February was Black History Month, so two of my Children's Book discoveries for the month celebrate African American history in the United States. Reading is such a wonderful way to share history and diverse perspectives with our kids. I'm always so thankful when I learn things from our reading too. Each of these books did just that for me.
Too often I get caught up in my constant efforts to make everything into a learning experience for my daughter. Sometimes, it is wonderful to be reminded that a huge part of childhood is finding joy in things that seem quite small to adults. The whimsy and quirkiness of Pizza by Frank Asch were a beautiful reminder to slow down and acknowledge that everyone really does love pizza. In this sweet and simple book, Baby Bear tries pizza for the first time. He loves it so much that he begins to see pizza everywhere. It even follows him into his dreams. If you’re looking for a fun, imaginative book to share with your kids, give this one a try. And eat more pizza!
Black History Month is a nice time to prioritize learning more about African American history in the United States. Julia Finley Mosca’s informative book, The Doctor With an Eye for Eyes: The Story of Dr. Patricia Bath, is a perfect introduction to a woman you may not be familiar with - I know I wasn’t. Sometimes books like this can be a little dry and it can be a struggle to keep the interest of little ones, but Finley Mosca’s book rhymes wonderfully. Plus, it is so informative. I loved learning about Dr. Patricia Bath, a black woman who was determined to become a doctor at a time when both women and black people were excluded from medical schools. She used her remarkable skills and intelligence to develop a treatment for blindness, among many other things. She is an inspirational trailblazer in so many ways!
Lesa Cline-Ransome’s beautiful middle grade novel, Finding Langson, stole my heart. Langston is eleven when his mother dies. In the aftermath, as a fulfillment of one of his mother’s wishes, he and his father move to Chicago from Alabama. It is 1946. Langston struggles to fit into his new urban environment. His father, still devastated from the loss of his mother, feels far away, and so does his home in Alabama. On his way home from school, where bullies have taken to teasing him for the way that he talks and dresses, he stumbles upon a library. There, he discovers a collection of poems by Langston Hughes. The collection makes him feel connected to his home in Alabama, his mother, and himself. This is a slim novel, perfect for reading together as a family, or solo. I loved every minute of it.