The ABC's of Black History
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The ABC's of Black History is not your average introduction-to-the-alphabet book. With distinctively beautiful illustrations, remarkable rhyme, and an education on familiar and not-so-familiar figures and events, the book pays homage to Black history and culture, offering varying levels of depth that everyone in the family can tap into. The book is best suited for 8-year olds, who will be ready to learn about topics like Kwanzaa and Juneteenth and to learn about people like Mae Jemison and Zora Neale Hurston; however, there is A LOT of information in this book, and it will take many reads to fully digest most of it. Two-year- olds will be drawn to the vibrant colors and illustrations, while preschoolers may read for the letters, phonics, and rhyme. Even tweens and teens will benefit from the empowering messages and can use it as a starting point for researching figures in Black history. A "More to Explore" section on the copyright page provides books, websites, museums, and poetry that readers can refer to for more information on the people, places, and ideas in the book. There is also a significant bank of terms and figures at the end that provides additional details about information in the book.
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What's the Story?
THE ABC'S OF BLACK HISTORY honors Black history and culture by using the ABC's to highlight important people, moments, and ideas. The book uses an African American voice in the first person point-of-view to educate, encourage, and empower African American readers, though this is an important text for readers of all backgrounds. Author Rio Cortez makes reference to the well-known names and topics in Black history -- like Martin Luther King Jr., Kwanzaa, and voting rights. But it also introduces readers to lesser-known facts and figures -- like the varying viewpoints of Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois, J'ouvert, and the Great Migration. The illustrations are colorful and captivating, and several resources will help readers continue their education on the triumph and trauma of Black history.
Is It Any Good?
Author Rio Cortez and illustrator Lauren Stemmer's creative alphabet book is a love letter to Black culture. A true gem, The ABC's of Black History is loaded with information yet presented in a way that kids, tweens, teens, and adults will enjoy. Though there are a lot of facts and figures, along with a reference section, it isn't overwhelming. The book's down-to-earth tone and vibrance in rhyme and illustration will motivate readers to want to learn more. Inspirational, relevant, and certainly fun, it's an important text for all readers.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the people and topics in The ABC's of Black History. Focus on one letter of the alphabet each day of Black History Month (or any month!) and learn more about the people, ideas, and moments that are connected to that letter.
How does the author showcase the beauty of Black history? Does the book teach, entertain, or both? How?
What are some positive messages throughout the book? Which of those positive messages mean the most to you? Why is it important for readers of all backgrounds to read this book?
Make a list of what names and facts you already knew and which ones you're learning for the first time. Use the More to Explore section on the copyright page and the bank of terms and figures in the back of the book to guide your learning.
- Author: Rio Cortez
- Illustrator: Lauren Semmer
- Genre: Picture Book
- Topics: Activism, Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models, History, Numbers and Letters
- Book type: Non-Fiction
- Publisher: Workman Publishing Co.
- Publication date: December 8, 2020
- Number of pages: 64
- Available on: Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, Kindle
- Last updated: April 21, 2022
Our Editors Recommend
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Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History
Inspirational bios of trailblazing African American women.
28 Days: Moments in Black History That Changed the World
Uneven writing in kid-friendly intro to black history.
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