As Black History Month comes to an end and Women’s History Month begins, the children’s book Heroes of Black History: Biographies of Four Great Americans is a book that observes both.
With lots of colorful illustrations that show great emotion, the book chronicles the lives of four great Americans in black history: Harriet Tubman, Jackie Robinson, Rosa Parks and our 44th president, Barack Obama.
Harriet Tubman, and the events that led her to seek freedom for herself and others is explained, along with how she received help along the way, how railroad “stations” were developed, and how railroad “conductors” used secret lingo and talked in code to keep from getting caught. The book breaks down what went into making the Underground Railroad work and the hard choices Harriet had to make, including leaving her parents behind, to help the cause of the Union during the Civil War.
Jackie Robinson’s story is told beginning with how he grew up in a time of segregation and prejudice, sneaking into reservoirs at night to swim because blacks were not allowed. He excelled in high school sports, and played football years before he became a famous baseball player and the first black player in Major League Baseball. After his career in baseball, he went on to work as a newspaper columnist and received an honorary degree from Howard University.
Heroes of Black History begins Rosa Parks’ story with her life growing up on a farm in Tuskegee Alabama, and how her education began at a private school for black girls. Once an adult, Rosa married and began working with the NAACP, which fueled her desire to fight for the civil rights of blacks. The book tells of her brave actions as a major player in the bus boycotts, her work for Congressman John Conyers, Jr. until she was 75, and being honored in 1996 with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Former President Barack Obama is also highlighted in Heroes of Black History, which tells of how he lived in Indonesia then moved back to Hawaii to attend an elite prep school. From his difficulties in college to his triumphs, including being named the first president of the Harvard Law Review, the book gives detail of these parts of his life as well as how he began in politics, from grassroots leader to senator and eventually becoming the first black president of the United States.
Heroes of Black History: Biographies of Four Great Americans is a superbly written book and educational tool for both home and school. While longer than typical picture books, its length makes it great as it gives detail about four well-known figures in black history, information that wouldn’t fit in a typical 26-page picture book.
Other details that make Heroes of Black History: Biographies of Four Great Americans a must-buy:
- At the end of each chapter, the book features a timeline with key dates in the life of each hero in history.
- It includes a glossary with definitions of words including “abolitionist”, “boycott” and “sharecropper” – giving further opportunity for educators and parents to explain unfamiliar terms to children.
- In the back of the book is also an index to reference specific events in history.
- In addition to the book, you can find a resource guide that offers discussion questions for educators; the guide features a worksheet for book reports as well as activities for children to further explore other great figures in black history.
Heroes of Black History: Biographies of Four Great Americans
Author/Publisher: Time Kids
Introduction by Charlayne Hunter-Gault