These eight children’s books, recommended by HuffPost Blogger Devon Corneal, are great ways to celebrate Black History Month and President’s Day with your family.
Corneal says that while she doesn’t have much in the way of suggestions for books about that other February icon, the prognosticating groundhog, “if you want glorious illustrations, extraordinary stories of unsung heroes, and a dreaming president, then I’ve got you covered.”
Below are Corneal’s picks for the month of February, beautifully told tales of the people that helped shaped America, from songbirds like Ella Fitzgerald to the soldiers of 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion.
'Abe Lincoln's Dream' By Lane Smith
Building on a dream <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Abe-Lincolns-Dream-Lane-Smith/dp/1596436085/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1358802198&sr=1-1&keywords=abraham+lincoln%27s+dream">President Lincoln </a>had the night before his assassination in the 19th century and the odd behavior of Presidential pets in the 20th, Lane Smith wonders what would happen if a thoroughly modern little girl stepped away from her White House tour and met Abe Lincoln’s ghost.
George Washington's Birthday: A Mostly True Tale By Margaret McNamara
Now that <a href="http://www.amazon.com/George-Washingtons-Birthday-Mostly-True/dp/0375844996/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1358802243&sr=1-1&keywords=george+washington%27s+birthday+a+mostly+true+tale">George Washington’s</a> birthday is celebrated as a federal holiday, it’s hard to imagine forgetting it. But before George was a president, he was just a boy with busy parents who may, or may not, have remembered his big day.
'I Have a Dream' By Kadir Nelson
There are a few historical events I wish I had been able to see, and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “<a href="http://www.amazon.com/I-Have-Dream-Book-CD/dp/0375858873/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1358803240&sr=1-1&keywords=i+have+a+dream+kadir+nelson">I Have a Dream</a>” speech is one of them. Kadir Nelson’s lavish illustrations stunningly capture the power and emotion of this extraordinary historical moment using only the text of the speech itself.
'Nelson Mandela' By Kadir Nelson
Kadir Nelson is an extraordinary artist, who imbues his paintings with the dignity, courage, and determination of Nelson Mandela’s life. He paintings are vibrant, saturated with color and full of the joy and pain of this singular man experienced in his life. This <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Nelson-Mandela-Kadir/dp/0061783749/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1358801939&sr=1-1&keywords=nelson+mandela+kadir+nelson">biography</a> of South Africa’s former president and the leader of its anti-apartheid movement celebrates the journey one man made to change a nation. (Elementary/Middle School)
'Skit-Scat Raggedy Cat' By Roxanne Orgill
<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Skit-Scat-Raggedy-Cat-Ella-Fitzgerald/dp/0763617334/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1358801453&sr=8-1&keywords=skit+scat+raggedy+cat">Skit-Scat Raggedy Cat</a> traces Ella Fitzgerald’s journey from Waverly Street to the world stage as she danced and sang her way through family tragedy, delinquency, and the Great Depression to become one of the greatest singers of her time. (Elementary/Middle School)
'Desmond and the Very Mean Word' By Archbishop Desmond Tutu & Douglas Carlton Abrams
Based on a real event from Archbishop Tutu’s childhood in South Africa, “<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Desmond-Very-Mean-Word-Tutu/dp/0763652296/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1358801535&sr=1-1&keywords=desmond+and+the+very+mean+word">Desmond and the Very Mean Word</a>” explores the nature of anger, hostility, bullying, and most importantly, forgiveness. (Elementary/Middle School)
'Brick by Brick' By Charles R. Smith, Jr.
The White House is for many, a symbol of freedom and democracy, but I’d bet most of us don’t realize that it was built, in part, with slave labor. “<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Brick-Charles-R-Smith-Jr/dp/0061920827/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1358801648&sr=1-1&keywords=brick+by+brick">Brick by Brick</a>” tells the story of the men and women who helped clear the land, make the bricks and chop the wood to create the first presidential home.
'Courage Has No Color: The True Story of the Triple Nickles' By Tanya Lee Stone
Tanya Lee Stone’s exceptionally well-researched book honors the men of the 555th Parachute Infantry Battallion – <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Courage-Color-Story-Triple-Nickles/dp/0763651176/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1358802047&sr=1-1&keywords=courage+has+no+color">the Triple Nickels</a> – whose stories were largely unknown until now. The U.S. military’s first black paratroopers, the Triple Nickels were heroes – serving their country well before President Truman’s Executive Order formally integrated the Army. Poignant, inspiring and captivating, this story is a not to be missed piece of American history.
More Great Reads:
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/12/january-2013-childrens-books_n_2463557.html#slide=1952272">This Month's Children's And Young Adult Book Recommendations: January 2013 </a> <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/julie-handler/50-inspiring-childrens-books-with-positive-message_b_1557914.html">50 Inspiring Children's Books with a Positive Message</a> <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/devon-corneal/books-for-kids-who-dont-fit-in_b_1313507.html">Best Books For Kids Who Don't Quite Fit In</a>