Pippin was always drawn to art, but lost the use of his right arm while he was serving with the Harlem Hellfighters during World War II. He began painting again as way to strengthen his injured arm and received much recognition and praise.

When the Beat Was Born: DJ Kool Herc & the Creation of Hip Hop
Laban Carrick Hill and Theodore Taylor
Clive Campbell, better known as DJ Kool Herc, invented the musical form of hip hop when he was just a teenager.

Mumbet's Declaration of Independence
Gretchen Woelfle and Alix Delinois
Mumbet challenged the legality of being held a slave in Massachusetts in the 1780s and won her freedom.

The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch
Chris Barton and Don Tate
John Roy Lynch was born into slavery and wasn't set free until after the Civil War. He went on to become an influential politician in Mississippi and then became one of the first African American US Representatives.

The Book Itch: Freedom, Truth, and Harlem's Greatest Bookstore
Vaunda Micheaux Nelson and R. Gregory Christie
This picture book tells the story of Lewis Michaux, Sr., and his independent community bookstore in Harlem.

Marvelous Cornelius: Hurricane Katrina and the Spirit of New Orleans
Phil Bildner and John Parra
Cornelius Washington was a trash collector who was an inspiration to the city of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton
Don Tate
George Moses Horton taught himself to read and write and became a great poet. He was the first African-American to be published in the South. He didn't become a free man until after the Civil War, when he was in his late 60s.

We hope you enjoy these inspiring picture book biographies. Until next time, happy reading!

Monday, February 27, 2017

Meet MLC Monday: Tracy Carr

Meet Tracy Carr, Library Services Director at the Mississippi Library Commission. Tracy oversees four departments here at MLC: Library Development (consulting and continuing education), Talking Books (services for the blind and physically handicapped), Collection Management (technical services), and Information Services (reference and interlibrary loan). She also maintains Beehive Resource Sharing, Mississippi's statewide interlibrary loan system. (Want to know if a book is owned by any libraries in the state? The Beehive is the place to check.) Carr also monitors legislation and Attorney General opinions that could affect public libraries (but is quick to point out that she is not a lawyer!) In addition, she is also the Mississippi Center for the Book coordinator. Tracy has been at MLC since 2004. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of North Texas, a Master of Arts in English from Mississippi State University, and a Master of Library and Information Science from The University of Alabama.

"My favorite part of my job is connecting a variety of people with a variety of information," says Tracy. "The information itself might be technical, historical, or factual, but it's rare that my days are the same, and that makes things interesting." When asked why she thinks libraries are still important in the internet age, Carr responds, "Libraries are a vital resource, especially in a rural state like Mississippi. They're often the only place in a community where someone can access the internet in order to apply for jobs or take a class, which makes them absolutely crucial to residents' livelihoods. On top of that, libraries still offer all the wonderful things they always have--books, movies, programs, classes! They're just magical places."

Tracy loves to read and says she always has, though she her childhood dream wasn't to become a librarian. Her most recent favorite book is Isabel Wilkerson's The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration. She recommends that every single human in the state read this book, so head to your local library and pick up a copy! Her favorite book by a Mississippi author is Brad Watson's The Heaven of Mercury. When she's not library-ing or reading, Tracy enjoys baking and is especially talented in that she can fold fitted sheets.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

20 Books That Capture African American Lives

Black History Month is in full swing and we have another book list for you! This list centers on recent books for the adult reader, both fiction and nonfiction, that speak of the African American experience. With widespread settings and time periods, you're sure to find one (or two or three) that you'll stay up late reading. Don't miss our earlier installments, with recommendations for picture book readers and middle school/YA readers.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Rebecca Skloot

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
Michelle Tucker

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration
Isabel Wilkerson

If Sons, Then Heirs
Lorene Cary

Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America
Gilbert King

A Mission from God: A Memoir and Challenge for America
James Meredith and William Doyle

March trilogy
John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell
2013, 2015, 2016

 The Good Lord Bird
James McBride

Strange Fruit, Volume 1: Uncelebrated Narratives from Black History
Joel Christian Gill

Jam on the Vine
LaShonda Katrice Barnett

Driving the King
Ravi Howard

The Mothers
Brit Bennett

Natashia Deón

The Book of Harlan
Bernice L. McFadden

The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race
Jesmyn Ward

The Underground Railroad
Colson Whitehead

Another Brooklyn
Jacqueline Woodson

Never Caught: The Washingtons' Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Oney JudgeErica Armstrong Dunbar

Sing, Unburied, Sing: A Novel
Jesmyn Ward
2017 (forthcoming)

Until next time, happy reading!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Middle Grade and Young Adult Books to Celebrate Black History Month

We continue celebrating Black History Month with this list of books for middle graders and young adults. We hope to encourage young readers to read diverse books and to support identity and culture through books.

Elijah of Buxton
by Christopher Paul Curtis:

Elijah is a young boy living in a settlement for runaway slaves in Buxton, Canada. He is the first in his family to be born into freedom. However, when Elijah travels to America to help a friend he witnesses firsthand the struggles that his parents endured as slaves.

The Hero Two Doors Down 
by Sharon Robinson

Young Steven is a native New Yorker and loves the Dodgers. He is thrilled to hear that the one and only Jackie Robinson is moving two doors down from him. However, some of the neighbors are not so excited to hear that an African American family is moving to this all-Jewish neighborhood.

One Crazy Summer
by Rita Williams-Garcia

This story follows a young girl as she spends the summer attending a Black Panther summer camp in the late 1960's.

The Watsons Go To Birmingham-1963
by Christopher Paul Curtis

The Watson family decides to take a road trip to visit grandma in Birmingham, Alabama, when older brother Byron gets into some trouble. The trip turns out to be a vital learning experience for the whole family as they witness segregation in the deep South.

The Logan Family Series 
By Mildred D. Taylor

This series by Mississippi author Mildred D. Taylor tells the struggles of African Americans living in the South. 

Midnight Without a Moon
by Linda Williams Jackson

This is Mississippi author Linda Williams Jackson's debut novel that follows a young girl living in Mississippi during the time of Emmett Till's murder.

Loving vs. Virginia: A Documentary Novel of the Landmark Civil Rights Case
by Patricia Hruby Powell and Shadra Strickland

This book tells the story of Richard and Mildred Loving as they fight to legalize their interracial marriage in the Supreme Court case, Loving v. Virginia.

Brown Girl Dreaming
by Jacqueline Woodson

With beautiful poetry Woodson shares what it was like growing up during the Civil Rights Movement.

Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom
by Lynda Blackmon Lowery, Elspeth Leacock, Susan Buckley and P.J. Loughran

Lynda Blackmon Lowery at the age of 15 was the youngest to march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, during the 1965 voting rights march. This memoir shares her experiences during the march and the many times that Lowery fought for change in America.

Rhythm Ride
by Andrea Davis Pinkney

This memoir shares how Berry Gordy used his music scene to inspire the Civil Rights Movement.

The Hate U Give
By Angie Thomas

Starr Carter's world comes crashing down when she witnesses the fatal shooting of her best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Mississippi author Angie Thomas was inspired to write this book by the Black Lives Matter community. Be sure to look for this book on its release date, February 28th. We also hear that a movie adaptation is in the works.

Dear Martin 
by Nic Stone

Justyce McAllister is wrongfully arrested and now must cope with the aftermath. To do this he starts a journal to Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr. Dear Martin is set to be published October 17th. Be sure to check it out then.

Dreamland Burning
by Jennifer Latham

Based on the Tulsa race riot of 1924 this novel interweaves alternate perspectives of a painful century-old murder. Look for this book on February 21st.

Into White
by Randi Pink

LaToya Williams, a black teenager, prays to be white so that she will fit in at her mostly white school. Her wish comes true when she wakes up one morning with blonde hair, blue eyes, and pale skin.

by Tiffany D. Jackson

Mary B. Addison was accused of killing a white baby when she was nine-years-old. She has spent the past six years in jail; however, now she has something to live for and must revisit the past to clear her name.

March Book One, Two and Three 
by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell

These graphic memoirs follow John Lewis' life and involvement in the Civil Rights Movement.

How It Went Down 
by Kekla Magoon

Tariq Johnson is fatally shot by a white man named Jack Franklin. Now Tariq's friends and family are left to make sense of the tragedy by giving their version of what happened that day. 

by Ilyasah Shabazz and Kekla Magoon

Follow Malcolm X from childhood to his imprisonment for theft in this young adult novel co-written by Malcolm X's daughter.  

Until next time, happy reading!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...