Tag: Black History Month

Brave Ballerina | Book Review

February is Black History Month and is a time where we celebrate the many achievements and contributions of Black Canadians and Americans.

This is why we are excited to share a book review that helps recognize the story of one inspirational woman. This children’s book is a lyrical picture book tribute to Janet Collins, the first African American principal dancer at the Metropolitan Opera House.

We are delighted to introduce you all to, Brave Ballerina written by Michelle Meadows and illustrated by Ebony Glenn.

Synopsis

Janet Collins was a graceful, talented girl. She wanted to be a ballerina in the 1930s and ’40s, a time when racial segregation was widespread in the United States. Janet pursued dance with a passion, seeking private lessons after being excluded from discriminatory dance schools. When she was accepted into the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo as a teenager on the condition that she paint her skin white for performances, Janet refused. She continued to go after her dreams, never compromising her values along the way.

From her early childhood lessons to the height of her success as the first African American prima ballerina in the Metropolitan Opera House, this is the story of a remarkable pioneer.

#MelAndNikkiReview

The narrative is inviting and will engage young readers in thoughtful reflection about overcoming challenges and inspire them to think “big” from an early age. The story flowed beautifully and was elegantly told. The illustrations are captivating which brought the story to life. It is a perfect children’s book to celebrate Black History Month with the story of Janet Collins. We truly enjoyed reading this book and it was a great conversation piece to have with my four-year-old daughter. I find that when we have inspiring stories like Brave Ballerina it enriches a child’s education and I am thrilled that we got to read it. 

I also really adored the author’s note at the back of the book where she goes more in-depth of Janet Collins story and what she loves about it. This added that little extra special touch to the book.

We give Brave Ballerina5 pirouettes out of 5! This book is recommended for children aged four to eight. To purchase your own copy, click here.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

* The book was provided to Momma Braga in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed her solely belong to Momma Braga.

 

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Hands Up! | Book Review

We love reading books that are so simple but with an impactful message. With Black History month quickly approaching (February), Hands Up! would make a great addition to your child’s reading line-up.

Synopsis

A young black girl lifts her baby hands up to greet the sun, reaches her hands up for a book on a high shelf, and raises her hands up in praise at a church service. She stretches her hands up high like a plane’s wings and whizzes down a hill so fast on her bike with her hands way up. As she grows, she lives through everyday moments of joy, love, and sadness. And when she gets older, she joins together with her family and her community in a protest march, where they life their hands up together in resistance and strength.

Beyond the Words

Many children books, there is a message or lesson learned in them. Hands Up! is no exception. This picture book wants to reclaim the phrase “hands up” in a more positive light for young black children. By using the phrase in positive everyday activities and life occasions, it lessens the negative use of it in media in connection with police violence.

Hands Up! is a way to start conversations with children on the negative use of the word and let them know there are positive uses for it. With the final spread in the story of the peaceful protest it shows a healthy way to engage with your community and make your voice heard.

#MelAndNikkiReview

We truly love books that try to do more than just tell a story and Hands Up! gives that opportunity to parents to do just that. We love how the book has this impactful message without having it right there in front of you. This gives the parent the option to discuss it if they choose to. The book reinforces positive images and it is an adorable read for a child. The illustrations in the book compliment the story well and we love the use of colors throughout the book. These illustrations brought the book to life in our perspective.

Therefore, for this #MelAndNikkiReview we give Hands Up! 5 hands up out of 5! We are delighted to announce that this book has just been released and is now available for purchasing. If you would like to purchase your very own, click here. Recommended for children ages four to eight.

About The Author & Illustrator

Breanna J. McDaniel is an author and children’s literature scholar. She holds an MA in children’s literature from Simmons College and is currently pursuing her Ph.D. at Cambridge University, where her research focuses on representations of black children in contemporary picture books. She is originally from Atlanta and currently lives in the United Kingdom. This is her first book.

Shane W. Evans is the author and illustrator of more than thirty books for children, including Chocolate Me!, We March and Underground: Finding the Light to Freedom, which received the Coretta Scott King Illustration Award. He lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where he runs Dream Studio, a community art space.

*The book was provided in exchange for an honest review by Momma Braga. No other compensation was provided.