Book review: Heroes of Black HistoryBy Terri Schlichenmeyer / December 29, 2017
Who do you look up to?
Who is the person you most want to be like when you grow up? The one you go to when you need advice, a kind word, or new direction? Is it a parent who puts your head on straight? Or a teacher that always knows what to say? Do you look up to someone close to you now or, as in “Time for Kids: Heroes of Black History,” is it someone much bigger than that?
If you had to make a list of everything that happened in Black History, you’d have to put the year 1500 on the top of your list because that’s where African American history began. On your list, there’d be a lot of names and dates, too, but four names may stand out for you.
Born in 1820, Araminta was a slave because her parents and grandparents were slaves. Called by her mother’s name, young “Harriet” worked hard at everything she did but she was beaten because she was also “rebellious.” It was that rebellion – and fear of being sold – that made her escape from her master. It was freedom that made Harriet Tubman want to help others to escape, too.
When Jackie Robinson began playing baseball, there were “rules” that told him where he could eat, live, and even get a drink of water. But Robinson wanted to play ball and so he smashed a few rules to be the first African American major-leaguer.
Even before he was born, “Barry” Obama’s mother believed in him: Barry’s real name is Barack, which means “blessed” in his father’s native language. Barry was a good student, and had a sense of humor, but he was teased because he was the only Black kid in his school. That was all just a memory when Barack Obama became President of the United States.
And “On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks stepped onto a bus – and into history.”
So your child has been given an assignment to read one biography this winter. Just one – but one will turn into four when you’ve got “Time for Kids: Heroes of Black History” on your shelf.
The first thing kids will notice about this book is its easy-to-understand narrative and easy-to-read print; it’s just enough of a challenge, but not overly so. Kids will also like the artwork in this book, including photographs from different eras in history. The four subjects here are examined with a young audience in mind: each mini-chapter includes a bit about the childhoods of Tubman, Robinson, Parks, and Obama, which keeps the information relevant for children. Parents will appreciate that there’s a glossary and thumbnail bios of other Black heroes for plenty of further learning.
Though it can surely be read by anyone, “Time for Kids: Heroes of Black History” is really meant for kids ages eight and older, especially those who love history. If you know a child like that, you might as well find it now. It’s a book your kids will want to look up.
Terri Schlichenmeyer is the Peacemaker book reviewer. She lives in LaCrosse, Wisconsin with her husband and two pups, Louie and Ren.