In this episode, Hettie V. Williams is in conversation with Dr. Kerry Rizzuto about book banning and multicultural children’s books that focus on the African American experience. Williams is an Associate Professor of African American history at Monmouth University. Rizzuto is an Associate Professor in the School of Education at Monmouth University. She has shared her children’s book recommendations with us below.
The 1619 Project: Born on the Water Nikkole Hannah Jones and Renee Watson
The 1619 Project’s lyrical picture book in verse chronicles the consequences of slavery and the history of Black resistance in the United States,
Homemade Love The world-renowned poet, cultural critic, feminist theorist, intellectual, and award-winning author, bell hooks, brings together with the resplendent artwork of Shane W. Evan, a beautiful board book perfect for little hands.
Zuri's hair has a mind of its own. It kinks, coils, and curls every which way. Zuri knows it's beautiful. When Daddy steps in to style it for an extra special occasion, he has a lot to learn. But he LOVES his Zuri, and he'll do anything to make her -- and her hair -- happy.
Utterly unique and evocative, Ain’t Burned All the Bright is a masterful mash-up of art and text from Jason Reynolds and Jason Griffin. This powerful piece captures what it’s like to be young and Black in America right now. Though the text is sparse, the feeling behind it will linger with readers long after the last page.
Prepare yourself for something unlike anything: A smash-up of art and text for teens that viscerally captures what it is to be Black. In America. Right Now. Written by #1 New York Times bestselling and award-winning author Jason Reynolds.
Jason Reynolds and his best bud, Jason Griffin had a mind-meld. And they decided to tackle it, in one fell swoop, in about ten sentences, and 300 pages of art, this piece, this contemplation-manifesto-fierce-vulnerable-gorgeous-terrifying-WhatIsWrongWithHumans-hope-filled-hopeful-searing-Eye-Poppingly-Illustrated-tender-heartbreaking-how-The-HECK-did-They-Come-UP-with-This project about oxygen. And all of the symbolism attached to that word, especially NOW.
The first day of school includes a new backpack and light-up shoes for Faizah, and a new hijab for her sister Asiya, a sixth grader wearing hijab for the first time. Asiya chose blue “the color of the ocean” for her first hijab. Faizah knows someday she’ll choose the same. But at school, when kids ask what Asiya is wearing, Faizah’s voice comes out in a whisper. “Asiya’s hijab isn’t a whisper. Asiya’s hijab is like the sky on a sunny day.”
All because you matter by Tami Charles
“Long before you took your place in this world. You were dreamed of, like a knapsack full of wishes, carried on the backs of your ancestors as they created empires, pyramids, legacies.” A poetic second-person text addressed to Black children begins by speaking of the universe and ancestors before moving on to the specifics of a contemporary child's life.