“Even though we may have the different skin color, we’re still the same type of people, no matter what.” -Simsola 6th Grade–Global Citizen Video
February is a month of KINDNESS here at Kids in Service and also a time to celebrate our differences. As part of this celebration we wanted to take a moment and recognize Black History Month. So many people have dedicated their lives to making sure that all people in our country have a voice. They have fought (and continue to fight) for a world where everyone is respected and treated with kindness no matter their beliefs, the color of their skin, their gender, or their place in society.
As part of Black History Month, Kids in Service would like to celebrate the people who have fought for civil rights in this country. We have a lot of resources below that you can share with your children. These books and movies are meant to be a springboard to have a conversation with your children about acceptance, bravery, respect, celebrating our differences and KINDNESS.
The Ordinary People Change the World books by Brad Meltzer are well LOVED in our house. I think my daughter has almost every one of them (she may be missing 2 or 3) and reads them daily. I love them because they show that famous people who have changed the world are still people after all. Most have have had to overcome a lot of adversity and challenges to make change happen. Brad makes the world of biographies so much fun and the illustrations by Christoper Eliopoulos are wonderful. They always hide the next famous person they are planning to write a biography for at the end of the book and it so much fun to hunt for them. The Harriet Tubman book is my daughters favorite in the series. She loved learning about how brave Harriet was and how many people she helped to escape slavery. This series also has books about Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Abraham Lincoln and Jackie Robinson for Black History Month. Ages 5 and up
I use to read this book every February in my 2nd and 3rd grade class. It is a wonderful story of Rosa Parks life and how her one courageous act started a civil rights movement. This book would be great to share with children ages 6 and up. There is a lot of information in this book and it is a great springboard to a rich conversation about segregation and prejudice. I am a strong believer that a good picture book can be used for children in ANY grade (even high school) and I believe that this is one of them.
This beautiful book tells the tale of Peg Leg Joe, an old white sailor, and the song he use to teach slaves about the Underground Railroad. This book tells the tale of one family as they follow the words to Peg Leg Joe’s song and escape their life of slavery. The Drinking Gourd is a gentle book about this difficult subject and would be great for children ages 6 and up.
This is another wonderful biography that I use to read to my 2nd and 3rd grade class every year. Martin’s Big Words is the biography of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and was written for children ages 5 and up. This beautiful biography is easy for children to understand, has beautiful illustrations and weaves Dr. King’s famous words throughout it.
This book celebrates the lives of 40 African American women. These brave and inspirational women have made a difference in our world. Each woman has a page long biography and a full page sweet illustration of them. This is part of the Little Leaders and Dreamers series by Vashti Harrison. This is a wonderful resource and would be great for ages 8 and up.
Here’s a book for the little ones. This board book is a younger version of Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History. This shorter and simpler book celebrates the lives of 18 African American woman. The sweet illustrations and language in this book make it a wonderful story to share with young children. It is never to early to encourage children to be brave and follow their dreams.
- Garretts Gift--This 17 minute movie can be found FREE on Netflix. The movie tells the story of African American inventor Garrett Morgan’s life. Garrett Morgan is responsible for inventing the traffic signal, the gas mask, chemical hair straightening solution and many other things. This movie teaches that we all have gifts to share with this world. All we need is a little support, encouragement and the right tools. The story is told by Queen Latifah and the animation is simple but fun and would be great for ages 4 and up.
- Dancing in the Light the story of Janet Collins–This 17 minute movie can be found on NETFLIX. It is the story of Janet Collins an African American ballerina in the 1930s. She was the first African American to dance at the Metropolitan Opera house but dealt with a lot of racism in her career (the Ballet Rouse asked her to paint her face white in order to perform). This uplifting story is narrated by Chris Rock and is great for ages 4 and up.
- Follow the Drinking Gourd–My kids and I rented this 26 minute movie on Amazon. Morgan Freeman narrates the story of the Drinking Gourd by Bernardine Connelly while the beautiful illustrations from Yvonne Buchanan are shown on the screen. We really enjoyed this historical fiction tale and learned a lot about Peg Leg Joe, the Drinking Gourd and the Underground Railroad. This movie is listed for ages 6 and up but I would think it would be better for 7 and up.
- Ruby Bridges–This Disney move is not rated and unfortunately not reviewed on Common Sense Media. It is on our list of movies to watch this month as we continue our study of the Civil Rights Movement. From what I have read, people recommend it to children ages 7 and up.
- Remember the Titans–I LOVE sports films and this is one of my favorites. This movie is the based on a true story of two high schools integrating after segregation has ended. The story follows the integration of the football team and is a powerful story of racism, acceptance, respect and teamwork. This movie is rated PG and recommended for ages 10 and up.
- Hidden Figures–This was one case where I loved the movie as much as the book (that rarely happens). This is the true story of the unsung heroes behind the mathematics of the space program. The story follows the lives of three strong and brilliant African American women (Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson) and their struggle to find acceptance and respect at NASA while they work to put John Glenn into orbit. This movie is rated PG and recommended for ages 10 and up.