February is Black History Month, and there are many ways to reflect on the contributions of African Americans with your children as well as celebrate the spirit of equality. Here are just a few ideas we’ve compiled for you to Read, Do, and Go!
The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Cole
This special anniversary edition tells the true-life story of brave 6-year old girl, Ruby Bridges, the first African-American child to attend an all-white school in New Orleans in 1960. Ruby faces angry mobs of protesters outsider her school daily and must be escorted by federal marshals to class. Reading this story to my own children, I couldn’t help but get a little choked up at Ruby’s immense capacity for forgiveness and her amazing resilience in the face of adversity. While the topic of racism and America’s ugly past may be a new and harsh topic for your children, this book handles it both gently and inspirationally and is a wonderful springboard for discussion with your children.
Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Doreen Rappaport
This picture book puts the life of MLK into words and images children can easily understand. Taking excerpts from Dr. King’s own speeches, this book is overwhelmingly as much about the power of love over hate, as it is the story of a young boy who grew up in the segregated south to become one of the visionary leaders of our time. While the book does not dwell on his death, it does speak plainly about Dr. King’s assassination, so parents should be forewarned. However, Dr. King’s message of love, peace, and equality are what shine through. Once again, this is another book that will open up the lines of discussion with you and your child.
Want more? Kristen at Rage Against the Minivan has a great list of the Best Books to Celebrate Black History Month.
This “We’re all in this Together” Peace Wreath from Color Me Kinder is a beautiful and easy craft you can make with your child. The picture uses multicultural construction paper, but if you are unable to find any, you can always mix up some poster paint and have the kids make their own hand prints.
On February 22nd from 10am-6pm. the Zion Park District will host a Black History Program at Zion-Benton Township High School (Horizon Campus) in the South Cafeteria. This is a FREE family event with singing, dancing, guest speakers and poetry. Dinner will be served after the program. For more information call (847) 746-5500 or visit zionparkdistrict.com.
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