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Tiny but Mighty Activists

Young girl in a superhero costume

I've always loved children’s books and now, as a mother of a toddler, I have become even more enthralled with them. At home we have books in every room, on the floor, on the furniture, and a few on shelves. It warms my heart that my little one loves books as much as I do. Today I wanted to share a few of the stories we have already enjoyed together and a few I will introduce to my kiddo later on. These stories, also held in the Respect Together Libraries, are perfect for parents or caregivers to share with their little ones to help introduce and recognize Black History Month.

A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara is not your typical alphabet book. Each two page spread presents a letter and a little bit of social commentary that urges children to take a stand against war and violence, teaches environmental awareness, and acceptance of all cultures, races, religions, genders, and walks of life. The book is filled with a ton of alliteration and rhyming for each letter and idea. It is good for small children working on their letters, but also for older children as it presents an awareness of social justice and activism that can be discussed with parents or care givers.
The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a Young Civil Rights Activist by Cynthia Levinson tells the story of the youngest known child to be arrested for a civil rights protest in 1963 held in Birmingham, Alabama. Audrey Faye Hendricks intended to go places and do things, just like anyone else. As she listened to the grownups talk about marching to protest unfair laws, she decided to march too. After spending a week in jail, she went home with the promise of a brighter future. The story is simplified and sweetened. However, it still contains a significant introduction to Audrey Faye Hendricks and the Children’s March.

Child of the Civil Rights Movement by Paula Young Shelton and Raul Colon brings a child’s perspective to an important chapter in America’s history. Shelton, the daughter of civil rights activist Andrew Young, grew up in the deep-south. Growing up with her activist father and surrounded by engaged community leaders, Shelton watched and listened to the struggles of many of her black neighbors. She eventually joined her family and countless other brave activists in the march from Selma to Montgomery. She paints a picture of the challenges of the time, but also highlights the hope for change that moved so many to keep pushing forward.
I'm obviously a huge promoter of reading to children. I’m also a huge advocate of having conversations with kids when they are old enough, that reflect on our nation’s history and the mighty men and women who have come before us. Black History Month allows us to reflect on those who continue to fight for everything they believe in. I encourage everyone to check out the resources I’ve mentioned and many more held in the Respect Together Libraries. As always, I wish everyone a wonderful day and happy reading!