Children's Books for Black History Month

Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Library

Children's Books for Black History Month

February iRomare Beardens Black History Month, and, in order to celebrate and educate, we at the Shaw library will be presenting programs for the very young to learn through picture books and art. The collage styles of Romare Bearden appeal to both adults and children in Washington D.C. Perhaps it is the vivid colors, or the images of family and city life.

A lovely elementary age biography of Bearden called Collage of Memories is available at most branch libraries. In it, Bearden himself tells about his childhood and the meaning behind his works.  Bearden also illustrated a children's book called Li'l Dan the Drummer Boy.  It tells the story of a slave boy who uses his drum to lead his people to freedom.


Li'l Dan the Drummer Boy book coverOne of the reasons Bearden is so important in the library world is because he has influenced a generation of children’s book illustrators, particularly those who are of African-American descent, or who deal with African-American themes in their work.

One of our favorite local authors, who uses a painted collage style reminiscent of Bearden’s in the 1960’s and 1970’s, is Bryan Collier. Collier has won numerous awards, but recently won the Coretta Scott King Award for his new book Dave the Potter. Dave was an extraordinary artist, poet and potter who lived in South Carolina in the 1800s, who also happened to be a slave.Dave the Potter Other illustrators who have been influenced by Bearden culturally or stylistically include: Christopher Myers, Javaka Steptoe, Hudson Talbot and the ever fabulous Faith Ringgold.

Stop in to your local library, check out a book by one of these authors, and share Black History Month with your favorite little one.