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A Kid's Guide to African American History: More than 70 Activities (A Kid's Guide series) Paperback – June 1, 2007
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From School Library Journal
Gr 1-5-A chronological look at the history of African Americans from the pre-slavery days in Africa through today's celebration of Kwanzaa. With a straightforward, readable text, one- to three-page topics, and simple illustrative drawings, even young children can participate in this activity-based title. Although mentioning the hardships and inhumanities of slavery and Jim Crow laws, the brutal details are left out. The emphasis is on the contributions of African Americans, their courage, creativity, and inventiveness. The easy activities described in detail include games, crafts (with patterns), songs, recipes, and stories. An extensive bibliography of books, articles, and Web sites is included.-Eunice Weech, M. L. King Elementary School, Urbana, IL
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
The reason I don't recommend this for older school children or homeschool families is because of the disjointed nature of this book -- there is no basic flow to the information. It is just chunks of information in somewhat-chronological order. For example, you may read about the Forten family during the Revolutionary War and the Civil War period... but then in the section of the book on Abolitionists, you'll read the same information again. Continuity is missing -- the STORY of history is missing.
Older children can not find enough information in here to work on projects or build on their ideas independently. I was looking for ideas to reinforce a unit on the Underground Railroad -- I found one project in the entire book: the "Am I Not a Man and A Brother?" Medallion. That's a project that works, although we like to use a little shoe polish at the end, in order to "age" the medallion.
In order to use this book in a home learning or classroom learning environment, you will need *another* history text to provide the actual HISTORY, and then you can fill in with this book's blurbs and short biographies. I would recommend the series by Betsy and Giulio Maestro.
The Discovery of the Americas: From Prehistory Through the Age of Columbus (Discovery of the Americans)
Exploration and Conquest: The Americas After Columbus: 1500-1620 (American Story)
The New Americans: Colonial Times: 1620-1689 (American Story), etc.
There are so many great biographies of African Americans available that it would have been good for this book just to LIST the names and then go ahead and tell the history of African Americans in America. Instead, the reader gets two-sentence blurbs about important people like Richard Allen and Robert Smalls and William Still and Benjamin Banneker and William Lloyd Garrison, with no information about their motivations or their accomplishments. I have 3 Listmania Lists of biographies of Black leaders that we have read, and another one on the Underground Railroad/Abolitionists on Amazon -- there is a ton of information available.
I am uncomfortable with the distinction being made in this book between *Americans* and *African Americans*. This is particularly troubling on pages 162-163, with the information about Juneteenth. We are a military family, and I can assure you that African Americans ARE Americans.
The information on Booker T. Washington (page 173) is untrue -- he did not oppose Civil Rights for Black Americans. And this book repeats the Myth of Rosa Parks -- doing her a disservice and repeating again to black children that we must all agree that Rosa was a VICTIM, not a VICTOR. Poorly done.
This book goes to extremes on celebrating Kwanzaa. We can do better than the Marxist collectivism that repeatedly leads to starvation and death squads wherever it is tried. Our communities need a return to middle class values and individual excellence (actually, a return to what Booker T. taught.), not tired Marxism and dependency.
The songs and rhythms are fun for little kids -- preschoolers. Enjoy!
I would try these instead/in addition to this book:
"The Underground Railroad for Kids" The Underground Railroad for Kids: From Slavery to Freedom with 21 Activities (For Kids series)
Enemies of Slavery
"Timelines of African American History" Timelines of African-American History
The book is divided up into chronological sections, with additional information on African civilizations and Kwanzaa. Each unit has background information and activities. I like the fact that, while the historical events are not romanticized, daily life is as often the focus as the important historical events and individuals. The section on plantation life, for example, includes directions for making musical instruments such as a washtub bass and a tambourine, plus songs to sing and games to play.
This approach means that various activities can be pulled out for history lessons and for fun at home all year long.
The book begins with an explanation and timeline and then visits each destination on the timeline with games, crafts, etc. This book is a treasure trove of ideas that the savvy parent or teacher can use to create wonderful science, math and language arts lessons from. It is sort of a combination between a "recipe" book and an almanac that tells you when, where and how to plant seeds of useful historical knowledge in the hearts and minds of the children you care for. I originally borrowed the old edition of this book from my local library and loved it so much that I HAD to purchase it (I held the library version overdue two days until mine arrived...some sort of subconscious thing, probably.) lol
Next year, I am planning to use this book to plan my social studies, language arts, science and math lessons for the months of January and February.
This book is an extraordinary tool...use your imagination, your own ingenuity and creativity to make each project you choose Amazing.
I have included a picture I took of the Merchant Ship project from the book that I got creative with, using wood and natural fabric for the masts and sails. It was a HUGE hit and the beginning of our 8 foot long timeline display inspired by this awesome book. All the best!