Today, as part of Black History Month, we’ve book recommendations from Miss Randall (photographed), a library supporter, primary school teacher in Sutton Coldfield and YouTube children’s storyteller on ‘Storytime with Miss Randall’.
Here’s what Miss Randall wanted to share with us all:
“Children’s books can act as mirrors, to reflect the readers’ own identity and lives, but also as windows so readers can learn about, understand and appreciate the lives of others. They can shape how young readers from varied backgrounds see themselves as well as how readers from a more dominant culture see and understand the complexity of diversity. I believe that’s it’s vital that all children have access to diverse books featuring black and brown characters at the forefront, stories that have positive role models, inspire and empower.
My first recommendation is Look up! By Nathan Byron, Winner of the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize and the number 1 debut picture book of 2019.
As a big fan of stargazing myself, this book was an instant hit for me!
‘All I know is that one day I’m going to be the greatest astronaut, star catcher, space traveler who has ever lived like Mae Jemison, the first African- American woman in space’ ~Rocket
Rocket loves to look up at the stars. She wants to be an astronaut after all, just like her hero Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman in space. Packed with fun facts about meteors and space to satisfy those curious minds, this charming picture book is laden with gorgeous illustrations that will convince children to get excited about the natural world, just like Rocket. Challenging traditional gender norms, Look Up! will show space-mad readers that the sky really is the limit.
My second recommendation is Hair Love by Matthew Cherry, based on the Oscar-Winning Short Film
An empowering story that celebrates the beautiful diversity of black hair, and the magical relationship between daddies and daughters everywhere. Zuri’s hair has a mind of its own! It kinks, coils, and curls every which way. Zuri knows it’s beautiful. When her Daddy steps in to style it for an extra special occasion, he has a lot to learn. But he loves his Zuri, and he’ll do
anything to make her -and her hair – happy!
My next recommendation is Grandpa, Is Everything Black Bad? by Sandy Holman Lynne
A thought provoking book to help children identify with their heritage, not just a colour. It can be used to dispel myths and stereotypes and launch an excellent discussion of race equality. “Grandpa, Is Everything Black Bad?” is a wonderfully illustrated story of an African American boy who questions the goodness of his black skin because he sees so many black things in his life that are bad; bad guys on TV wear black, black cats bring bad luck, people wear black to funerals, etc. He then learns of his proud heritage from his Grandfather whose wise words and magical drumming capture his imagination. In a mystical journey through ancient Africa, the boy learns to identify himself with his heritage and, ultimately, to appreciate his beautiful, dark skin.
Next is a pair of book, Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History and Little Leaders: Exceptional Men in Black History by Vashti Harrison
‘I made up my mind to try. I tried and I was successful.’- Bessie Coleman.
Both books are packed with the wonderful biographies of brave, bold black women and men who have broken boundaries and are have changed the world. They may not have always been accepted, but with their powerful voices, extraordinary actions and unswayable beliefs, each one has made the world a better place for generations to come. Packed with strong positive role models, that inspire children to dream big and make a difference. These are also a great little read for the adults too!
My final recommendation is Lightning Girl by Alesha Dixon
A laugh out loud, adventurous and exciting novel for undercover superheroes!
10-year-old Aurora Beam lives at home with her utterly unremarkable family… until the day she sees her little sister being picked on in the playground and suddenly beams of light shoot out of her fingers! It’s time for her parents to drop a life-changing bombshell. Mum is a secret superhero, fighting crime across the globe while Dad looks after the kids at home. As Aurora’s own powers come into play, will she be able to balance her new super skills training with school? Will she be able to keep it all a secret from her friends? And when her mum’s evil twin pops up, will Aurora think that being a super VILLAIN might be more fun…?”
THANK YOU Miss Randall! What an amazing selection of books. Do check out Miss Randalls’ YouTube story time channel.
Look Up! is available as an eBook if you have a Birmingham lIbrary card. Bold Women in Black History and Grandpa, is everything black bad? are available from the mobile library (which stops in Banners Gate and Falcon Lodge). Hair Love is available from Mere Green Library.
Little Leaders: Exceptional Men in Black History is in the Birmingham library system but currently not available in any Sutton library.
Lightning Girl is available from Walmley and Sutton Coldfield libraries and also the Mobile library.