The Negro Speaks of Rivers
by Langston Hughes
Disney, 2009, $16.99 (hardcover) Ages 4-8
Exquisite watercolors by award-winning illustrator E.B. Lewis capture the spirit of the poem written by an 18-year-old Langston Hughes in 1920. As the acknowledged voice of the Harlem Renaissance, Hughes offers children insights into struggles black people have faced. This book, dedicated by the illustrator to the "dedicated heroes of the civil rights movement," celebrates the strength and courage of black people in America. A perfect book to read with your kids in February, Black History Month.
by Sheila Sweeny Higginson
Disney Press, 2007 $4.99 - Ages 2-6
What was it about February 14 that Mickey was supposed to remember? Just in the nick of time, he remembers and off he goes with a special Mickey Mouse Clubhouse guest to make Minnie the perfect Valentine's Day gift. Sparkly stickers and lovely illustrations will keep young Mickey and Minnie fans riveted at they watch Mickey plan and make the perfect pink and white gift for Minnie.
Vive La Paris
by Esme Raji Codell
Hyperion, 2006, $5.99 - Ages 9-12
Paris McCray is her brother's keeper. She doesn't always like it, but who else is going to protect her shy, quiet eighth-grade brother Michael from the evil bullying of Tanaeja, a girl in Paris's fifth-grade class? And then there's Paris's eccentric piano teacher, old Mrs. Rosen, who, with her matzoh-ball soup, chopped-liver sandwiches, yellow star and tattooed arm, ends up teaching Paris far more than her scales. The author couples history with cultural/social aspects of what happens as a young black girl begins to see the good things and the bad things about life. Paris and the same unpredictable, enjoyable characters the author brought to life in her award-winning tale, Sahara Special, emerge again to offer readers insights into some of life's biggest lessons, like unconditional love, prejudice and ethics. A charming book that will leave readers thinking about the important things in life.
Silent Thunder: A Civil War Story
by Andrea Davis Pinkney
Hyperion, 1999, $5.99
"Anything that makes you feel good has gotta stay cooped up," 11-year-old Summer, a slave on a Virginia plantation is warned by an older slave. But Summer and her older brother Roscoe just can't keep the code of slaves in 1862; squelching their desires and holding in their dreams as "silent thunder." Summer wants to read and write more than anything; and Roscoe wants to fight for his freedom. Readers not only get a lesson in history as they read about Roscoe and Summer and their quest to fulfill their dreams, the struggles of the two compelling characters make this book hard to put down.
by Jane Green
Plume, 2007, $14.00
This grass is always greener, but not for more than a few days, as Vicky Townsley and Amber Winslow find out. Vicky, the posh, successful single features director of London's Poise! magazine felt something was missing in her life; namely a husband, kids, dog and charming country cottage. Amber, had the husband, dog, kids, to-die-for wardrobe and stunning Connecticut mansion, but was thinking there must be more to life than playdates, decorating and fundraising. A contest run by Poise! changed both their lives, allowing them to take a few steps down "the road not taken" to see past the "if onlys" to the things that really mattered. Vicky and Amber are such intriguing characters; whether you're single or married with children, there's something about one of the characters that's sure to hit home. This one was hard to put down!