February 03, 2016

Black History Month: An updated youngCanLit book list


Two years ago I prepared my first book list of 54 youngCanLit titles for Black History Month.  I have updated that list periodically when important titles were brought to my attention or were newly published, like Caroline Pignat’s Governor-General award-winning book, The Gospel Truth.  But, it gets to the point when that list becomes a bit ragged and the formatting starts to go wonky and I thought it best to update it and reorganize it completely.  I hope that, in this more complete list of 76 titles, enhanced with the addition of titles brought to my attention by readers, everyone will find something that helps them grasp the importance of Black History Month to all Canadians.




Dear Baobab
by Cheryl Foggo
Illustrated by Qin Leng
Second Story Press
24 pp.
Ages 5-8
2011
Immigration to Canada


From Lands of the Night
by Tololwa M. Mollel
Illustrated by Darrell McCalla
Red Deer Press
32 pp.
Ages 7+
January, 2014
East African traditional stories, celebration


Malaika’s Costume
by Nadia L. Hohn
Illustrated by Irene Luxbacher
Groundwood Books
32 pp.
Ages 3-7
2016
Carnival, immigration to Canada


Mayann's Train Ride
by The Honourable Mayann Francis
Illustrated by Tamara Thiébaux Heikalo
Nimbus Publishing
32 pp.
Ages 4-9
2015
Biography

Music From the Sky
by Denise Gillard
Illustrated by Stephen Taylor
Groundwood Books
32 pp.
Ages 4-7
2011
African-Canadian intergenerational relationship

Nana's Cold Days
by Adwoa Badoe
Illustrated by Bushra Junaid
Groundwood Books
32 pp.
Ages 3-7
2002
Visit to Canada from Africa
The Orphan Boy
by Tololwa M. Mollel
Illustrated by Paul Morin
Oxford University Press
32 pp.
Ages 5-9
1990
Masai folklore




A Pot of Wisdom: Ananse Stories
by Adwoa Badoe
Illustrated by Baba Wagué Diakité
Groundwood
62 pp.
Ages 7-10
2001
African folklore 

Up Home
by Shauntay Grant
Illustrated by Susan Tooke
Nimbus
32 pp.
Ages 7-11
2011
North Preston’s black community

Viola Desmond Won't Be Budged!
by Jody Nyasha Warner
Illustrated by Richard Rudnicki
Groundwood
32 pp.
Ages 7-10
2010
Biography, civil rights







Black and White
by Eric Walters
Puffin
232 pp.
Ages 10-13
2009
Racism, friendship

Crossing to Freedom
by Virginia Frances Schwartz
Scholastic Canada
231 pp.
Ages 10+
2010
Slavery, freedom

Dark of the Moon
by Barbara Haworth-Attard
Roussan Publishers
136 pp.
Ages 9-12
1995
Underground Railroad

A Desperate Road to Freedom: The Underground Railroad Diary of Julia May Jackson (Dear Canada)
by Karleen Bradford
Scholastic Canada
240 pp.
Ages 9-13
2009
Slavery, Underground Railroad

Elijah of Buxton
by Christopher Paul Curtis
Scholastic Canada
288 pp.
Ages 9+
2007
Freedom, slavery, Ontario

The Freedom of Jenny
by Julie Burtinshaw
Raincoast Books
182 pp.
Ages 7-10
2005
Underground Railroad, British Columbia

Grease Town
by Ann Towell
Tundra
192 pp.
Ages 10-13
2010
Racism, Ontario
The Heaven Shop
by Deborah Ellis
Fitzhenry & Whiteside
192 pp.
Ages 10-14
2004
Malawi, HIV/AIDS

Hurry, Freedom (A Canadian Flyer Adventure)
by Frieda Wishinsky
Illustrated by Dean Griffiths
Maple Tree Press
81 pp.
Ages 6-9
2008
Underground Railroad

I Came as a Stranger: The Underground Railroad
by Bryan Prince
Tundra Books
160 pp.
Ages 11-14
2004
Underground Railroad, slavery

If I Just Had Two Wings
by Virginia Frances Schwartz
Stoddart Kids
221 pp.
Ages 11+
2001
Underground Railroad, slavery

Last Days in Africville
by Dorothy Perkyns
Sandcastle Books/Beach Holme
110 pp.
Ages 8-12
2003
Africville, Nova Scotia, racism

The Madman of Piney Woods
by Christopher Paul Curtis
Scholastic
384 pp.
Ages 9+
2014
Sequel to "Elijah of Buxton"

Morning Star
by Judith Plaxton
Second Story Press
277 pp.
Ages 11-14
2011
Underground Railroad

Moses, Me, and Murder: A Barkerville Mystery
by Ann Walsh
Dundurn
112 pp.
Ages 10-14
2013
Based on a Gold Rush murder

My Name is Henry Bibb: A Story of Slavery and Freedom
by Afua Cooper
Kid Can Press
160 pp.
Ages 10-14
2009
Historical fiction, slavery, abolitionism

My Name is Phillis Wheatley: A Story of Slavery and Freedom
by Afua Cooper
Kid Can Press
152 pp.
Ages 11+
2009
Biography, slavery, poetry

Rachel: Certificate of Freedom (Our Canadian Girl)
by Lynne Kositsky
Penguin Canada
112 pp.
Ages 8-12
2003
Slavery, racism, freedom, Nova Scotia  

Rachel: An Elephant Tree Christmas (Our Canadian Girl)
by Lynne Kositsky
Penguin Canada
84 pp.
Ages 9-11
2004
Racism, Nova Scotia

Rachel: The Maybe House (Our Canadian Girl)
by Lynne Kositsky
Penguin Canada
83 pp.
Ages 9-11
2002
Loyalists, slavery, racism, Nova Scotia

Rachel: A Mighty Big Imagining (Our Canadian Girl)
by Lynne Kositsky
Penguin Books
64 pp.
Ages 8-11
2001
Slavery, freedom

Seas of South Africa (Submarine Outlaw series)
by Philip Roy
Ronsdale Press
200 pp.
Ages 10+
2013
Racism, violence, South Africa, apartheid

Send One Angel Down
by Virginia Frances Schwartz
Holiday House
163 pp.
Ages 12-14
2000
Slavery, racism

Stones
by William Bell
Doubleday Canada
210 pp.
Ages 10+
2001
Racism, intolerance

Underground to Canada
by Barbara Smucker
Puffin Canada
144pp.
Ages 9-12
2003
Slavery, Underground Railroad, freedom







Between Sisters
by Adwoa Badoe
Groundwood
205 pp.
Ages 13+
2010
Ghana

A Big Dose of Lucky
by Marthe Jocelyn
Orca Book Publisher
249 pp.
Ages 12+
2015
Heritage

Cape Town
by Brenda Hammond
Great Plains Teen Fiction
326 pp.
Ages 14+
2012
Apartheid, South Africa


Chasing Freedom
by Gloria Ann Wesley
Fernwood Publishing
240 pp.
Ages 13+
2011
Black Loyalists coming to Nova Scotia

Chanda’s Secrets
by Allan Stratton
Annick
193 pp.
Ages 12-15
2004
HIV/AIDS

Chanda’s War
by Allan Stratton
HarperCollins
382 pp.
Ages 13-17
2008
Civil war, child soldiers

The Gospel Truth
by Caroline Pignat
Red Deer Press
328 pp.
Ages 12+
2014
Slavery, freedom

The House of Good Spirits
by Donn Kushner
Lester & Orpen Dennys
214 pp.
Ages 12-15
1990
Racism, slavery, African folktales

If This is Freedom
by Gloria Ann Wesley
Fernwood Publishing
272 pp.
Ages 13+
2013
Black loyalist settlers in Nova Scotia

My Life Before Me
by Norah McClintock
Orca Book Publishers
248 pp.
Ages 12+
2015
Civil rights, racism

Rush Home Road
by Lori Lansens
Back Bay Books
387 pp.
Ages  16+
2011
Town founded by fugitive slaves

Zack
by William Bell
Doubleday Canada
165 pp.
Ages 12-16
1998
Slavery, racism, Richard Pierpoint








Africans Thought of It: Amazing Innovations
by Bathseba Opini and Richard B. Lee
Annick Press
48 pp.
Ages 8-12
2011
Inventions


All Aboard! Elijah McCoy’s Steam Engine (Great Ideas Series)
by Monica Kulling
Illustrated by Bill Slavin
Tundra Books
32 pp.
Ages 5-8
2010
Biography

Big League Dreams: Baseball Hall of Fame's First African Canadian, Fergie Jenkins
by Richard Bridnall
Lorimer
152 pp.
Ages 11-13
2010
Biography, Fergie Jenkins

The Bite of the Mango
by Mariatu Kumara with Susan McClelland
Annick Press
216 pp.
Ages 14+
2008
Sierra Leone, civil war

Children of Africville
by Christine Welldon
Nimbus
81 pp.
Ages 8-12
2009
Africville, racism, community

Five Thousand Years of Slavery
by Marjorie Gann and Janet Willen
Tundra
168 pp.
Ages 11-16
2011
Slavery

Harriet Tubman: Freedom Seeker, Freedom Leader (A Quest Biography)
by Rosemary Sadlier
Dundurn
190 pp.
2012
Biography, Harriet Tubman

How the Blacks Created Canada
by Fil Fraser
Dragon Hill
255 pp.
Ages 16+
2009
Achievement, Canada, settlement

Jailed for Being Black: The Story of Rubin "Hurricane" Carter (Real Justice)
by Bill Swan
Lorimer
144 pp.
Ages 13-17
2014
Biography, Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, injustice, racism

Jarome Iginla: How the NHL’s first black captain gives back
by Nicole Mortillaro
Lorimer
112 pp.
Ages 11-14
2010
Biography

The Kids Book of Black Canadian History
by Rosemary Sadlier
Illustrated by Wang Qijun
Kids Can Press
56 pp.
Ages 9-12
2003
Canada, history

Nelson Mandela: Champion of Freedom (Remarkable People series)
by Simon Rose
Weigl Publishers
24 pp.
Ages 8-12
2010
Nelson Mandela, South Africa

On an American Day: Story Voyages Through History, 1759-1899
by Rona Arato
Illustrated by Ben Shannon
Owlkids Books
96 pp.
Ages 9-13
2011

On a Canadian Day: Nine Story Voyages Through History
by Rona Arato
Illustrated by Peter Ferguson
Maple Tree Press/Owlkids Books
96 pp.
Ages 9-13
2009
Underground Railroad

Out of Slavery: The Journey to Amazing Grace
by Linda Granfield
Illustrated by Janet Wilson
Tundra Books
40 pp.
Ages 9+
2009
Slavery, John Newton

People Who Said No: Courage Against Oppression
by Laura Scandiffio
Annick Press
168 pp.
Ages 9-14
2012
Civil rights, Rosa Parks, NAACP, apartheid, South Africa

Season of Rage: Hugh Burnett and the Struggle for Civil Rights
by John Cooper
Tundra Books
71 pp.
Ages 10-15
2005
Racism, civil rights, Ontario

Singing Towards the Future: The Story of Portia White (Stories of Canada)
by Lian Goodall
Illustrated by Liz Milkau
Napoleon Publishing
63 pp.
Ages 9-11
2004
Biography, Portia White

Stay Strong: A Musician's Journey from Congo (Arrivals)
by Natalie Hyde
Clockwise Press
160 pp.
Ages 12-16
2015
Biography

Talking about Freedom: Celebrating Emancipation Day in Canada
by Natasha L. Henry
Dundurn
174 pp.
Ages 12+
2012
Slavery, emancipation

To Stand and Fight Together: Richard Pierpoint and the Coloured Corps of Upper Canada
by Steve Pitt
Dundurn
144 pp.
Ages 10+
2008
War of 1812, Richard Pierpoint, soldiers, Canada

To the Rescue! Garrett Morgan Underground
by Monica Kulling
Illustrated by David Parkins
Tundra Books
32 pp.
Ages 5-8
2016
Biography

Trials and Triumphs: The Story of African-Canadians
by Lawrence Hill
Umbrella Press
64 pp.
Ages 11+
1993
Settlement, slavery, racism, achievements

The Underground Railroad: The Long Journey to Freedom in Canada (Amazing Stories)
by L. D. Cross
James Lorimer
144 pp.
Ages 12+
2010
Slavery, Underground Railroad, freedom

When I Get Older: The Story Behind Wavin’ Flag
by K’NAAN with Sol Guy
Illustrated by Rudy Guttierez
Tundra Books
32 pp.
Ages 7-12
2012
Biography

Willie O'Ree: The Story of the First Black Player in the NHL (Recordbooks)
by Nicole Mortillaro
James Lorimer
140 pp.
Ages 11-13
2012
Biography, hockey, Willie O'Ree

Working for Freedom: The Story of Josiah Henson
by Rona Arato
Napoleon
78 pp.
Ages 10-13
2009
Biography, Josiah Henson, slavery, Underground Railroad







In the Freedom of Dreams: The Story of Nelson Mandela
by Michael A. Miller
Playwrights Canada Press
67 pp.
Ages 14+
2003
Biography, Nelson Mandela









Loyalties: A Trip Down Slavery Lane
Directed by Lesley Ann Patten
Produced by Kent Martin and Lesley Ann Patten
National Film Board of Canada
57 min., 3 sec.
Ages 11+
1999
Heritage, slavery, South Carolina, Halifax

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