Team ezpz believes that African American history is American history, and it goes without saying that it should be studied year-round. With that said, it doesn’t hurt to up the ante during this month of observance! On this blog we are sharing some of our favorite books that celebrate the culture and contributions of African Americans.
Reading Foundation: Reading to (and with) your child can help them understand new vocabulary, develop positive language and prepare them for social situations involving race outside of the home. Focusing on reading skills is always beneficial, but it’s especially true this month as we celebrate and support African Americans.
Reading Selection for 2-4-year-olds: For this age range I like to choose books that have a lot of fun action words. That way, you can act out some of the book or even read parts of the book in a sing-song way to maintain their attention. Remember, you don’t have to read all the words on the page for this age group.
- I love the book Full, Full, Full of Love by Trish Cooke. This book has a ton of fun verbs, which makes it more interactive for your little one. It is about the special relationship between a grandmother and a child. It’s filled with grannie kisses and delicious dishes showcasing cultural foods like collard greens and yams. Yum!
- Another favorite of mine is The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. I own this book in paperback as well as on CD. After a few times of reading it with one of my students, I let them read along with the CD (the chimes indicate when they should turn the page). Having them be in control of the ‘action part’ of reading goes a long way in encouraging a love of books!
Reading Selection for 4-8-year-olds: When choosing books for your younger children, I like to select books that have rhyming or repetitious words. These books help children understand and verbalize new words in spontaneous conversation.
- Personally, I’m a huge fan of Sharee Miller, who is a black illustrator and author of Don’t Touch My Hair! and Princess Hair. These colorful books celebrate different hair types – from dreadlocks to braids to fluffy curls. And they have been a huge hit with the families I work with!
Reading Selection for 8+ year-olds: With older children, I like books that are relatable and inspirational. Making the content relatable is key for retention and long-term memory.
- ezpz’s founder and entrepreneur, Lindsey Laurain, is reading the book What Color is My World with her three boys. Lindsey invented the award-winning Happy Mat when her sons were young, and they have been enamored with product discovery and inventions ever since! This book is about African American inventors and is jam-packed with fun facts. To add to the cool factor, it’s co-authored by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (NBA legend) and Raymond Obstfeld. It’s a slam dunk for this age group (teehee!).
Reading Rotation: There are many books for us to enjoy with our children, and it’s important to periodically add books that inspire dialogue around racism + race. Books can encourage empathy and foster perseverance, and it's important to highlight our differences and celebrate the beauty in all of us. Are you celebrating Black History Month by reading books with your family? Please share your favorites with us by using the hashtags #ezpzfun and #BlackHistoryMonth.