Cover Image: The ABCs of Black History

The ABCs of Black History

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Member Reviews

Thank you to Workman Publishing for the ARC. This is the best ABC book I have seen in a long while. Each letter can contain multiple words, the illustrations are vibrant and beautiful, and the Terms and Figures section in the last pages enrich the book in a thoroughly satisfying way.
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The ABC’s of Black History by Rio Cortez

The ABC’s of Black History by Rio Cortez and illustrated by Lauren Semmer is a colorful alphabet book that is packed with history from A to Z. It begins with the Black National Anthem and mentions movements like the Great Migration, Harlem Renaissance and the Civil Rights along with figures like Ruby Bridges, Jean -Michel Baquiat, Queen Nandi and Malcolm X. The artwork takes you on a visual journey from one letter to another. 
This amazing children's alphabet book has so many layers of goodness packed between its covers! I loved the way Black children are represented as well as the diverse set of historical figures that are mentioned that goes beyond the super famous few and challenges you to think about historical figures that don’t get mentioned as often. I got way more than what I expected in a children’s book about Black history. It starts with ABCs and Black History, but it also includes vocabulary, rhyming/poetry, and so many research and field trip opportunities. 
I will read this with my own little children and I would recommend this in the classroom. Even as an adult who thinks they know a decent amount about Black history, I learned quite a few new things. For elementary kids, you can explore the rhymes, the alphabet, the images and vocabulary along with the history. For older kids, you can push them into an inquiry stance and ask them which historical figures mentioned in the book they would like to learn more about. This is supported by the both the Explore Page in the beginning of the book and the Terms & Figures section in the back of the book that gives additional info on the history that is mentioned with each letter. Thanks to Workman Publishing Company for providing a digital arc.
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Rio Cortez has created an incredible resource with this book. It's a wonderful introduction to Black History will be great for children of all ages, this is not just for little kids. Even the adults who are reading to their children will be delighted by the illustrations and the depth of the information that this little book is able to hold. This is a must have for all children's bookshelves. Buy this for your children, friends, teachers, classrooms and libraries. 

The publisher made a copy of this book available via Netgalley. This is my honest review.
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A wonderful read that I'm definitely going to be adding to my shelf. My children always love books that have more people like them and this one just makes the appreciation so strong!
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This is a book that needs to be in all school and public libraries. Do not be fooled into thinking this is a book for toddlers, that is not the case. This is an amazing book on the history of the Black community all around the world. It is written in a fun and simple way with a lyrical rhythm, but the subject and information shared is important and powerful. The illustrations are amazing. They are large, vibrant and emotional. I learned a lot about Black History from this book and I was alive during much of this time. There are strong and important people showcased as well as historical events. I spent a lot of time searching the WWW, and listening to youtube after reading this book. It is one that should be read to students studying history, and especially during February, Black History Month. The back pages include information about the people and events that encourage further study. One I definitely recommend to readers of all ages.
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The reader will not be surprised to discover that this is far from a typical alphabet book. Really, Cortez is using the alphabet as a framework to introduce a wide variety of topics related to Black History and culture. Sometimes this is famous figures (Langston Hughes or Malcolm X). Some letters are represented by important events. More intriguing are the letters represented by concepts, things that can be hard to explain but which Cortez handles masterfully. I mean, I've never seen a picture book that uses the word "diaspora" before. Each letter gets just a few rhyming lines in the main text but is explained in more depth in the final pages of notes. The content is appropriate for young children but doesn't sugarcoat reality. This would be a great framework for a Black History Month curriculum, using each letter's concept as a focus for study.
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This is not so much an ABC book, as a neat way to teach black history, and attaching each subject to a letter of the alphabet.

What I really liked about it, as I always do about books like this, was the back matter, where each of the sections is explained in deeper detail.

So if you want to know more about, say Harlem, more information is in the back.  This allows for a light listing of things that children should be aware of in Black history, but doesn't bog things down.

One of my favorite is Q for Queens, where we get actual queens as well as people like Michelle Obama  and Angela Davis.

Thanks to Netgalley for making this book available for an honest review.
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The ABCs of Black History by Rio Cortez provides lots of history lessons and information to young readers while also providing more to explore with additional books and websites. The rhyming text and story told with the alphabet can appeal to young readers. It is great for building vocabulary with bolded words and would be a good conversation starter for families and teachers. The book is great for reading along with an adult but may be overwhelming for a child to read along by themselves.
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What a fantastic introduction into Black history for children (and realistically adults too). Out schools and our governments have failed us in the teachings they provided for ALL history. This book was so sweetly drawn and fun and informative. I loved reading it with my son. It is a great beginners book to start a journey into a true history journey.
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*ARC was provided by Workman Publishing Company through Netgalley.

This is a really cute and also super comprehensive ABC book that features a lot of different aspects of Black culture/history. The poetry is sweet and every topic listed is elaborated on in the appendix, plus there's a bibliography for more sources. This is definitely a great place to start learning and make sure that that education keeps going.
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The ABCs of Black History has the substance and impact to be read over and over. This is not your typical kindergarten ABC book. The people, places, events, and concepts chosen to represent each letter of the alphabet are varied and complex. Terms are included like Diaspora, Great Migration, Hurston, Juneteenth, Kwanzaa, Panther, and Tuskegee. This will surely spark questions and discussions between young readers and the adults who love them. Written in a 2-line rhyming verse, the ABCs move along in a sing-song rhythm sure to delight and engage all. Bold, bright illustrations, reminiscent of folk art, fill the pages edge to edge. The book includes a section called More To Explore - a list of books, websites, etc. that relate to the topics included in the book. A 9-page endnote section, called The ABC's of Black History: Terms and Figures, gives more information on every word highlighted in the book. I highly recommend this book as a stand-alone read or as a jumping-off point to investigate and learn more about Black history in our country. 
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced copy to review. All opinions are my own.
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This is an excellent book for all elementary classrooms and homes with young children. I love the depth of this book, while still keeping it in a format that students can understand. There are many things to be learned about Black History and the additional information in the back of the book is a useful addition for students who want to learn more. I highly recommend this book to all teachers and parents of young children!
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This book is beautifully illustrated and an added plus - it's written in rhyme.  It was so informational on Black History throughout the world in such a fun way!  I would definitely recommend this as a purchase for all classroom libraries!
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Wow, this is an incredible book! The illustrations are beautiful and evocative of African-American culture and history and will be captivating for young readers. The author does not gloss over or sugar-coat difficult topics like slavery, segregation, and civil rights, but touches upon them in a gentle way in which children can find out more if they're interested in doing so. The end of the book goes into more detail about each topic for older children who want more historical context. This is a truly beautiful book and I look forward to using it in my classroom.
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Teachers will use this book often to teach Black History, Famous Black People in history, and special words associated with history. Upper elementary students will be able to read on their own. The back of the book includes excellent details regarding vocabulary and people discussed for each letter.
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A perfect mix of historicity and stunning art, The ABCs of Black History is an alphabet book for older children and adults alike.

Borrowing the form from texts for younger readers, this rhyming book offers facts about Black history (primarily in the United States) in an alphabetical collection ranging from “Anthem” and “Diaspora” to “Vote,” “(Malcom) X” and “Zenith.” The mixture of concrete and abstract connections with each letter keeps the book refreshing, as do the original word choices for each.  And although I found the inconsistency in length-of-treatment each letter received—with some getting two lines and others getting three stanzas—distracting, that may just be a matter of personal preference.

The text is complemented by a helpful glossary at the end and a list of other resources at the beginning.
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Beautifully illustrated and overall brilliant book! Well worth addition for any daycare/classroom bookshelf!
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This book is beautifully illustrated and written in rhyme.  It provides young readers with important information on Black History throughout the world in a fun way!  I am going to recommend the library in our school purchase this title.
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This is a necessary book for all libraries. The text would be a good read aloud for early elementary aged kids, and the backmatter is exceptional.
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The ABC’s of Black History is not only a fun book to read. It is full of knowledge and pride. Rio Cortez tells the story of many influential individuals throughout Black History. Royalty, athletes, artists, writers, musicians, and activists are just some of the people you will meet and learn about on your journey through the ABC’s. 

Lauren Semmer will take you on a visual walk through history. The pictures depict historical Black figures and events that made them exceptional. 

This book reads like a poem with a section at the end named Terms and Figures. This glossary of sorts goes into detail about the people Mr. Cortez writes about and the definitions of words used in the poem. 

The ABC’s of Black History is an excellent read for readers of all ages.
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