For the first week of Black History Month, The Reading Renaissance Campaign focuses on the theme of Africana history and culture. The books reviewed for this week provide a rich content for young readers to develop an appreciation of the Africana experience.
How the Leopard Got His Claws by Chinua Achebe is a powerful book. The book provides the reader with an interesting charge: who will you become after the conflict? Will you remain a person who is humble gentle and wise or will you allow your heart to harden and become a person who is unforgiving? These are the themes the author implicitly poses to children when they are disappointed by friends or people they hold in high esteem. This is a great tool to teach children how to bounce back after disappointment.
Chicken in the Kitchen by Nnedi Okorafor is a great book that inspires to make-believe. When the main character is faced with the dilemma with the chicken, she calls on a make pretend friend to help her solve the problem. Solving the problem enables her to realize the chicken was not a threat, but a potential friend. The brilliant and colorful pictures allow children to enjoy the story.
Vingananee & the Tree Toad is a story about unconventional strength. The story is about a monster that terrorizes a village. Each animal attempts to use their physical strength to defeat the monster. But the toad decides to use his intellect and his majestic voice, which he uses to finally defeat the monster. This story teaches kids that solving problems requires using your talents and mind.
Anansi the Spider is a classic African folktale. This book tells the story of a famous spider and his six sons who saved his life. Using their individual talents, they develop and enact a plan to save his life. Once they save his life, he has to determine who is the most worthier of the reward. This is a fun bedtime story to read to children.
Hey Black Child by Useni Perkins is a fun and inspirational book. The author does a great job integrating affirmative words and fascinating pictures depicting Black kids striving towards excellence. Reading this book allows Black children know that their dreams are possible. This is a must read with an animated voice to kids.
My People by Langston Hughes is a beautifully written book with stunning photography by Charles R. Smith. The inspirational flow of the book’s words and pictures makes it a great read for toddlers.