A Child's Introduction to African American History: The Experiences, People, and Events That Shaped Our Country (Child's Introduction)

by Jabari Asim (Author) Lynn Gaines (Illustrator)

A Child's Introduction to African American History: The Experiences, People, and Events That Shaped Our Country (Child's Introduction)
Reading Level: 4th − 5th Grade

A comprehensive, entertaining look at heroes, heroines, and critical moments from African American history -- from the slave trade to the Black Lives Matter movement -- by award-winning author Jabari Asim.

Jabari Asim goes beyond what's taught in the classroom to reveal a fact-filled history of African American history through politics, activism, sports, entertainment, music, and much more. You'll follow the road to freedom beginning with the slave trade and the middle passage through the abolitionist movement and the Civil War where many African Americans fought as soldiers. You'll learn how slave songs often contained hidden messages and how a 15-year-old Jamaican-born young man named Clive Campbell helped to create hip-hop in the early 1970's.

You'll experience the passionate speeches, marches, and movements of the Civil Rights era along with and the sacrifices of Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Medgar Evers, and many others. Along the way there are dozens of profiles of political trailblazers like Shirley Chisholm, the first black women elected to Congress in 1968; dominants athletes like Tiger Woods who, in 1995, was only the second African American to play in a Master's Golf Tournament which he went on to win in 1997; popular musicians like Miles Davis, one the most influential artists of the twentieth century; and inspiring writers like Toni Morrison, the first African American to win the Nobel Prize in literature.

Filled with beautiful illustrations by Lynn Gaines that bring these figures and events to life, plus a removable historical timeline poster, A Child's Introduction to African American History is a fascinating and comprehensive guide to this often overlooked yet immensely important part of American history.

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Publishers Weekly

Asim (Preaching to the Chickens) thoroughly explores influential events, political and social movements, and individuals in African-American history, beginning with the ugly legacy of slavery: "African Americans are the only ethnic group whose ancestors were brought to this country against their will." Moving forward in time, Asim discusses topics that include abolitionism, the Harlem Renaissance, and the civil rights movement; highlights African-American activists, artists, and athletes; and contextualizes events such as the airing of the 1977 miniseries Roots and the Los Angeles riots. A closing section carries readers into the 21st century with Hurricane Katrina, the election of Barack Obama to the presidency, and Black Lives Matter. Newcomer Gaines's portraits are often stiff and awkward, but Asim's thoughtful, wide-ranging commentary makes this a useful and accessible resource. Ages 8-12. Author's agent: Joy Harris, Joy Harris Agency. Illustrator's agent: Lori Nowicki, Painted Words. (Jan.)

Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

Gr 3 Up--An amazing amount of information is packed into this compendium of African American history. In addition to the larger chronological narrative, the book also features short biographies of famous leaders, artists, and athletes. Key issues, events, and concepts are explored succinctly. Asim explains in a straightforward manner what lynching is and covers other injustices imposed upon Black Americans, including the destruction of towns and wrongfully conducted medical experiments. Each topic is set off by a bold title with plenty of white space and an abundance of decorative borders and colorful illustrations to keep the information from becoming too overwhelming. It's the kind of book that can be browsed at random or read straight through. The work includes a comprehensive index and a pull-out time line. VERDICT A comprehensive introduction to African American history and a solid purchase for nonfiction collections.--Maggie Chase, Boise State University, ID

Copyright 2018 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
Jabari Asim

Jabari Asim is a professor at Emerson College, where he is director of the MFA program in Creative Writing. A recipient of the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship, he is the author of several works for children. They include A Child's Introduction to African American History, Preaching to the Chickens, Whose Toes Are Those, and Me and Muhammad Ali.

Jerrard K. Polk has been drawing all his life. He won his first art contest at the age of 5 and was educated in public schools by many skilled art teachers. His love of books and poetry was encouraged by his mother, a librarian. Today, he enjoys sharing his fondness for art and entrepreneurship with children. He is greatly inspired by jazz and the dapper fashions of its innovators. In 2021, he illustrated The Story of John Lewis and Black Inventors.

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers
Publication date
January 02, 2018
Child's Introduction
BISAC categories
JNF018010 - Juvenile Nonfiction | People & Places | United States - African-American
JNF025170 - Juvenile Nonfiction | History | United States/General
Library of Congress categories
African Americans
JUVENILE NONFICTION / History / United States
JUVENILE NONFICTION / People & Places / Unite

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