The ABCs of Black History - Review and Recommendation

 

A MUST HAVE IN YOUR CLASSROOM! 
TEACHERS OF ALL GRADE LEVELS K-12 
USE THIS PICTURE BOOK IN SO MANY WAYS: 
DISCUSSION
RECREATION
ILLUSTRATIONS
RESEARCH
KNOWLEDGE
GROWTH
UNDERSTANDING 


An impressive array of names, events, and concepts from Black history are introduced in this alphabet book for early-elementary readers . . . Readers will feel pride and admiration for the resilience and achievements of Black people and a call to participate in the ‘unfinished . . . American tale.’”

-Kirkus starred review

 

"Be prepared to learn more than 26 nuggets of information from this rendition of the alphabet...The layers of history are plentiful and complex....A useful mentor text for writing projects, a springboard for research, and an essential addition to classroom libraries."

-Booklist


Written by Pushcart-nominated-poetRio Cortez and illustrated by newcomer Lauren Semmer, THE ABCs of BLACK HISTORY uses the alphabet as a frame to introduce Black history. Beginning with Anthem—an introduction to James Weldon Johnson’s Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing—and ending with Zenith, a tribute to the mountaintop Dr. King spoke about before his death, readers will travel across continents and centuries, navigate triumph and heartbreak, and celebrate creativity and joy.  

 

The poetic text introduces big ideas to engage curious minds. Every letter has a rhyming verse, and every spread is a visual feast. F explores the concepts of farming and foodG is for Go! and the Great Migration from the rural South to the urban North. Then the reader lands in Harlem, New York, where they meet Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes. Contemporary moments are included too. M is for march and message, which explores the culmination of movements that have changed the course of history, from the Selma to Montgomery March in 1965 to the Black Lives Matter movement today. And Q is for queens, acquainting readers with powerful women like Leontyne PriceQueen NandiToni MorrisonMichelle Obama, and many more. 

 

The book also includes robust back matter that offers more information on the events, places, and people mentioned in the poem, from Fannie Lou Hamer to DJ Kool Herc, the Little Rock Nine to Sam Cooke

 

A necessary addition to every child’s bookshelf, THE ABCs of BLACK HISTORY is an exuberant celebration of history, culture, race, and justice. 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Rio Cortez is a writer and Pushcart Prize–nominated poet who has received fellowships from Poet’s House, Cave Canem, and CantoMundo foundations. Her work has appeared in the Los Angeles Review of BooksThe Miami Rail, and Mother magazine, among others. Born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, Rio writes and lives in Harlem, New York. Her daughter was the inspiration for this book.  

 

ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR 

Lauren Semmer is an artist, children’s book illustrator, and designer. She studied drawing at St. Paul College of Visual Arts and art history at New York University. Lauren’s bright and charming work is featured on everything from kid’s wall art to children’s apparel. She lives in Manhattan, New York, with her family.  




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