Jackie Robinson — Kids Summer Reading

Who Was Jackie Robinson?

By Gail Herman, Illustrated by John O’Brien

As a kid, Jackie Robinson loved sports. And why not? He was a natural at football, basketball, and, of course, baseball. But beyond athletic skill, it was his strength of character that secured his place in sports history. In 1947 Jackie joined the Brooklyn Dodgers, breaking the long-time color barrier in Major League Baseball. It was tough being the first, not only did “fans” send hate mail but some of his own teammates refused to accept him.

Stealing Home

Jackie Robinson Against All Odds

By Robert Burleigh and Mike Wimmer

Man on third. Two outs. The pitcher eyes the base runner, checks for the signs. The fans in the jammed stadium hold their breath. Flapping his outstretched arms like wings, number 42 leads off again. It is September 1955, game one of the World Series, the Yankees versus the Dodgers, and Jackie Robinson is about to do the unbelievable, attempt to steal home in a World Series game. Is it possible? Yes, it is, if you are Jackie Robinson.

In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson

By Bette Bao Lord

Shirley Temple Wong sails from China to America with a heart full of dreams. Her new home is Brooklyn, New York. America is indeed a land full of wonders, but Shirley doesn’t know any English so it’s hard to make friends. Then a miracle happens: baseball! It’s 1947 and Jackie Robinson star of the Brooklyn Dodgers is everyone’s hero. He proves that a black man, the grandson of a slave, can make a difference in America. By watching Jackie, Shirley begins to truly feel at home in her new country, and that America really is the land of opportunity — both on and off the field.

The Hero Two Doors Down:

Based on the True Story of Friendship Between a Boy and a Baseball Legend

By Sharon Robinson

Eight year old Stephen Satlow lives in Brooklyn, New York, which means he only cares about one thing, the Dodgers. Steve hears a rumor that an African-America family is moving to his neighborhood. It’s 1948 and some of his neighbors are against it. Steve knows this is wrong. His hero, Jackie Robinson, broke the color barrier in baseball the year before. And as it turns out, Steve’s new neighbor is Jackie Robinson. Written by Jackie Robinson’s daughter Sharon.

Jackie Robinson He Led the Way

By April Jones Prince

Illustrated by Robert Casilla

Jackie Robinson became the first black Major League Baseball player of the modern era when he stepped onto the field as a Brooklyn Dodger in 1947. This book follows Jackie from childhood through his career as an award winning baseball player and a hero of the civil rights movement.

When Jackie and Hank Met

by Cathy Goldberg Fishman

Illustrated by Mark Elliott

Jackie Robinson and Hank Greenberg were two very different people. But they both became Major League Baseball players and they both faced a lot of the same challenges in their lives and careers. For Jackie, it was his skin color, for Hank, his religion. On May 17, 1947, these two men met for the first time colliding at first base in a close play. While the crowd urged them to fight, Jackie and Hank chose a different path. This is the story of two men who went on to break the barriers of race and religion in America sports and became baseball legends in the process.


by Peter Golenbock, Illustrated by Paul Bacon

This is the moving story of how Jackie Robinson became the first black player on a Major League baseball team when he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1940s, and how on a fateful day in Cincinnati, Pee Wee Reese took a stand and declared Jackie his teammate. 

I am Jackie Robinson

By Brad Meltzer

Illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos

Jackie Robinson always loved sports, especially baseball. But he lived at a time before the Civil Rights Movement. Even though Jackie was a great athlete, he wasn’t allowed on the best teams just because of the color of his skin. Jackie knew that sports were best when everyone, of every color, played together. He became the first black player in Major League Baseball, and his bravery changed history and led the way to equality in all American sports.

The book descriptions used are primarily from the publishers.

Amelia Earhart — Kids Summer Reading

Who Was Amelia Earhart?

By Kate Boehm Jerome, Illustrated by David Cain

Amelia Earhart was a woman of many firsts. In 1932, she became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. In 1935, she became the first woman to fly across the Pacific. From her early years to her mysterious 1937 disappearance while attempting a flight around the world, readers will find her life a fascinating story. 8-12 years.

Daring Amelia

By Barbara Lowell, Illustrated by Jez Tuya

Even as a kid, Amelia Earhart was always looking for adventures. She had mud ball fights, explored caves, and even built a roller coaster in her backyard. The adventures continued as she grew up.

Amelia took flying lessons and was soon performing stunts in the sky. She became the first woman to fly across the Atlantic. Still, Amelia wanted to achieve more. She set out to fly around the world. Tragedy struck when Amelia was unable to find the small island in the Pacific Ocean she needed to land on. Amelia Earhart is remembered today as a daring explorer who loved to fly. 6-8 years.


Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride

By Pam Munoz Ryan

Illustrated by Brian Selznick

Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt were birds of a feather. Not only were they two of the most admired and respected women of all time, they were also good friends. 

On a brisk and cloudless evening in April 1933, Amelia and Eleanor did the unprecedented: They stole away from a White House dinner, commandeered an Eastern Air Transport jet, and took off on a glorious adventure, while still dressed in their glamorous evening gowns. 7-10 years

Amelia Earhart: The Legend of the Lost Aviator

By Shelley Tanaka, Illustrated by David Craig

Ever since Amelia Earhart and her plane disappeared on July 2, 1937, people have wanted to know more about this remarkable woman. Amelia Earhart follows the charismatic aviator from her first sight of an airplane at the age of ten to the last radio transmission she made before she vanished. 8-12 years.

Night Flight: Amelia Earhart Crosses the Atlantic

By Robert Burleigh

Illustrated by Wendell Minor

Robert Burleigh has captured Amelia Earhart’s first solo flight across the Atlantic in 1932. She was the first woman and only the second person to do this. 4-8 years.

When Amelia Earhart Build a Roller Coaster

By Mark Weakland

Illustrated by Oksana Griviana

Amelia Earhart was one of America’s most famous aviators. But do you know what she was like as a child? From running on the river bluffs and playing football to building a roller coaster, Amelia was an active and confident child. Her childhood story will help young readers connect to this historic figure and inspire them. 6-12 years.

Amelia Lost

By Candace Fleming

In alternating chapters, Candace Fleming deftly moves readers back and forth between Amelia’s life, from childhood to her last flight, and the exhaustive search for Amelia and her missing plane. With photos, maps, and handwritten notes from Amelia, this book tackles everything from the history of flight to what Amelia liked to eat while flying. 8-12 Middle Grade.

Amelia Earhart: A Photographic Story of a Life

By Tanya Lee Stone

With more than 100 full-color photographs, illustrations, and detailed sidebars, this book celebrates an aviation pioneer who changed how the world is viewed: aviatrix Amelia Earhart. 10 years and up

The descriptions used are primarily from the publishers.


Leonardo da Vinci Invented…

Leonardo da Vinci painted two of the best known paintings in the world: Mona Lisa and The Last Supper. In addition to his magnificent work as an artist, Leonardo designed inventions that are familiar to us today, almost 400 years later. He sketched and wrote about his inventions in notebooks. Most of his ideas could not be made into working objects during his lifetime. Engineering was a new science and many of his designs were technically complicated.

These are six of Leonardo da Vinci’s inventions:

In the Air:

Glider — Leonardo’s glider design looks similar to both a bird in flight and a modern hang glider. Leonardo studied birds as he worked on his design.

Helical Screw — This is Leonardo’s design for an early type of helicopter. Four men inside operated the screw. It would compress air to fly just like helicopters do today. 

Parachute — Leonardo imagined floating through the air using a parachute. Designed to be made of linen and wood, his parachute had a triangular shape.

Anemometer — Leonardo designed this instrument to measure wind speed. Anemometers are used at weather stations today.

Under Water:

Scuba Gear — Leonardo designed a leather suit with a head covering attached to two tubes. The tubes connected to an above water diving bell. The diver would breathe air from the water’s surface through the tubes. Today, scuba divers breathe air from the tanks they carry underwater. Early divers used Leonardo’s method. 

On Land:

Tank — Leonardo turned again to the natural world for this design. A turtle shell inspired it. The tank’s design provided for a 360 degree rotation.  Four men inside would operate the tank with hand cranks while other men would fire the weapons. Modern tanks first appeared in World War I.


To see these and more of Leonardo da Vinci’s inventions visit: http://www.da-vinci-inventions.com/

Books To Share With Kids:

Neo Leo: The Ageless Ideas of Leonardo da Vinci

by Gene Barretta

Who Was Leonardo da Vinci?

by Roberta Edwards, Illustrated by True Kelley

Leonardo da Vinci

by Diane Stanley 

To Learn More:

Kids Are Reading About Artists

Lives of Artists: Masterpieces, Messes (and What the Neighbors Thought)

By Kathleen Krull, Illustrated by Kathryn Hewitt

Most people can name some famous artists and recognize their best-known works. But what’s behind all the painting, drawing, and sculpting? What was Leonardo da Vinci’s snack of choice while he painted Mona Lisa’s mysterious smile? Why did Georgia O’Keeffe find bones so appealing? Who called Diego Rivera “Frog-Face”? And what is it about artists that makes both their work and their lives so fascinating?

The Fantastic Jungle of Henri Rousseau

By Michelle Markel, Illustrated by Amanda Hall

Henri Rousseau wanted to be an artist. But he had no formal training. Instead, he taught himself to paint. He painted until the jungles and animals and distant lands in his head came alive on his canvases. He endured the harsh critics of his day and created the brilliant paintings that now hang in museums around the world. 

Matisse’s Garden

By Samantha Friedman, Illustrated by Christina Amodeo

One day, the French artist Henri Matisse cut a small bird out of a piece of paper. It looked lonely all by itself, so he cut out more shapes to join it. Before he knew it, Matisse had transformed his walls into larger-than-life gardens, filled with brightly colored plants, animals, and shapes of all sizes.

My Name is Georgia

A Portrait by Jeanette Winter

From the time she was just a young girl, Georgia O’Keeffe viewed the world in her own way. While other girls played with toys and braided their hair, Georgia practiced her drawing and let her hair fly free. As an adult, Georgia followed her love of art from the steel canyons of New York City to the vast plains of New Mexico. There she painted all day, and slept beneath the stars at night. Throughout her life Georgia O’Keeffe followed her dreams and so found her way to become a great American artist.

Rembrandt and the Boy Who Drew Dogs: A Story About Rembrandt van Rijn

By Molly Blaisdell and Nancy Lane

Author Molly Blaisdell transports young readers to the city of Amsterdam in the 1650s. It is a time when world-renowned artist Rembrandt van Rijn is at the height of fame among his patrons — and when his young son Titus longs to imitate him father and become a great painter. At first, Rembrandt rebuffs Titus’s attempts at drawing, but gradually is won over by his son’s enthusiasm and persistence, and he begins to teach Titus the basic techniques of drawing from life.

 A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin

By Jen Bryant, Illustrated by Melissa Sweet

As a child in the late 1800s, Horace Pippin loved to draw. He drew pictures for his sisters, his classmates, his co-workers. Even during WWI, Horace filled his notebooks with drawings from the trenches…until he was shot. Upon his return home, Horace couldn’t lift his right arm. He couldn’t make any art. Slowly, with lots of practice, he regained use of his arm, until once again, he was able to paint, and paint, and paint. Before long, his paintings were displayed in galleries and museums across the country.

Who Was Frieda Kahlo?

By Sarah Fabiny, Illustrated by Jerry Hoare

You can always recognize a painting by Frieda Kahlo because she is in nearly all — with her black braided hair and colorful Mexican outfits. A brave woman who was an invalid most of her life, she transformed herself into a living work of art. As famous for her self-portraits and haunting imagery as she was for her marriage to another famous artist, Diego Rivera, this strong and courageous painter was inspired by the ancient culture and history of her beloved homeland, Mexico. 

The Noisy Paint Box

By Barb Rosenstock, Illustrated by Mary GrandPre

Vasya Kandinsky was a proper little boy: he studied math and history, he practiced the piano, he sat up straight and was perfectly polite. And when his family sent him to art classes, they expected him to paint pretty houses and flowers — like a proper artist. 

But as Vasya opened his paint box and began mixing the reds, the yellows, the blues, he heard a strange sound — the swirling colors trilled like an orchestra tuning up for a symphony. And as he grew older, Vasya continued to hear brilliant colors singing and to see sounds dancing. But was Vasya brave enough to put aside his proper still lifes and portraits and paint…music?

Just Behave, Pablo Picasso

By Jonah Winter, Pictures by Kevin Hawkes

“One day the world is peaceful, lovely landscape painting…The next day — BLAM! — Pablo bursts through the canvas, paintbrush in hand, ready to paint something fresh and new.”

Pablo Picasso may have been one of the most famous artists of the 20th century, but that doesn’t mean he painted what people wanted him to paint. Some people hated his paintings and called them ugly and terrible. But Picasso didn’t listen to all those people. He kept on working the way he wanted to, until he created something new, so different, that people didn’t know what to say.

Action Jackson

By Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan

Illustrated by Robert Andrew Parker

One late spring morning the American artist Jackson Pollock began work on the canvas that would ultimately come to be known as Number 1. The authors use this moment as the departure point for a picture book about a great painter and the way in which he worked. 

The book descriptions used are the publisher’s.

Books For Children About the Holocaust


 By Loic Dauvillier

Illustrated by Marc Lizano and Greg Salsedo

In this young graphic novel, Dounia, a grandmother, tells her granddaughter the story even her son has never heard: how, as a young Jewish girl in Paris, she was hidden away from the Nazis by a series of neighbors and friends who risked their lives to keep her alive when her parents had been taken to concentration camps. Hidden ends on a tender note, with Dounia and her mother rediscovering each other as World War II ends and as a young girl in present-day France becomes closer to her grandmother, who can finally tell her story. 6-10 years

The Tree in the Courtyard: Looking Through Anne Frank’s Window

By Jeff Gotsfeld, Illustrated by Peter McCarty

Told from the perspective of the tree outside Anne Frank’s window this book introduces Anne Frank’s story in a gentle and powerful way to a young audience. 

The tree watched a girl, who played and laughed and wrote in a diary. When strangers invaded the city and warplanes roared overhead, the tree watched the girl peek out of the curtained window of the annex. It watched as she and her family were taken away — and when her father returned after the war, alone. The tree died the summer Anne Frank would have turned eighty-one, but its seeds and saplings have been planted around the world as a symbol of peace.     5-8 years

The Butterfly

By Patricia Polacco

Ever since the Nazis marched into Monique’s small French village, terrorizing it, nothing surprises her, until the night Monique encounters “the little ghost” sitting at the end of her bed. She turns out to be a girl named Sevrine, who has been hiding from the Nazis in Monique’s basement. Playing after dark, the two become friends, until, in a terrifying moment, they are discovered, sending both of their families into a nighttime flight. 6-9 years

The Whispering Town

By Jennifer Elvgren, Illustrated by Fabio Santomauro

The Whispering Town is the story of neighbors in a small Danish fishing village who, during the Holocaust, shelter a Jewish family waiting to be ferried to safety in Sweden. It is 1943 in Nazi-occupied Denmark. Anett and her parents are hiding a Jewish woman and her son, Carl, in their cellar until a fishing boat can take them across the sound to neutral Sweden. The soldiers patrolling their street are growing suspicious, so Carl and his mama must make their way to the harbor despite a cloudy sky with no moon to guide them. Worried about their safety, Anett devises a clever and unusual plan for their safe passage to the harbor. Based on a true story. 4-8 years

Stone Angel

By Jane Yolen, Illustrated by Katie May Green

The Nazis may have taken their home, but the family still has a guardian angel. A little girl and her family live happily in Paris until Nazi soldiers arrive during World War II. They must flee or risk being sent to a concentration camp. They run into the woods where they meet resistance fighters. But they’re still not safe. They must cross tall mountains and sail in a rickety boat to England. Yet the whole time they’re struggling to survive, the little girl thinks of the stone angel near their apartment in Paris and imagines it watches over her family. 5-8 years

Benno and the Night of Broken Glass

By Meg Wiviott, Illustrated by Josee Bisaillon

A neighborhood cat observes the changes in German and Jewish families in its town during the period leading up to Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass that becomes the true beginning of the Holocaust. The cat’s view introduces the Holocaust to children in a gentle way. 3-8 years

Star of Fear, Star of Hope

By Jo Hoestlandt, Illustrated by Joanna Kang

Set in France, during the Nazi occupation of World War II, a gentile child named Helen recalls the mounting persecution of her Jewish friend. She wonders why does her best friend, Lydia, have to wear a yellow star? Why are people in hiding and using strange names? What is Lydia afraid of? Touching upon the Holocaust with sensitivity and poignancy, Star of Fear, Star of Hope will help readers understand this difficult time in history. 7-10 years

The Harmonica

By Tony Johnston, Illustrated by Ron Mazellan

When the Nazis invade Poland, a family is split apart. The parents are sent to one concentration camp, and their son to another. Only his father’s gift, a harmonica, keeps the boy’s hopes alive and miraculously ensures his survival. 7-10 years

The book descriptions used are from the publishers.





Kids Are Reading: Some Writers!

Some Writer! The Story of E.B.White

by Melissa Sweet

This beautifully written biography tells the story of E.B. White, the author of Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little. Caldecott Honor winner Melissa Sweet mixes White’s personal letters, photos, and family keepsakes with her own artwork to tell the story of this American literary icon. E.B White was a journalist, New Yorker contributor, and children’s book author who loved words his whole life. 


The Extraordinary Mark Twain (According to Suzy)

by Barbara Kerley, Illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham

Suzy Clemens thought the world was wrong about her papa. They saw Mark Twain as “a humorist joking at everything.” But he was so much more, and Susy was determined to set the record straight. In a journal she kept under her pillow, Susy documented her world-famous father from his habits (good and bad) to his writing routine to their family’s colorful home life. Her frank, funny, tender biography (which came to be one of Twain’s most prized possessions) gives rare insight and an unforgettable perspective on an American icon. 

Pioneer Girl: The Story of Laura Ingalls Wilder

by William Anderson, Illustrated by Dan Andreasen

This picture book biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder tells the remarkable story of the pioneer girl who would one day immortalize her adventures in the beloved Little House books. This biography captures the essence of the little girl called “Half-pint,” whose classic books and pioneer adventures have made her one of the most popular literary figures in America.

Will’s Words: How William Shakespeare Changed the Way You Talk

by Jane Sutcliffe, Illustrated by John Shelley

When Jane Sutcliffe set out to write a book about William Shakespeare and the Globe Theatre, she ran into a problem: Will’s words keep popping up all over the place. What’s an author to do? After all, Will is responsible for such familiar phrases as “what’s done is done” and “too much of a good thing.” He even helped turn “household words” into household words. But — what better words are there to use to write about the greatest writer in the English language than his very own?

A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams

by Jen Bryant, Illustrated by Melissa Sweet

When he wrote poems, William Carlos Williams felt as free as the Passaic River rushing to the falls. His notebooks filled up, one after another. His words gave him freedom and peace, but he also knew he needed to earn a living. He became a doctor yet never stopped writing poetry. This biography celebrates the amazing man who found a way to earn a living and to honor his calling to be a poet. 

Pablo Neruda: Poet of the People

By Monica Brown, Illustrated by Julie Paschkis

Once there was a little boy named Neftalí who loved wild things wildly and quiet things quietly. From the moment he could talk, he surrounded himself with words. Neftalí discovered the magic between the pages of books. When he was sixteen, he began publishing his poems as Pablo Neruda.

Pablo wrote poems about the things he loved―things made by his friends in the café, things found at the marketplace, and things he saw in nature. He wrote about the people of Chile and their stories of struggle. Because above all things and above all words, Pablo Neruda loved people.

Enormous Smallness: A Story of E.E. Cummings

by Matthew Burgess, Illustrated by Kris Di Giacomo

Some of E.E. Cummings’s wonderful poems are integrating  into a story that gives readers the music of his voice and a spirited, sensitive introduction to his poetry. This book emphasizes the bravery it takes to follow one’s own vision and the encouragement E.E. received to do just that.


The book descriptions used were for the most part written by the publishers.




Henry “Box” Brown and the Underground Railroad

Henry’s Freedom Box

A True Story from the Underground Railroad

Author Ellen Levine and illustrator Kadir Nelson bring Henry “Box” Brown’s amazing story to life in Henry’s Freedom Box.

One of the most famous slaves on the Underground Railroad didn’t travel by foot. Henry Brown, with the help of two friends, mailed himself from Richmond, Virginia, to Philadelphia. The wooden box he traveled in measured only 3 feet long, 2 feet wide, and 2 feet, 8 inches deep.

Henry Brown began his life as a slave in Louisa Country, Virginia in about 1815.  In Henry’s Freedom Box, author Ellen Levine writes these words: Henry and his brothers and sisters worked in the big house where the master lived. Henry’s master had been good to Henry and his family. But Henry’s mother knew things could change. “Do you see those leaves blowing in the wind? They are torn from the trees like slave children are torn from their families.”

At age 15, his master gave Henry to his son. From then on, Henry worked in a tobacco factory away from his family.

Henry married Nancy, a slave owned by a different master. One day, Henry watched as pregnant Nancy and their three children were led away, sold to a North Carolina plantation. Henry knew he would never see them again.

With the loss of Nancy and their children, Henry decided to escape slavery and make his way to a free state. Henry devised a dangerous plan. He would travel by steamboat, train, and wagon in a wooden box. Henry asked his friend, a free black, James Smith, and Dr. Samuel Smith, a white man who opposed slavery, to help him.

On March 23, 1849, Henry was nailed shut in the box with only biscuits, some water, and a tool, called a gimlet, to make air holes. Dr. Smith shipped Henry to The Philadelphia Anti-Slavery Society. He wrote on the box: “This Side Up With Care” hoping to keep Henry right side up during the trip. But Henry spent part of the trip upside down with blood rushing to his head. Once, Henry thought he would die that way, until two men on the steamboat moved Henry’s box and sat on top. Lucky for Henry the move put him right side up again. 

Henry was delivered to the Anti-Slavery Society safely after spending 27 hours inside the box. Four men opened the wooden box and welcomed Henry to freedom. Newspapers reported Henry’s story and he became known around the world as Henry “Box” Brown, a free man. 

Books About The Underground Railroad to Share With Kids:

What Was the Underground Railroad?

by Yona Zeldis McDonough

Unspoken: A Story From the Underground Railroad

by Henry Cole

The Patchwork Path: A Quilt Map to Freedom

By Bettye Stroud, Illustrated by Erin Susanne Bennett

Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt

by Deborah Hopkinson, Illustrated by James Ransome


To Learn More About Henry “Box” Brown, Visit: http://www.pbs.org/black-culture/shows/list/underground-railroad/stories-freedom/henry-box-brown/


Celebrate Black History — Books by Andrea Davis Pinkney

Celebrate Black History with books by award winning children’s author, Andrea Davis Pinkney.

Sojourner Truth’s Step-Stomp Stride

Andrea Davis Pinkney and Illustrator Brian Pinkney

Born into slavery, Belle had to endure the cruelty of several masters before she escaped to freedom. But she knew she wouldn’t really be free unless she was helping to end injustice. That’s when she changed her name to Sojourner and began traveling across the country, demanding equal rights for black people and for women. Many people weren’t ready for her message, but Sojourner was brave and her truth was powerful. And slowly, but surely as Sojourner’s step-stomp stride, America began to change.

Martin and Mahalia His Words, Her Song

Andrea Davis Pinkney and Illustrator Brian Pinkney

On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, and his strong voice and powerful message were joined and lifted in song by world-renowned gospel singer Mahalia Jackson. It was a moment that changed the course of history and is imprinted in minds forever. 

The Red Pencil

Andrea Davis Pinkney and Illustrator Shane W. Evans

Life in Amira’s peaceful Sudanese village is shattered when Janjaweed attackers arrive, unleashing unspeakable horrors. After losing nearly everything, Amira needs to find the strength to make the long journey on foot to safety at a refugee camp. She begins to lose hope, until the gift of a simple red pencil opens her mind — and all kinds of possibilities.

Let It Shine: Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters

Andrea Davis Pinkney and Illustrator Stephen Alcorn

Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus and sparked a boycott that changed America. Harriet Tubman helped more than three hundred slaves escape the South on the Underground Railroad. Shirley Chisholm became the first black woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

The lives these women led are part of an incredible story about courage in the face of oppression; about the challenges and triumphs of the battle for civil rights; and about speaking out for what you believe in — even when it feels like no one is listening.

Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down

Andrea Davis Pinkney and Illustrator Brian Pinkney

This picture book celebrates the momentous Woolworth’s lunch counter sit-in, when four college students staged a peaceful protest that became a defining moment in the struggle for racial equality and the growing civil rights movement. 

Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men Who Changed America

Andrea Davis Pinkney and Illustrator Brian Pinkney

Hand in Hand presents the stories of ten men from different eras in American history, organized chronologically to provide a scope from slavery to modern day. Profiles of: Benjamin Banneker, Frederick Douglas, Booker T. Washington, W.E.B DuBois, A. Phillip Randolph, Thurgood Marshall, Jackie Robinson, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Barack H. Obama II.

Rhythm Ride: A Road Trip Through the Motown Sound

Andrea Davis Pinkney

Berry Gordy began Motown in 1959 with an $800 loan from his family. He converted the garage of a residential house into a studio and recruited teenagers from the neighborhood, including: Smokey Robinson, Mary Wells, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, and Diana Ross, to sing for his new label. The country was on the brink of a cultural revolution, and one of the most powerful agents of change in the following decade would be this group of young black performers from urban Detroit.

A Poem for Peter: The Story of Ezra Jack Keats and the 

Creation of The Snowy Day

Andrea Davis Pinkney

and Illustrators Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher

The story of The Snowy Day begins more than one hundred years ago, when Ezra Jack Keats was born in Brooklyn, New York. The family were struggling Polish immigrants. Despite Keats’ obvious talent, his father worried that Ezra’s dream of being an artist was an unrealistic one. But Ezra was determined. For more than two decades, Ezra had kept pinned to his wall a series of photographs of an adorable African American child. In Keats’ hands, the boy morphed into Peter, a boy in a red snowsuit, out enjoying the pristine snow. The book became The Snowy Day, the first mainstream book to feature an African American child.

Andrea Davis Pinkney

The book descriptions used are the publishers.

Kids Are Reading, Martin Luther King, Jr.

I Have A Dream

By Martin Luther King, Jr., Illustrated by Kadir Nelson

On August 28, 1963, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington, Martin Luther King, Jr. gave one of the most powerful and memorable speeches in our nation’s history. His words, paired with Caldecott Honor winner Kadir Nelson’s magnificent paintings, make for a picture book certain to be treasured by children and adults. The themes of equality and freedom for all are not only relevant today, fifty years later, but also provide young readers with an important introduction to our nation’s past. (Audio CD included)

My Daddy, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

By Martin Luther King, III, Illustrated by A.G.

What was it like growing up as a son of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.? This picture book memoir provides insight into one of history’s most fascinating families and into a special bond between father and son. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s son gives an intimate look at the man and the father behind the civil rights leader. Mr. King’s remembrances show both his warm, loving family and a momentous time in American history.

Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King

By Jean Marzollo, Illustrated by J. Brian Pinkney

This book is a beautifully rendered study of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life told in simple, straightforward language for even the youngest readers. The illustrations convey both the strength and gentleness of Dr. King’s character. This book carries his central message of peace and brotherhood among all people. 

Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

By Doreen Rappaport, Illustrated by Brian Collier

Doreen Rappaport weaves the immortal words of Dr. King into a captivating narrative to tell the story of his life. With stunning art by acclaimed illustrator Bryan Collier, this book is an unforgettable portrait of a man whose dream changed America.

Who Was Martin Luther King, Jr.?

By Bonnie Bader, Illustrated by Nancy Harrison

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was only twenty-five when he helped organize the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Soon he was organizing African Americans across the country in support of desegregation, and civil rights. Maintaining nonviolent and peaceful tactics even when his life was threatened, Dr. King was also an advocate for the poor and spoke out against racial and economic injustice. 


Martin & Mahalia: His Words, Her Song

By Andrea Davis Pinkney, Illustrated by Brian Pinkney

On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. His strong voice and powerful message were joined and lifted in song by world-renowned gospel singer Mahalia Jackson. It was a moment that changed the course of history and is imprinted in minds forever. The stories of these two powerful voices and lives are told side-by-side — as they would one day walk — following the journey from their youth to a culmination at this historical event when they united as one. This book inspires kids to find their own voices and speak up for what is right.

Martin Luther King, Jr. and the March on Washington

By Frances E. Ruffin, Illustrated by Stephen Marchesi

On August 28, 1963, more than 250,000 people came to the nation’s Capitol. They came by plane, by bus, by car, even on roller skates, to speak out against segregation and to demand equal rights for everyone. They came to hear the words of a very special leader, Martin Luther King, Jr. This book captures the spirit of this landmark day in American history and brings Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech to life for young children.

Martin Luther King, Jr. 

By Kitson Jazynka

In this Level 2 biography, readers will learn about the fascinating life and legacy of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

The descriptions used are the publishers.

Young Teddy Roosevelt, Naturalist

The future president, young Teddy Roosevelt, walked down Broadway one day near his New York City home. He spotted a seal killed in the harbor on a slab of wood.  All at once, the seal “filled me with every possible feeling of romance and adventure.” Teddy read lots of adventure books. His favorites incorporated natural history and adventure.

The very young future president

Teddy returned to the seal day after day. Not having a tape measure, he measured it with a ruler which he later said was difficult. He wrote down his measurements and observations. Teddy had “vague aspirations of in some way or another owning and preserving that seal.” He wrote in his autobiography that he was given the seal’s skull.

Birthplace of Teddy Roosevelt, New York City

The skull inspired the “Roosevelt Museum of Natural History.” Its founding members were Teddy and two cousins. It was housed in Teddy’s room until a chambermaid complained to the “higher authorities of the household.” Teddy moved the museum to a less offending spot, a back hall bookcase. Like Teddy, his father was a founding member of a museum, the American Museum of Natural History.

Theodore Roosevelt, Senior

Teddy visited his father’s museum frequently. He studied the exhibits and explored behind the scenes. When he was twelve, Teddy contributed a collection to the museum. It included: a bat, a turtle, mice, a red squirrel’s skull, and four bird eggs.

The American Museum of Natural History

Teddy loved natural history and was especially fascinated with birds. The colorful world of birds opened up to him when he was given a pair of spectacles to correct his vision. Teddy loved the days he spent in the country studying the natural world around him. He drew pictures of birds and mice and described the insects he observed in his notebooks.

He dreamed of becoming a naturalist. That dream changed when as a student at Harvard he decided to pursue politics.

As president, Teddy Roosevelt signed laws to set aside two hundred and thirty million acres of wilderness for national parks. Five national parks, eighteen national monuments, fifty-one bird reserves, and 150 national forests were established during his presidency. 

Books To Share With Kids:

Teedie: The Story of Young Teddy Roosevelt

by Don Brown

Who Was Theodore Roosevelt?

by Michael Burgan, Illustrated by Jerry Hoare

The Camping Trip That Changed America: Theodore Roosevelt, John Muir and Our National Parks

by Barb Rosenstock, Illustrated by Mordicai Gerstein

The Remarkable Rough-Riding Life of Theodore Roosevelt and the Rise of Empire America

by Cheryl Harness

Bully for You Teddy Roosevelt!

by Jean Fritz, Illustrated by Mike Wimmer

To Learn More Visit The American Museum of Natural History online at: http://www.amnh.org/explore/science-topics/theodore-roosevelt