Saturday, February 25, 2017

Kid Konnection: Celebrate Black History Month!

Every Saturday, I host a feature called Kid Konnection -- a regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. This week I'm going to share with you two educational books that teach kids about two largely unknown events in black history... or at least unknown to me!

Summary: A pile of lime-encrusted shackles discovered on the seafloor in the remains of a ship called the Henrietta Marie, lands Michael Cottman, a Washington, D.C.-based journalist and avid scuba diver, in the middle of an amazing journey that stretches across three continents—from foundries and tombs in England, to slave ports on the shores of West Africa, to present-day Caribbean plantations. This is more than just the story of one ship—it's the untold story of millions of people taken as captives to the New World. Told from the author's perspective, this book introduces young readers to the wonders of diving, detective work, and discovery, while shedding light on the history of slavery. -- National Geographic

I will never claim to know much about black history in our country, and that's why I think I was so interested in the new book SHACKLES FROM THE DEEP: TRACING THE PATH OF A SUNKEN SLAVE SHIP, A BITTER PAST, AND A RICH LEGACY by Michael H. Cottman. This book, aimed at children ages ten and up, was written by a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist; and it's truly a fascinating story.

SHACKLES FROM THE DEEP is Michael Cottman's story about the discovery of the remains of a slave ship deep in the ocean. Naturally, he was interested in the remains of the ship, but as a black man, he also felt a deep connection to the story. His interest took him on a journey to sites in three continents including a slave port in West Africa. I found the book to be not only a great story but an emotional one as well.

SHACKLES FROM THE DEEP is a deeply personal story that will being to life the ugliness of the slave trade. I admired the author's honesty as well as his desire to share this story with today's kids, and I thought he balanced the actual story with his emotions extremely well. The book was extremely readable, and the pictures added a nice touch.

Kids who are interested in history as well as exploration will enjoy this book. Highly recommended!

Summary: James Meredith's 1966 march in Mississippi began as one man's peaceful protest for voter registration and became one of the South's most important demonstrations of the civil rights movement. It brought together leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. and Stokely Carmichael, who formed an unlikely alliance that resulted in the Black Power movement, which ushered in a new era in the fight for equality.

The retelling of Meredith's story opens on the day of his assassination attempt and goes back in time to recount the moments leading up to that event and its aftermath. Readers learn about the powerful figures and emerging leaders who joined the over 200-mile walk that became known as the "March Against Fear."

Thoughtfully presented by award-winning author Ann Bausum, this book helps readers understand the complex issues of fear, injustice, and the challenges of change. It is a history lesson that's as important and relevant today as it was 50 years ago. -- National Geographic

I feel as if I should have been more familiar with the subject matter of the book THE MARCH AGAINST FEAR: THE LAST GREAT WALK OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT AND THE EMERGENCE OF BLACK POWER by Ann Bausum. In fact after I picked up the book and started reading the first few pages, I was shocked that I didn't know more about this major event in the fight for equality.

THE MARCH AGAINST FEAR gives a detailed account of James Meredith's 1966 march in Mississippi. This march began with one man wanting to peacefully protest for voter registration and turned into one of the most important events in the fight for civil rights. All of the major players, including Martin Luther King Jr., were part of this 200-mile walk; however, the walk really showed the emergence of the Black Power movement.

THE MARCH AGAINST FEAR is aimed at kids ages twelve and up, but I have to say that I thought the book was a little too long for my twelve year old. It's not that he couldn't read this book because of it's page length. Rather, it's just a lot of detailed information about the history of the Black Power movement... and I don't think he would have stayed focused for the entire book. Having said that, I do think older kids (especially teens) would appreciate this book more than most middle schoolers.

This book tells an important part of our country's history and should be part of every middle school and high school library.

Thanks to Media Masters for providing review copies of these books.

If you'd like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children's books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, please leave a comment as well as a link below with your name/blog name and the title of the book! Feel free to grab the little button too!


bermudaonion said...

Hopefully schools today are doing a better job teaching black history than they did when we were in school. Both of those books sound outstanding.

Stacie said...

Shackles from the Deep was so interesting to me in how they accidentally found the ship and what stories it told. I think kids are learning about the people related to Black History but not the feelings surrounds that time and the fear and hate that was such a regular expression of people's emotions.