It is essential that Books for Black Children are available for children of color. They need to see and experience positive role models. For centuries, the American society erased books that showed blacks as positive contributors to society. As a young African American child growing up in schools in the deep south, the only people I saw who looked like me, were pictures of African Americans brought in by African American teachers as extra-curricular activities. . . none were in my textbooks and none were children. I needed a positive role role model.
AFRICAN AMERICAN CHILDREN NEED POSITIVE ROLE MODELS
Because I did not see books for African American children that gave me a positive role model, I clung to the people shown to me –people like Marian Anderson. The blacks portrayed in my books were labeled as slaves, people who owned nothing, did nothing and were nothing. How is that for self-esteem? Fortunately, my parents owned something…the land we planted crops on; the black community owned the church, schools and land they sat on, and my parents instilled in us that no one was better or less than we were, but still…it was debilitating to learn at nine years old that the country I lived in, did not share their viewpoint. In spite of it, I was one of the lucky ones. What about the kids whose parents owned nothing and did not teach them about self-worth and self-esteem?
TELLING THE STORY OF SELF-WORTH
Somewhere every black child must discover self-worth and self-esteem. A good place to find that is in reading “Books for Black Children.” Seeing and hearing Marian Anderson and Joe Louis made me proud. I was not them, but I knew it was possible to be them. I had something to look forward to . . . I could dream big!
Take a look at “Dream Big, Little One” by best-selling Author Vashti Harrison. It is one of many books that help youth with self-identification, self-esteem, encouragement and self-direction. The premise is “The world is big and you have many choices available to you…think big, dream large, and plot out a course of action that makes your dreams become reality.” It suggests, as this article, that every child, black or white, matters. Even though the dominant culture re-wrote history to diminish African Americans’ worth and contributions, we come from a lineage that makes us proud to be who we are…and each child can be also. Let’s make sure all children can see themselves positively in American culture: black, white, red, yellow and brown. There should be an American reading corner for all colors in the rainbow!
GIVE YOUR CHILD THESE BOOKS
Below, are stories children can read, both black and white, to gain a higher and more correct view of one’s self-worth, accountability and truth. Most can be purchased on amazon.