Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday 10.21.15 Civil Rights


I am excited to join Alyson Beecher and other friends in this weekly challenge.  Finding great nonfiction picture books isn't a challenge anymore, there are so many wonderful books to be read now!  The challenge is sharing them with as many people as possible so they can find this wealth of literature to share with our young readers.  Thanks to Aly for starting this weekly link-up and thanks to all who join in!  See all of the posts at kidlitfrenzy.

I think we are so lucky to live in a time when picture books are so well done.  They seem to purposeful.  I can pick up a picture book - fiction or nonfiction - and find a reason to use it. Most of the time, it's because it's an amazing story to share and read.  But then I can use that same picture book for multiple reasons.  Maybe because it teaches a great literary technique or standard.  Maybe because it goes along so well with a content unit.  Maybe because it stands out because of the way the author constructed his/her words.  Or maybe because it really is that good and I want to read it again and again and again.

What also amazes me, is the way picture books can be used in classrooms that have students that have outgrown picture books.  Or, at least, we perceive those students to have outgrown picture books.  Because really, do you ever outgrow picture books?

I wish I had picture books that helped me understand my history lessons.  I know I have a deeper understanding of our nation's past because of picture books.  I've written about books that celebrate civil rights before.  But amazing picture books continue to be published about this tumultuous time period.  It's too bad we aren't learning from our history.  I think more people should be reading these books.

Here is a new nonfiction picture book biography and 2 new picture books about the civil rights topic:

Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: The Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement
Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement
Written by Carole Boston Weatherford
Illustrated by Ekua Holmes 
Published by Candlewick Press
Amazing nonfiction picture book biography about the civil rights fighter Fannie Lou Hamer. I don't think you can study civil rights in the 1960s without looking at what she did for the right for all voters in the south.  
Illustrations are a stand out in this book.
Disclaimer:  some minor language and racial slurs

Granddaddy's Turn
Granddaddy's Turn: A Journey to the Ballot Box
Written by Michael S. Bandy and Eric Stein
Illustrated by James E. Ransome
Published by Candlewick Press
Really enjoyed this picture book about a young boy visiting the courthouse to vote with his grandfather in the 1960s.  After seeing his grandfather being turned away for being illiterate, he is determined to one day vote, and be able to do it for his grandfather.

Lillian's Right to Vote: A Celebration of the Voting Rights Act of 1965
Lillian's Right to Vote: A Celebration of the Voting Rights Act of 1965
Written by Jonah Winter
Illustrated by Shane W. Evans
Published by Schwartz and Wade Books
Mirroring a walk uphill, we read about the journey of African Americans have been on to earn the right to vote.


  1. I agree, Michele. It would have been wonderful to have picture books tell us stories like these when we were in school. I've used a lot of PBs with my middle school students, and they enjoyed them, just as you wrote, for many reasons. Thanks for these. I liked Granddaddy's Turn, & will look for the others!

  2. Yes, with picture books like these, every age reader benefits. I sure do.

  3. I agree with you completely - it's such an inspiring time to be working with children's literature! I am always awed by the creativity, care and imagination that go into making picture books (well, some of them anyway.....!) You've shared some very powerful books today - I love using picture books like these to introduce children to important subjects in a gentle, approachable way. They really help bring history to life in a way that kids can relate to and engage with. Thank you for sharing!

  4. This is such a wonderful collection of texts. It amazes us how much we learn about history through the picture books available today. Such a wonderful resource for students.

  5. I hadn't seen Granddaddy's Turn. Thanks for the recommendation! This is a great trio of books.

  6. I hadn't seen Grandaddy's Turn either, but just read the other two this past week. I agree that these are great.

  7. Really want to read GrandDaddy's Turn. I'll keep my eyes peeled.