February 4th, 2022
One way to honor Black History Month is by reading animal-themed children’s books by Black authors with your children or students! These books touch on a variety of topics such as wildlife, the human-animal bond, and how animals and people have helped each other throughout history
Diverse representation in children’s literacy benefits students’ overall social and emotional health by allowing children to see themselves represented as protagonists in stories. Diverse stories also help begin important conversations and introduce classrooms and students to different cultures and people from around the world. Highlighting and supporting diverse authorship in humane-themed literature can help create a more equitable world for both children and animals (Source).
Recommended for ages 4-8
Thinker isn’t an average puppy – he’s a poet. So is his owner, Jace. Together, they turn the world around them into a verse. There’s just one problem: Thinker has to keep quiet in public and he can’t go to school with Jace. That is, until Pet’s Day. But when Thinker is allowed into the classroom, at last, he finds it hard to keep his true identity a secret. Themes include identity, social awareness, self-awareness, personality, and poetry. Part of the RedRover Readers program. Find a copy on Google Books.
Written and Illustrated by Shabazz Larkin
Recommended for ages 3-7
The Thing About Bees is a love poem from a father to his two sons and a tribute to the bees that pollinate the foods we love to eat. Children are introduced to different kinds of bees, “how not to get stung,” and how the things we fear are often things we don’t fully understand. Find a copy on Google Books.
Written by Elysa Rubee | Illustrated by Rachel Martin
Recommended for ages 6 and up
Marvin has the adventure of his life when he rescues a baby kitten from the creek at a neighborhood park and is crowned Trap King for a Day. Topics include how to TNR (trap, neuter, and return) community cats. Find a copy on Google Books.
In page after page of tail-wagging fun, Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Spike Lee and his wife, Beacon Award-winning producer Tonya Lewis Lee, take a close-up look at what happens when a couple of high-energy toddlers meet their match in an adventurous pup who has no plans of letting up. Find a copy on Google Books.
Written by Calvin Alexander Ramsey and Bettye Stroud | Illustrated by John Holyfield
Recommended for ages 5-8
When Alex spies a mule chomping on greens in a nearby garden, he can’t help but ask about it. “Ol’ Belle?” says Miz Pettway. “She can have all the collards she wants. She’s earned it.” And so begins the tale of an ordinary mule in Gee’s Bend, Alabama, who played a singular part in the civil rights movement of the 1960s. When African-Americans in a poor community — inspired by a visit from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. — defied local authorities who were trying to stop them from registering to vote, many got around a long, imposed detour on mule-drawn wagons. As Alex looks into the eyes of gentle Belle, he begins to understand a significant time in history in a very personal way. Find a copy on Google Books.
Written by Lesa Cline-Ransome | Illustrated by G. Brian Karas
Recommended for ages 5-9
Whale-watching is a hugely popular pastime: at least 13 million people take whale-watching trips each year. But in the past, whaling ships hunted these animals to use their blubber for fuel and their bones for fishing hooks. As the whale population thinned, fortunately hunting ceased. Now, whale lovers go out on boats just to get a glimpse of these giant endangered creatures. Narrated by a little girl out on the waves with her father, this is a story of marine history and the differences between then and now. Find a copy on Google Books.