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Kids Read - Amazing African American Women PDF Print E-mail
Written by Flannery Fitch   


In continuing our theme of celebrating the diversity that makes our country great, I want to honor both February’s Black History Month and March’s Women’s History Month by recommending several books about amazing African American women.


Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement

By Carole Boston Weatherford

Fannie Lou Hamer grew up in the Mississippi Delta during the Jim Crow era. As an adult, she was a hero of the Civil Rights movement, and later ran for office. This beautiful book tells her story through powerful prose and vibrant artwork.


Show Way

By Jacqueline Woodson

Soonie’s family sews quilts with secret meanings, scraps of fabric held together with thread and dreams, showing the paths to freedom. In this gorgeous book, illustrated with mixed media and told in flowing prose, the story of these freedom quilts and Soonie’s family is told—from slavery to freedom to today.


Coretta Scott

By Ntozake Shange

Coretta Scott is largely known today in association with her husband, Martin Luther King, Jr. While her story and his are indeed inextricably intertwined, this book tells Coretta’s story and illuminates her life. The painted illustrations are utterly lovely, and the spare prose brings her story to rich life.


When Marian Sang: The True Recital of Marian Anderson

By Pam Munoz Ryan

Pam Munoz Ryan and Brian Selznick are one of my favorite writer/illustrator teams. In this exceptionally lovely book, illustrated as only Selznick can, they tell the story of Marian Anderson, an opera singer who famously held a concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1939, an event which drew 75,000 people, both black and white—no small feat in pre-Civil Rights America. Ryan’s fluid writing and Selznick’s illustrations meld with the beauty of Anderson’s words to pay soaring tribute to an amazing woman.


Harriet Tubman, Secret Agent

By Thomas Allen

Most everyone knows that Harriet Tubman was one of the most famous conductors of the Underground Railroad, shepherding slaves to freedom. What isn’t as well known is the work she did as a spy for the Union army during the Civil War. And she wasn’t alone. This great little book tells the stories of the slaves and free blacks who spied for the Union during the Civil War, helping to turn the tide of the war in the favor of the Union and Emancipation. This is a great addition to literature on the history of the Civil War!


Hidden Figures, Young Readers’ Edition

By Margot Lee Shetterly

If you have a kid who loved the movie Hidden Figures—or just wants to know about women in science—you should definitely get them the young readers’ edition of the book. A story of the race to the stars as well as that of the forgotten black women who helped get us there, this is an important part of American history finally seeing the light of day.


Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World

By Jensen Kelly

Feminism comes in all shapes and sizes in the modern day, and this new collection of feminist writing, poetry, comics, and illustrations for teens represents the many diverse voices of women standing up and claiming feminism as their own. Any teen curious about feminism or wondering how it fits into our new world will find a voice that speaks to them here.


Flannery Fitch is a bookseller at Bookshop Santa Cruz. Her life has been about books since before she could read.

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