These Hands

Joseph’s grandpa could do almost anything with his hands. He could play the piano, throw a curveball, and tie a triple bowline knot in three seconds flat. But in the 1950s and 60s, he could not bake bread at the Wonder Bread factory. Factory bosses said white people would not want to eat bread touched by the hands of the African Americans who worked there. In this powerful intergenerational story, Joseph learns that people joined their hands together to fight discrimination so that one day, their hands Joseph’s hands could do anything at all in this whole wide world.

One Crazy Summer

In the summer of 1968, after travelling from Brooklyn to Oakland, California, to spend a month with the mother they barely know, eleven-year-old Delphine and her two younger sisters arrive to a cold welcome as they discover that their mother, a dedicated poet and printer, is resentful of the intrusion of their visit and wants them to attend a nearby Black Panther summer camp.

See the review at WOW Review, Volume 5, Issue 1

No Crystal Stair

A documentary novel of the life and work of Lewis Michaux, Harlem bookseller

‘You can’t walk straight on a crooked line. You do you’ll break your leg. How can you walk straight in a crooked system?’

Lewis Michaux was born to do things his own way. When a white banker told him to sell fried chicken, not books, because Negroes don’t read,’ Lewis took five books and one-hundred dollars and built a bookstore. It soon became the intellectual center of Harlem, a refuge for everyone from Muhammad Ali to Malcolm X.

In No Crystal Stair, Coretta Scott King Award-winning author Vaunda Micheaux Nelson combines meticulous research with a storyteller’s flair to document the life and times of her great uncle Lewis Michaux, an extraordinary literacy pioneer of the Civil Rights era.

‘My life was no crystal stair, far from it. But I’m taking my leave with some pride. It tickles me to know that those folks who said I could never sell books to black people are eating crow. I’d say my seeds grew pretty damn well. And not just the book business. It’s the more important business of moving our people forward that has real meaning.’

See the review at WOW Review, Volume 5, Issue 1

When Jo Louis Won The Title

Jo Louis dreads her first day in her new school because she is sure that the other children will make fun of her name. “This will be an effective prompt for many families and how-you-got-your-name stories, and many youngsters, especially reading with relatives, will appreciate the loving evocation of bonds to kin and history.” — Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

Never Forgotten

This gorgeous picture book by Newbery Honor winner Patricia C. McKissack and two-time Caldecott Medal-winning husband-and-wife team Leo and Diane Dillon is sure to become a treasured keepsake for African American families. Set in West Africa, here is a lyrical story-in-verse about a young black boy who is kidnapped and sold into slavery, which will remind children that their slave ancestors should never be forgotten, and that family is more important than anything else.