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Lincoln’s Grave Robbers

History written in a lively narrative form is what sets this book apart. Author Steve Sheinikin weaves the tale of the bizarre case of an attempt to steal Abraham Lincoln’s body from his grave.  I was distracted in the beginning chapters of the book because much attention is given to nineteenth century counterfeiters. Sheinikin skillfully … Continue reading

“These Hands” by Margaret H. Mason

I’m a firm believer in sharing black history stories through the year, not just during Black History Month. This lovely picture book is appropriate for sharing during any discussion and/or lesson about the Civil Rights era. Joseph is a young child whose “Grandpa” could do anything with his hands. Many children can relate to a … Continue reading

The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963

When I heard that this novel has been made into a movie and will soon air on the Hallmark Channel, I wanted to read it before watching the movie. I’d seen it on YA shelves for years, but knowing what happened in Birmingham in 1963, I resisted reading it. The bombing of the church which … Continue reading

Zora and Me by Victoria Bond and TR Simon

The bad things that happen to you in life don’t define misery–what you do with them does.” ~ Carrie, narrator of this wonderful YA historical fiction novel. While Carrie is fictional, the true subject of this novel, Zora Neale Hurston, is real. Hurston is perhaps the most famous woman writer from the Harlem Renaissance era. … Continue reading

“Priscilla the Great” by Sybil Nelson

This is a fun read for late elementary through middle school students. There are typical adolescent issues, such as crushes and cliques. Middle grade readers will relate to much of that narrative. Priscilla then begins to exhibit some superpowers. The revelation of the powers and the mystery surrounding her family provide suspense to keep even … Continue reading

“Red Scarf Girl” by Ji-li Jiang

The narrator/main character/author of this fantastic YA novel is Ji-li Jiang who lived the first ten years of her life feeling very lucky. As she describes her childhood in the beginning of the book, the reader is indeed treated to Ji-li Jiang’s description of a very lucky life. A loving and close family, a cozy … Continue reading

“Odetta The Queen of Folk” by Stephen Alcorn

This beautifully illustrated and poetically told picture book about Odetta Holmes can be shared with young students  just on its language and colorful pictures alone.  It’s a kid-friendly biography of 1960s era black folk singer, Odetta Holmes. Classically trained, Ms. Holmes became known during the Civil Rights movement as a folk singer, although her songs actually blend spirituals, jazz, and blues. … Continue reading