The 2020 #FavoriteBookFriday List

very Friday I pick one of my favorite books that I read with my sons. These books range from biographies to inspiration books about overcoming failure. Reading these books with your children in your life will inspire and challenge them to develop and advance their dreams!

Mama Africa is a book about an Africana Hero from South Africa named Miriam Makeba. The book tells a story of a girl who grew up to be a woman who transformed her nation. This amazing story begins with her discovering her talent to sing and ends with her using it to defeat the racist apartheid government. This book teaches children the importance of using their talents to develop dreams of individual fulfilment and social impact.

Mae Among the Stars is about Africana Hero Mae Jamison. The book tells the story of Mae as a girl who had a dream that was nearly abandoned. The book shows how her parents encouraged her to pursue her dream regardless of the negative words expressed by her teacher. The book also teaches readers that a library is a place that serves as a foundation for dream development and advancement. The author does an amazing job at running a great moto through the book that should be written on hearts and minds of all children.

So Much by Trish Cooke is a book that reinforces familial love. The book shows how each family member loves a baby boy in their own unique way. The amazing illustrations show familial love at its best. The rhythm of the books words allows young readers to follow along with ease and fun. For parents, this book is a tool to spark conversations with your children about how much you love them.

So Much by Trish Cooke is a book that reinforces familial love. The book shows how each family member loves a baby boy in their own unique way. The amazing illustrations show familial love at its best. The rhythm of the books words allows young readers to follow along with ease and fun. For parents, this book is a tool to spark conversations with your children about how much you love them.

Crown by Derrick Barnes details the experience and excitement of a Black boy getting a haircut. The book’s words and illustrations by Gordan James walk the reader through the rich and powerful experience of the Black barbershop, while detailing the impact that the haircut has on a boy’s personhood. This is a beautiful book that shows Black males in a positive light.

Separate is Never Equal is a powerful book about a family’s fight to end racial segregation in schools. When the main character, Sylvia Mendez, was denied admission into a well-resourced elementary school for white children, her father, Gonzalo Mendez, began to question system. More importantly, her father began to organize other parents to fight against this unjust public schooling system.

This fight led to a court case that overturned segregation in their school district. The illustrations capture the various emotions of characters and the stark difference between two schools.

This book teaches children that unjust institutions change when we organize and collectively fight against them. For parents, this book teaches us that we should not accept a public-school experience for our children that does not prepare them to develop and advance their dreams. In sum, this is a powerful well detailed book that offers great insight on how to struggle to transform an unjust public schooling system.

One Love by Cedella Marley is a remix of her father Bob Marley’s classic song. This book has amazing pictures that show the beauty of #BlackFamily life. The rhyming words offer families the opportunity to sing together as the read through the book. The author also discusses the importance of loving all human beings and world we share. This book serves as a tool to teach children how to love each other and their world.

Fancy Party Gown by Deborah Blumenthal is the biography of Africana Entrepreneurial Hero Ann Cole Lowe. This inspirational story begins with Lowe recognizing her talent as a child to a woman who made dresses for prominent women of her time. Parents looking to teach their kids how to become entrepreneurial will see this book as a value tool. The author does a masterful job at showing how Lowe used an entrepreneurial mindset to move beyond barriers that sought to rob her of the chance at accomplishing her dream. In an age where traditional employment is rapidly evaporating, we must teach our children to develop an entrepreneurial mindset and spirit needed to thrive. This book enables children to begin the process of the developing the aforementioned abilities.

Magic Trash: The Story of Tyree Guyton and His Art by J.H. Shapiro is a biography of an African American artist who transformed urban decay into beauty. The book begins by telling the story of a daydreamer who got poor grades and criticism from the adults in his life. One day Tyree’s grandfather introduced him to painting and his future dream. Although Tyree didn’t become an artist early on in his adult life he would eventually go back to his dream. When he returned to his community and saw urban decay he decided to do something about it — create art. This is an amazing story about a man who used his dream to make a more beautiful world. This is a powerful tool to teach children about the importance of developing dreams that make them happy and world a better place at the same time!

After the Fall is a great book about self-efficacy. The book is an extension of the classic Humpty Dumpty story. In this part of the story, he is trying to live life and walk in his purpose. The author takes us on an emotional journey of how Humpty learned to overcome his fear of heights. Readers will be surprise at the book’s ending. This book is a tool to teach children that a failure is a learning tool that helps them walk in their purpose. This is a must read for young dreamers.

Falling Water: The Building of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Masterpiece by Marc Harshman and Anna Egan Smucker is a thought provoking story that teaches children about the importance creativity and excellence. When Llyod is tasked with creating a house on top of a waterfall, he used his past experiences and creative mind to seize the opportunity of a life time. The beautiful pictures walk young dreamers through Lloyd’s process of creating beauty out of nature. Lastly, the book shows children that in order to carry out their dreams they have to engage in every opportunity with creative excellence. This is a must read the book for parents who have children who dream of becoming entrepreneurs or architects.

The Great Mathematician Dr. Shabazz by Baba Sekou, Mama Sekou, and Sekou Afrika is an amazing biography about a STEM hero. Using a dialogue between a father and son, the authors break down the life of a man who committed himself to academic excellence in math, training future mathematics, the upliftment of Black people, and the transformation of unjust social conditions in America.

This book is a tool for parents, teachers, and educational leaders who seek to encourage Black kids to embrace and excel at mathematics, while providing them with a STEM hero to aspire to be like. In addition, it is a tool to teach children about their obligation to use their dreams and talents to assist in the development of a better world.

Here’s one of my favorite books from my childhood! The Vingananee & the Tree Toad is a story about unconventional strengthen. In the story a monster that terrorizes a village. Of all the animals the toad uses his gift to defeat the monster. This story teaches kids that solving problems requires using your talents and mind.

Black Heroes: 51 Inspiring People from Ancient Africa to Modern-Day U.S.A. by Arlisha Norwood is a must-read book. This book does a powerful job in aiding children in understanding the visions, aspirations, barriers, and victories of Black heroes. With insights from the author, children will be inspired to develop their own dreams of personal fulfilment and social transformation. The lively portraits of each Black heroes serve as a visual inspiration for your young dreamer.

As a powerful feature, the author provides an insightful quote from each hero. This book provides the reader with numerous unsung heroes like Queen Nzigah (African ruler), Richard Allen (minister), Barbara Jordan (politician), and Daisy Bates (newspaper publisher). This is a must-read book that should be on every child’s bookshelf.

Jabari Tries by Gaia Cornwall is a must read book. The main character Jabari wants to make a flying machine to fly across his backyard. The author skillfully presents a playful journey through the engineering process. As the main character is walking through each step of the process, his father is there to support, encourage, and advise him.

Two of his biggest bits of advice is for the main character to stay resilient and include his litter sister in the engineering process. The powerful illustrations display warm family interactions, intense problem solving, and the power of sibling teamwork. For parents, this book serves as a tool to teach us how to encourage and advise our children when they are engaging in problem solving play scenarios.

Going Places by Peter Reynolds is an amazing book about innovation and entrepreneurial thinking. A class is given a boxcar set with instructions. However, two students decide to create something new and different out of their boxcar set. This story will inspire children to develop the courage to be unconventional thinkers and innovators!

Abiyoyo, a South African folktale, is a book about a father and son who misuse their talents and gifts to cause trouble in the community. The duo is expelled from their community, but offered a chance at redemption when a monster shows up. Defeating the monster calls for them to use their musical and magical gifts. This book does a great job in discussing the importance of using one’s talents for the social good. It also offers great song along moments.

This is one of my favorite #books to read to my sons. It’s a great book that shows a boy being a superhero who solves a pressing problem! I highly recommend this book for African American boys (especially toddlers).



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