February 1, 2023: Celebrating Black Authors: 10 Books to Add to Your Preschool Classroom Libraries
As part of Black History Month, our littles at SproutFive participated in NCTE’s African American Read-In. (Click here to Read More). On February 1, classrooms were given a basket of books to add to their classroom libraries. In the basket were books by four authors/illustrators we’d celebrate together during February–one author/illustrator per week. Our goals were to:
• Celebrate books together as a community
• Get to know authors we may not know
• Share a variety of books in our classrooms
• Add new books to our classroom libraries
• Introduce littles, teachers and families to authors/titles that may be new-to-them
We chose four authors/illustrators and a few books by each of the them. We wanted to highlight both authors and illustrators, and we wanted books that would engage young readers in a variety of ways.
Our littles are just beginning to build their identities as readers. We know that conversions about authors and illustrators help young children begin to notice similarities in books, expect certain things in books, participate actively and develop tastes as readers.
For our month-long celebration, we wanted books that showed joy, celebrated everyday experiences and gave readers much to talk about in the illustrations. Like any great picture book, so much of each of these stories is told in the illustrations.
For our teachers and families, we hoped introducing them to a few authors would help them by inviting them to find other books by these authors.
Oge Mora and Anne Wynter were the author/illustrator team we celebrated for the first week of African American Read-In. Everybody in the Red Brick Building is a book that is meant to be read aloud, so we chose this one to begin. As young children follow the story, they'll also want to join into the repeated sound effects and notice the interesting font changes. There is also so much to notice in the artwork. This is a great introduction to other books by both Oge Mora and Anne Wynter. Preschool classrooms also received the book Saturday by Oge Mora, and the two books together provide a great opportunity to start to talk to young readers about noticing similarities in illustrations.
For Week 2, we celebrated Christian Robinson with You Matter, Another, and Milo Imagines the World. Christian Robinson’s books speak to readers of all ages, and giving preschoolers a chance to enjoy the books and notice how much of a story can be told through the illustrations.
Nikki Grimes has a trio of books that we purchased for Week 3 of our celebration.
Off to See the Sea, Bedtime for Sweet Creatures, and Playtime for Restless Rascals are similar in their format, artwork and interesting font; young readers will naturally come to expect certain things from this “series” of books.
Art, Story and Music work together in C.G. Esperanza's books. For our final week, classrooms received Soul Food Sunday and Boogie Boogie Y’All. Esperanza’s books are a celebration of families and communities. Children will definitely notice the feelings and expressions of the characters in Esperanza's art.
We’re confident that getting to know these four authors will be a great experience for our littles. Over time, we hope to add more books by each of these authors (and others) to our preschool classroom libraries. Read More