Books that Celebrate Love and African American History Month

Books that Celebrate Love and African American History Month

Author Mary Quattlebaum reviewed a variety of books to celebrate love and African American History Month. Read one or more with your kids in February.


I Love You Created by Lemon Ribbon Studio

I Love You Created by Lemon Ribbon Studio Ladybird/Penguin, 2022, $12.99

Cater to a young child’s curiosity about the world and desire to look, listen and touch with this delightful board book, the latest in the Ladybird Baby Touch series. Bright, stylized illustrations accompany a minimal text that guides the child to seek out and run their fingers over various textures: the fuzzy caterpillar, sparkly, bumpy rocket and shimmery, smooth mermaid. The book takes a playful multi-sensory approach to learning and both boosts motor skills and enriches vocabulary. Little ones will also love scoping out the little ladybug on every double-page spread and finishing the book with “time for cuddles.”

ages 4 – 8

Jump In! By Shadra Strickland

Jump In! By Shadra Strickland Bloomsbury, 2023, $18.99

Award-winning author/illustrator Shadra Strickland employs verse and art as skillfully as her characters ply their double-dutch skills in this lively paean to neighborhood inclusiveness and fun. Everyone has a turn: the Delancey twins who “jump in twos,” hip-hopping Leroy, the Reverend and even nimble senior lady Ms. Mabel who knows “how it’s done.” Intriguing “camera” angles ramp up the dynamic quality of illustrations that shimmy and bounce across double-page spreads, inviting young readers to “jump in” and revel in this read.

Going Places: Victor Hugo Green and His Glorious BookGoing Places: Victor Hugo Green and His Glorious Book By Tonya Bolden Illustrated by Eric Velasquez Quill Tree/HarperCollins, 2022, $17.99

Acclaimed author Tonya Bolden tells the true story of Victor Hugo Green and his ground-breaking travel book – first available in 1936 – which enabled Black people to travel safely in the United States during the Jim Crow era. A scrupulous researcher, Green expanded his listings over the years to include hotels, restaurants and gas stations in places ranging from New York City to the Deep South and overseas. Erica Velasquez’s beautiful oil paintings capture the possibilities and excitement of travel while noting the dangers of sundown towns and the prevalence of “white only” signs. Bolden’s free verse conveys the rhythm of cars speeding smoothly along a highway.

ages 9 – 13

Garvey in the Dark By Nikki Grimes Garvey in the Dark By Nikki Grimes Wordsong/Astra, 2022, $17.99

In this companion to “Garvey’s Choice,” master poet Nikki Grimes follows her beloved character as he and his family deal with Covid-19 and the lockdowns in early 2020 in Southern California, where he lives. This may seem like a challenging subject, but Grimes’ short, accessible poems allow the reader to connect both with Garvey’s worries and stress – and their own memories and ongoing concerns. This timely, moving novel in verse may encourage young people to share their own feelings about the pandemic out loud and in writing.

The Green Piano How Little Me Found Music The Green Piano How Little Me Found Music By ROBERTA FLACK Co-written by Tonya Bolden Illustrations by Hayden Goodman

Open this book and see what inspired a five-time Grammy Award winner’s journey to stardom. It all started with a green piano. Little Roberta Flack didn’t have much, but she had what was important: a family rich with love. And she had a dream – to live a life filled with music. When her daddy finds a beat-up piano in a junkyard, brings it home and paints it a grassy green, Roberta is overjoyed! If she practices … and practices … and practices, will her dream come true? Available wherever books are sold.


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