Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - a crossover post - Black History Month and Women's History Month 2.26.2020

Wednesdays I join Alyson Beecher from kidlitfrenzy and other
#kidlit bloggers to share wonderful nonfiction picture books.
The intention of today's blog post is to give professionals that work in the
education field new nonfiction reading material and ideas to use 
with students to promote a love of reading nonfiction materials.

It's the last Wednesday of February.  This month is known as Black History Month.  As readers of this blog know, I try to find representation across my posts all year long, not just one month a year.  This week I am going to do a crossover celebration.  Next month is Women's History Month.  Today I'll be celebrating some of the amazing African American women who changed, or are currently changing, our history.

The Power of Her Pen by Lesa Cline-Ransome
The Power of Her Pen: The Story of Groundbreaking Journalist Ethel L. Payne
written by Lesa Cline-Ransome
illustrated by John Parra
Another American woman who did some amazing things that I have never heard of.... thankfully Lesa Cline-Ransome is helping change that!  Ethel Payne fought racism and injustices through the power of her pen and her voice.  She showed up, she asked the questions, she made people think.  In a time when the country was run by old, white guys (wait.... never mind, that's another post...) Ethel asked questions and fought for the rights and the issues that were important to the people in her community.  People everywhere could read her voice through the newspaper and hear someone was asking the important questions.

Serena by Karlin Gray
Serena: The Littlest Sister
written by Karlin Gray
illustrated by Monica Ahanonu
There have been a few picture book biographies about the Williams sisters in the past couple of years.  This one focused on all five sisters growing up, eventually concentrating on Venus and Serena since they were the two that went on to tennis notoriety, and then finally focusing on Serena.  I learned quite a bit of new information from this story that had not been in other books.  I have quite a few readers who cannot get enough information about these tennis superstars.  Looking forward to passing along this one!

Mamie on the Mound by Leah Henderson
Mamie on the Mound: A Woman in Baseball's Negro Leagues
written by Leah Henderson
illustrated by George Doutsiopoulos
This young woman knew what she wanted to be from the time she was little and she had the desire and passion and drive to make those dreams come true.  I thought it was really interesting as Mamie was able to identify two barriers from getting her dream - the color barrier and the gender barrier.  Just when she thought maybe she could get past one, another one would stop her.  
I know many of us have baseball book collections, this is a must add.

A Voice Named Aretha by Katheryn Russell-Brown
A Voice Named Aretha
written by Katheryn Russell-Brown
illustrated by Laura Freeman
This is the first Aretha book of the year and I know we have more coming.  This book came a wonderful quick glimpse of the life of the "Queen of Soul".  I don't think you can fully capture the essence of Aretha Franklin in a book, but this one does a great job.  
Before reading this, I can't say I really knew much about Aretha's life except what I heard in the news in more recent decades.  This book did a wonderful job filling in what her earlier years were like.
There is additional information in the backmatter that I was fascinated with, as well.

The Women Who Caught The Babies by Eloise Greenfield
The Women Who Caught the Babies: A Story of African American Midwives
written by Eloise Greenfield
illustrated by Daniel Minter
Wait.  This book did not get any awards this past January???  It is BEAUTIFUL!  I love that the book begins with an explanation and history of a midwife.  Important for readers to understand.  Greenfield captures the beauty of this important person in her poems.  I love the last one is in dedication of the midwife who "caught" her.  And Minter's illustrations - just stunning.

Pies from Nowhere by Dee Romito
Pies From Nowhere: How Georgia Gilmore Sustained the Montgomery Bus Boycott
written by Dee Romito
illustrated by Laura Freeman
How many times have you read about the Montgomery Bus Boycott?  I know it happened, I know why, I know the results.  But this was the first time I read about ways people helped and supported during this time.  I found it so interesting and wish there were more stories like this!

Happy to share these stories with readers - they need to be heard!


  1. I loved The Woman Who Caught the Babies, too, guess there are simply too many in the competition. Thanks for the others, too, Michele. That final one is new to me!