The Book Itch: Freedom, Truth, and Harlem's Greatest Bookstore
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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 The Book Itch: Freedom, Trut, and Harlem's Greatest Bookstore, by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, offers a child's-eye view of a historic business, opened by the author's great-uncle in the 1930s, that played a key role in the civil rights movement. The picture book, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie, won a 2016 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor. It highlights agents of social change such as Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X and discusses the assassination of Malcolm X and the unjust treatment of African-Americans. Parents should be prepared to talk about racial discrimination, the legacy of the civil rights movement, and the assassinations of people in the movement.
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What's the Story?
Lewis Henri Michaux has a book itch. He wants to help people -- especially African-American people -- educate themselves so they can fully understand their civil rights. He believes that reading and getting together to discuss ideas is the way to do it. So, he works, saves, and opens the National Memorial African Bookstore. This bookstore becomes the gathering place for people from all over the world who are committed to the struggle for civil rights. Michaux's bookstore, as seen through the eyes of his young son, brims with big ideas and historic moments.
Is It Any Good?
Soaring and motivational, this book brings to life the little Harlem bookstore that became a gathering place, a house of ideas, and an agent in the civil rights movement. Author Vaunda Micheaux Nelson does a wonderful job spotlighting an important but lesser known story for children. Combining the punchy and rhythmic catchphrases of bookstore owner Lewis Henri Michaux with the observational commentary of his son Nelson makes the story come alive.
Parents and kids will love the lively dialogue and R. Gregory Christie's illustrations as well as the appearances of historical and cultural figures, including Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X. The story is a perfect springboard to discuss the kinds of activities people who were part of the civil rights movement were involved in.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the importance of family history. What family stories are important to pass down to the next generation in your family?
Why it is important to learn about American and African-American history by looking beyond the famous people? Does it help to know about ordinary, less well-known people's contributions? Why?
Lewis Henri Michaux started a bookstore to help support civil rights efforts. How can you use the things you're good at to help a cause that you're passionate about?
- Author: Vaunda Micheaux Nelson
- Illustrator: R. Gregory Christie
- Genre: History
- Topics: Activism, Friendship, History
- Book type: Non-Fiction
- Publisher: Carolrhoda Books
- Publication date: November 1, 2015
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 7 - 10
- Number of pages: 32
- Available on: Nook, Hardback, Kindle
- Awards: Caldecott Medal and Honors, Coretta Scott King Medal and Honors
- Last updated: July 13, 2017
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