Staff Picks 4 Kids Category: we need diverse books

Book review: The Voice of Liberty by Angelica Shirley Carpenter

The Voice of Liberty book cover

The Voice of Liberty, by Angelica Shirley Carpenter 

There was a grand celebration when the Statue of Liberty was presented   to the United States of America. It was a gift from the people of France. This enormous statue of a woman holding a torch was an icon of freedom, and was a symbol of welcome to immigrants arriving by sea, as it is to this day. 

But not all of the citizens believed they were free. Some of the community were troubled enough to say they wanted a real change. The women of the New York State Woman Suffrage Association noticed that they were not even allowed to vote in an election. “How can a statue of a woman represent liberty when women have no freedom in this country?” They wanted women to have the liberty to vote and have their own voice in government.  See what these courageous ladies decided to do to get some attention  and help to make some positive long-lasting changes. Check the facts about this statue and a history timeline of voting rights  which is included in this book. 

Learn more about the book and its author by watching this in-depth interview.

This book could be paired with The Big Day, by Terry Caruthers, about the exciting first day women of color could vote in Knoxville, Tennesee. You can hear the author read some of the book here.

The Big Day book cover

    Review by Darice C., Youth Services Assistant

Book review: Exquisite: The Poetry and Life of Gwendolyn Brooks

Exquisite: The Poetry and Life of Gwendolyn Brooks by Suzanne Slade, illustrated by Cozbi Cabrera  

J B BROOKS, G. 

Exquisite: The Poetry and Life of Gwendolyn Brooks by Suzanne Slade book cover

Discover the life and legacy of this famous Chicagoan in a biography that is beautiful to read and look at. 

Gwendolyn Brooks grew up on the South Side of Chicago in a family that didn’t have much money, but was rich in love and books. Hearing her father read poems made her want to write her own poetry, and her parents truly believed in her dream to become a great poet. Her first poems were published when she was only 11, but writing poetry didn’t help her make friends or pay bills once she became an adult. But still she wrote and wrote, and before long, she won the greatest prize in poetry, the Pulitzer Prize! Her poems were about her life on the South Side of Chicago, and about the inequalities she and her neighbors faced because they were Black. 

I loved learning about Gwendolyn’s life in this quick, award winning read with gorgeous illustrations. I bet you will too! 

-Review by Claire B, Youth Outreach Librarian

National Portrait Gallery and Black History Month

portraits of African Americans in National Portrait Gallery

Let’s visit the National Portrait Gallery without even leaving the house! Google arts and culture has created a virtual exhibit of notable African Americans, which is a great exhibit to explore any time, but especially during Black History Month.

To extend your experience, we’ve put together a list of books about some of the famous figures featured in this virtual art exhibit. Place a hold or come to the main library to check one out!

Lunar New Year

lunar new year/Chinese new year books

The Lunar New Year starts on February 12th. Lunar New Year, sometimes called Chinese New Year, is celebrated in China and Chinese communities around the world. The celebration lasts 15-days, beginning with the new moon and continuing until the full moon. 2021 is the year of the Ox.

You can learn more about this holiday by checking out our materials on the subject.

You can also learn more using the databases found on our Homework Help page! A couple of newer databases that we like are Pebble Go, for kids who are beginning readers, and Scholastic Teachables, which is a database that offers fun games, activities and worksheets that you can print and use.

If you need assistance finding materials on this or any other subject, please contact youth services at 847-290-3320 or at KidsRead@mppl.org.

Black History Month 2021

Today is the first day of Black History Month! According to Britannica Library for Children:

The month of February is African American History Month, also known as Black History Month, in the United States. It was first celebrated in 1926 as Negro History Week. It was created to highlight the contributions Blacks have made to American history and culture. Within a few decades, the event had become an important part of African American life and had spread throughout the country. The United States government declared it a monthlong celebration in 1976.

You can learn more about Black history by researching in our online databases, or come into the library and check our display on Black History Month, which features just a handful of the materials we have about the achievements and history of Black Americans.

Black History Month books
the Black History Month display in youth services

You might also enjoy checking out our Black Joy reading recommendations, featuring many #OwnVoices* authors.

*The term #OwnVoices was coined by the writer Corinne Duyvis, and refers to an author from a marginalized or under-represented group writing about their own experiences/from their own perspective, rather than someone from an outside perspective writing as a character from an underrepresented group. (thanks to Seattle Public Library for this concise definition.)