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Free at Last

2022

by Sojourner Kincaid Rolle and Alex Bostic

"This lyrical celebration of Juneteenth, deeply rooted in Black American history, spans centuries and reverberates loudly and proudly today. Deeply emotional, evocative free verse by poet and activist Sojourner Kincaid Rolle traces the solemnity and celebration of Juneteenth from its 1865 origins in Galveston, Texas to contemporary observances all over the United States. This is an ode to the strength of Black Americans and a call to remember and honor a holiday whose importance reverberates far beyond the borders of Texas." -- publisher

Beautiful Life Informational

The Juneteenth Story

2022

by Alliah L. Agostini and Sawyer Cloud

"The Juneteenth Story is an illustrated history of Juneteenth for kids, detailing its evolution from the first celebration in 1865 until it became a national holiday in 2021. With colorful illustrations and a timeline, this introductory history of Juneteenth for kids details the evolution of the holiday commemorating the date the enslaved people of Texas first learned of their freedom​. On June 19, 1865—more than two years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation—the enslaved people of Texas first learned of their freedom. That day became a day of remembrance and celebration that changed and grew from year to year. Learn about the events that led to emancipation and why it took so long for the enslaved people in Texas to hear the news. The first Juneteenth began as “Jubilee Day,” where families celebrated and learned of their new rights as citizens. As Black Texans moved to other parts of the country, they brought their traditions along with them, and Juneteenth continued to grow and develop. Today, Juneteenth’s powerful spirit has endured through the centuries to become an official holiday in the United States in 2021. The Juneteenth Story provides an accessible introduction for kids to learn about this important American holiday." -- publisher

Beautiful Life Informational

King of Ragtime

2021

by Stephen Costanza

"A stunning, rhythmic picture book biography of African American composer Scott Joplin, whose ragtime music paved the way for jazz. There was something special about Scott Joplin… This quiet kid could make a piano laugh out loud. Scott, the son of a man who had been enslaved, became a king—the King of Ragtime. This celebration of Scott Joplin, whose ragtime compositions paved the way for jazz, will captivate audiences and put a beat in their step, and the kaleidoscope-like illustrations will draw young readers in again and again." -- publisher

Biography Cross Group

Playing at the Border

2021

by Joanna Ho and Teresa Martinez

"From Joanna Ho, the author of the New York Times bestselling Eyes That Kiss in the Corners, comes a timely, lyrical picture book about famous musician Yo-Yo Ma, immigration, and using music to build bridges between cultures. The brilliant author of Eyes that Kiss in the Corners, Joanna Ho, delivers a poignant picture book biography, perfect for fans of Ada’s Violin. Before Yo-Yo Ma became one of the most renowned and celebrated cellists, he wanted to play the double bass. But it was too big for his four-year-old hands. Over time, Ma honed his amazing talent, and his music became a reflection of his own life between borders, cultures, disciplines, and generations. Since then, he has recorded over a hundred albums, won nineteen Grammy Awards, performed for eight American presidents, and received the National Medal of the Arts and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, just to name a few accomplishments. Staying true to himself, Yo-Yo Ma performed at the US-Mexico border at the Rio Grande on April 13, 2019, as part of his multicontinent “Bach Project” tour to prove a point—through music, we can build bridges rather than walls between different cultures. Joanna Ho’s lyrical writing and Teresa Martinez’s vibrant art weave together to tell an inspiring story of Yo-Yo Ma, who challenges conventions, expectations, and beliefs in order to build bridges to unite communities, people, and cultures." -- publisher

Biography Race/Culture Concepts

Sing with Me

2021

by Diana López and Teresa Martinez

"An exuberant picture book celebrating the life and legacy of Selena Quintanilla, beloved Queen of Tejano music. From a very early age, young Selena knew how to connect with people and bring them together with music. Sing with Me follows Selena's rise to stardom, from front-lining her family's band at rodeos and quinceañeras to performing in front of tens of thousands at the Houston Astrodome. Young readers will be empowered by Selena's dedication--learning Spanish as a teenager, designing her own clothes, and traveling around the country with her family--sharing her pride in her Mexican-American roots and her love of music and fashion with the world." -- publisher

Biography Oppression & Resilience

Small Room, Big Dreams: The Journey of Julián and Joaquin Castro

2021

by Monica Brown and Mirelle Ortega

"From award-winning author Monica Brown and vibrant illustrator Mirelle Ortega comes an informative, inspirational picture book about twin brothers Julián and Joaquin Castro, who rose from poverty to become leaders on the national stage. Also available in Spanish, with the title Pequeña habitación, grandes sueños . Twins Julián and Joaquin Castro are political forces, but their story began in a small room in San Antonio, Texas, that they shared with their grandmother, Mamo. When Mamo was a girl she crossed into Texas from Mexico, marking the start of the Castros’ American journey. When Julián and Joaquin were kids, they learned about activism from their single mother, who helped improve the barrio through local government. She inspired the twins to get involved in politics, and Julián and Joaquin have been working at the local, state, and national level—as a presidential candidate and former Cabinet member, and a U.S. Congressman, respectively—to make the country a better place for everyone. Together, author Monica Brown and illustrator Mirelle Ortega depict the Castros’ political and personal accomplishments with depth and grace, making this a must-read picture book biography." -- publisher

Biography

Sprouting Wings

2021

by Shari Becker, Louisa Jaggar and Floyd Cooper

"The inspirational and true story of James Herman Banning, the first African American pilot to fly across the country, comes to life in this picture book biography perfect for fans of Hidden Figures and Little Leaders. Includes art from a Coretta Scott King award-winning illustrator. James Herman Banning always dreamed of touching the sky. But how could a farm boy from Oklahoma find a plane? And how would he learn to fly it? None of the other pilots looked like him. In a journey that would span 3,300 miles, take twenty-one days, and inspire a nation, James Herman Banning proved that you can’t put barriers on dreams. Louisa Jaggar incorporates over seven years of research, including Banning’s own writings and an interview with the aviator’s great-nephew. She teams up with cowriter Shari Becker and award-winning illustrator Floyd Cooper to capture Banning’s historic flight across the United States." -- publisher

Biography Cross Group

Welcome to Texas

2021

by Asa Gilland

"Welcome to Texas! We’re glad you’re here! Introducing a new series of picture books about each US state. Children from Texas and those who’d like to visit Texas one day will love this bright, cheerful, fact-filled picture book celebration of “The Lone Star State.” With information about the state’s animals, plants, regions, food, people, customs, and fun places to visit, this tribute to Texas is the perfect gift for vacationers and residents alike. The warm, bright illustrations highlight the many delights to be found throughout the state, and the easy-yet-informative details (“Texas is BIG! It’s the second-largest state in the USA”) give just the right amount of information to kids from preschool on up. Series Overview: The “Welcome to” series starts in spring ’21 with Arizona, California, Florida, and Texas, with plans to add more states each season.Welcome to Texas! We’re glad you’re here! Introducing a new series of picture books about each US state. Children from Texas and those who’d like to visit Texas one day will love this bright, cheerful, fact-filled picture book celebration of “The Lone Star State.” With information about the state’s animals, plants, regions, food, people, customs, and fun places to visit, this tribute to Texas is the perfect gift for vacationers and residents alike. The warm, bright illustrations highlight the many delights to be found throughout the state, and the easy-yet-informative details (“Texas is BIG! It’s the second-largest state in the USA”) give just the right amount of information to kids from preschool on up. Series Overview: The “Welcome to” series starts in spring ’21 with Arizona, California, Florida, and Texas, with plans to add more states each season." -- publisher

Incidental Informational

Dark Was the Night

2020

by Gary Golio and E.B. Lewis

"The poignant story of Blind Willie Johnson—the legendary Texas musician whose song “Dark Was the Night” was included on the Voyager I space probe’s Golden Record Willie Johnson was born in 1897, and from the beginning he loved to sing—and play his cigar box guitar. But his childhood was interrupted when he lost his mother and his sight. How does a blind boy make his way in the world? Fortunately for Willie, the music saved him and brought him back into the light. His powerful voice, combined with the wailing of his slide guitar, moved people. Willie made a name for himself performing on street corners all over Texas. And one day he hit it big when he got a record deal and his songs were played on the radio. Then in 1977, his song—“Dark Was the Night”—was chosen to light up the darkness when it was launched into space on the Voyager I space probe’s famous Golden Record. His immortal song was selected for the way it expresses the loneliness humans all feel, while reminding us we’re not alone." -- publisher

Biography

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