Black History Month is an excellent time to revisit outstanding titles focusing the African American experience as well as introduce newer books.
Originally published 20 years ago in 1995, THE WATSONS GO TO BIRMINGHAM-1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis has become a favorite of elementary teachers and librarians. This compelling work of historical fiction tells the story of an African American family living in Flint, Michigan in 1963. The fictional family travels to Birmingham Alabama and becomes involved in the factual 16th Street Baptist Church bombing.
The year 1963 is also at the center of a recently published book titled WE’VE GOT A JOB by Cynthia Levinson. This work of nonfiction incorporates the stories of four young people and historical photographs to help young readers better understand their nonviolent fight to end racial segregation in 1963. The goal was to confront white Birmingham through a series of peaceful protests such as lunch counter sit-ins, store picketing, and marches. Levinson does a masterful job combining a fast-paced narrative featuring the lives of real African American youth protesters, along with an overarching discussion of the key historical events and activities. By weaving the experiences of the four youth into the story, the author helps readers feel the events come to life. The book concludes with the “afterworld” providing a glimpse into the lives of Audrey, Wash, James, and Arnetta since their involvement in the Children’s March. An author’s note, timeline, map, notes, bibliography, and index are also included.
The We’ve Got a Job website provides additional information and insights into the Children’s March. Go to http://www.wevegotajob.com/.
To learn more about the author, visit her website at http://www.cynthialevinson.com/.