First marked in the UK in October 1987, as part of African Jubilee Year, Black History Month is a recognition of the heritage, culture and achievements of Black Britons. This year’s theme, ‘Proud To Be’, is inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and celebrates the personal stories and diverse legacies of Black people in the UK.
To celebrate this, I have gathered together our Grimsdell library books featuring Black characters and those written by Black authors and commentators. Therefore our Book of the Week will take a different format this week.
BLACK HISTORY MONTH BOOKS OF THE WEEK
One particular book I will be sharing with the children next week as part of our celebration of Black History Month is by the former recipient of the Waterstones Children’s Book of the Year award, Dapo Adeola.
‘Hey You’ is a tender and inspiring picture book about growing up Black, incorporating stunning artwork by some of the most exciting Black illustration talents working today. The book addresses – honestly yet hopefully – the experiences of Black children face growing up and provides hope for the future, delivering a powerful message to a new generation of dreamers. It’s a message that is both urgent and timeless – and offers a rich and rewarding reading experience for every child.
To mirror the rich variety of Black diaspora, this book showcases artwork from Dapo and 18 incredible Black illustrators in one beautiful, powerful and cohesive reading experience.
During my Key Stage One lessons, I will be inviting the children to meet 52 icons of colour from the past and present – ‘Young, Gifted , Black’ is a celebration of inspirational achievement – a collection of stories about changemakers to encourage, inspire and empower the next generation of changemakers. Jamia Wilson has carefully curated this range of Black icons and the books is stylishly brought together by Andrea Pippins’ colourful and celebratory illustrations.
Written in the spirit of Nina Simone’s song ‘To Be Young, Gifted and Black’, this vibrant books is a perfect introduction to both historic and present-day icons and heroes.
All children deserve to see themselves represented positively in the books they read. Highlighting the talent and contributions of Black leaders and changemakers from around the world, readers of all backgrounds will be empowered to discover what they too can achieve. Strong, courageous, talented and diverse, these extraordinary women and men’s achievements will inspire a new generation to chase their dream … whatever it may be.
It’s important that children have access to diverse books, and I feel sure that our Grimsdell young readers will love my final two Books of the Week. Featuring Black characters at the forefront, these stories have positive role models that inspire and empower.
Firstly, ‘Look Up!’ by Nathan Bryon.
Rocket loves to look up at the stars. She wants to be an astronaut after all, just like her hero Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman in space. Packed with fun facts about meteors and space to satisfy the most curious of minds, this charming picture book is laden with gorgeous illustrations that will convince the most phone-mad kids to get excited about the natural world, just like Rocket. Challenging traditional gender norms, ‘Look Up!’ will show space-mad readers that the sky really is the limit.
Finally, a very funny debut picture book by Swapna Haddow: ‘Shh. Beware. My dad is a grizzly bear’.
With a wry sense of humour and bold illustrations, Haddow and Adeola’s new pairing has resulted in a riotous, vibrant tale of bears in the family and is a wonderfully warm-hearted tribute to dads the world over.
A playful, warm and funny story following a boy with a wild imagination and his lively family. In this family, it’s just possible that Dad is a grizzly bear … He has fuzzy fur, enormous paws and loves the outdoors. He sleeps a lot, even in the cinema and when he’s awake, he’s ALWAYS hungry, usually eating up all the honey. What else could Dad be?
All of the books are available to borrow from our Grimsdell Library.