Monday, February 29, 2016

An #AARI16 Booklist: Making the African American Read-In Last All Year Long

The SuperFriends and I have had an amazingly busy February! We greatly enjoyed participating in the National African American Read-In with ninth and tenth graders at Philly's U School on Friday, February 19, and at the Penn Bookstore on Saturday, February 20... as well as on our @HealingFictions Twitter account! We had a great time discussing our #AARI16 book selections, and can't wait to share our picks for Women's History Month under my #StoryGirls hashtag tomorrow.

Later this week, we'll bring you an interview with two leading figures from African American children's and young adult literature. Julius Lester is a multiple award winning author, historian, and former professor at the University of Massachusetts - Amherst. He received the 1969 Newbery Honor Award for his groundbreaking book To Be a Slave, illustrated by the legendary artist Tom Feelings. Arnold Adoff is a notable poet, famous for his 1968 anthology I Am The Darker Brother, which was one of the first modern collections of Black poetry for children. He is the widower of the eminent children's writer Virginia Hamilton, as well as the father of children's author Jaime Adoff. For a second time, my wonderful doctoral students Sherea Mosley and Josh Coleman came up with the questions. I am so excited, honored, and privileged to be able share Mr. Lester and Mr. Adoff's profound insights about children's publishing and life.

In the meantime, on this Leap Day, I am reflecting upon our reasons for commemorating both Black History Month and the National African American Read-In. The NCTE website recounts the history of this major event celebrating Black children's and young adult literature:

"At its November 1989 meeting, the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English accepted the Issues Committee's recommendation that the Black Caucus sponsor a nationwide Read-In on the first Sunday of February. At the request of educators, Monday was designated for educational institutions. Dr. Jerrie Cobb Scott, an active member of NCTE and the Black Caucus, brought the idea to the Committee. It was envisioned that following a decade of rigorous campaigning for participants, the African American Read-Ins would become a traditional part of Black History Month celebrations. The commitment for nationwide promotion extends from 1990 to the present. In 1990, the National Council of Teachers of English joined in the sponsorship of the African American Read-In Chain."

We are proud to have been part of the 26th Annual National African American Read-In, both in the virtual world and in "RL" (real life), alongside thousands of kids, teens, teachers, parents, and community members around the United States. However, just because it's February 29th, and Black History Month is over, it doesn't mean the celebration is over! Please enjoy our picks so that you can make your African American Read-In last all year long.

February 1. To Be a Drum by Evelyn Coleman
February 2. Heart and Soul by Kadir Nelson
February 3. Something Beautiful by Sharon Dennis Wyeth
February 4. No Mirrors in My Nana's House by Ysaye Barnwell
February 5. The Rock and the River by Kekla Magoon
February 6. One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
February 7. Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis
February 8. The Skin I'm In by Sharon Flake
February 9. This Side of Home by Renée Watson
February 10. Dizzy by Jonah Winter, illustrated by Sean Qualls
February 11. Please Baby Please by Spike and Tonya Lee, illustrated by Kadir Nelson
February 12. Last Summer with Maizon by Jacqueline Woodson
February 13. The Watsons Go to Birmingham by Christopher Paul Curtis
February 14. Sweethearts in Rhythm by Marilyn Nelson, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
February 15. Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope by Nikki Grimes
February 16. A Chair For My Mother by Vera B. Williams
February 17. Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold
February 18. Daddy Calls Me Man by Angela Johnson, illustrated by Rhonda Mitchell
February 19. Momma, Where Are You From? by Marie Bradby, illustrated by Chris Soentpiet
February 20. Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina & New Orleans by Don Brown
February 21. Our Gracie Aunt by Jacqueline Woodson
February 22. Mare's War by Tanita S. Davis
February 23. Firebird by Misty Copeland
February 24. The Secret Olivia Told by N. Joy, illustrated by Nancy Devard
February 25. The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch by Chris Barton, illustrated by Don Tate
February 26. Riot by Walter Dean Myers
February 27. Walk Together Children: Black American Spirituals Volume One selected and illustrated by Ashley Bryan
February 28. Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson
February 29. The People Could Fly by Virginia Hamilton


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