What I'm Reading for Black History Month

For Grown-Ups:

This February, I am aiming to educate myself not only on black history, but also on the black experience in the present.  The leaders at Be the Bridge (an incredible organization if you are passionate about racial reconciliation) have created an AMAZING reading list on Amazon, and I would honestly love to read every single book on that list. I had the hardest time narrowing the list down, but I personally take a long time to process non-fiction, and there is a lot to chew on here.  I don't want to rush through without taking the time to sit with these ideas, so I'm going to keep it short.

  • Be the Bridge by Latasha Morrison - It's inexcusable that I haven't read this yet. Latasha Morrison is the founder of Be the Bridge, and I am forever grateful for the work she has put in.  She is also wise as hell, and I want to sit at her feet and soak up her wisdom.
  • Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson - I'm not actually reading this right now; I finished it a few months ago, but it shook me to my core.  I first learned of the Equal Justice Initiative when they opened the National Memorial for Peace and Justice (from my Be the Bridge community!) and I wanted to hear more from Bryan Stevenson.  This book is so well-written, and so heart-breaking.  I know it's popped up on a lot of people's radars since the movie has come out, and I couldn't recommend it more.
  • The Very Good Gospel by Lisa Sharon Harper - For me, the work of racial reconciliation is wrapped up in my faith in a loving God who created all people in His image, and this book in particular is written directly through that lens.  I have listened (and re-listened) to Lisa Sharon Harper's preaching on a number of podcasts, and her understanding of the gospel and it's necessary applications to all people spoke to my soul as exactly what I know to be truth and could never put into words myself.  This one has been on the top of my list for a long time.  Note: it's very much broader than black history, but I think it's a good foundation for the heart work necessary to pursue the hard truths embedded in black history.  
  • Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi - I love when the lens is pulled out and a writer can bring out the threads that weave throughout history, and this book has won a number of awards for doing just that.  I think there is immense value in individual stories, but juxtaposing those stories with a big picture illustration makes both richer.  I think this book will give me lots of trails to explore further.

For the Girls:

  • Charnaie at Here Wee Read is a WEALTH of resources for diverse children's books.  You may notice that several picture biographies came from her suggestions. I add a book to my reading list from her Instagram almost every day.  She teamed up with Chasity at Whimsical Designs by CJ to create a beautiful Black History Month reading activity poster.
  • Speaking of Chasity, she has been doing beautiful illustrations of "29 figures in history (or in current times ) that I didn’t know until recently." I love this, and have lots of inspiration to research more.
  • The team at The Conscious Kid have also been sharing short biographical snippets of relatively unknown figures in Black History.  Having an image and a short story to share make them super accessible for the girls.
  • Of course, picture biographies are a great zoomed-in way to help history come alive for the girls, and we try to be intentional about representing a wide variety in the biographies we choose.  Black History Month presents a great opportunity to survey what we have and add in a new book or two to grow in our learning.  This year, I'm actually waiting until Become a Leader Like Michelle Obama comes out in March because the illustration of Barack as her cheerleader just kills me.  The illustrations in this series are insane.

    What are you reading this month, or have read recently and recommend? Any other Bridge-Builders here?  I would love to hear from you!

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