Friday, February 3, 2017

Boys To Books Celebrates Black History Month

I know I'm admitting my age when I write this but I spend so much time reviewing children and young adult books that I don't often get to express why I write here.

I was a prolific reader growing up. I read whatever I could get my hands on. Since I grew up in a low income neighborhood with parents who didn't share the same love of reading, I didn't get very many trips to the public library.

Instead, I looked forward to the arrival of the Bookmobile in my neighborhood. I felt lucky to have a mobile library show up on my street. When I was old enough to go to school and take advantage of the school library, I felt like I was in heaven. My daughter latched on to my love of reading, my sons not so much. This is one of the reasons I started this blog in the first place. I wanted to light a fire for my sons and make sure they knew that reading wasn't just for girls.

I had one picture book that made a profound impact on my white world. That book, Runaway Slave, introduced me to my first heroine, Harriet Tubman.
Harrit Tubman: Photo public domain via Wikipedia Commons
I read this book over and over, incensed at how slave owners treated other human beings. I became more incensed every time I heard friends or family members make racist comments about my black fellow Americans.  Did they not understand my love for Harriet Tubman? A woman who single handedly saved 70 slaves by putting her life in danger and the lives of others through the Underground Railroad network. I liked to believe I would have been one of those white women who hung my quilt in the window to let those families know I would provide a safe haven. 

As a child, I am ever grateful that my parents let me watch the whole miniseries Roots. I will never forget Kizzy Kinte spitting into her white slave owner's cup of water and how I cheered Kizzy on for that small act of rebellion. I also cheered Kizzy on for learning to read. 

I celebrate Black History month to remind myself how it important it is to treat each other humanely and with love and compassion. I shook my head in disgust when an extended family member posted on his Facebook page about how the Black Lives Matter Movement is racist. I knew he would never understand what it is really all about no matter what I said. However, this is my page and I can rise up up to say I understand why the movement is necessary and why we still have a long way to go in this country in regards to the issue of race. I am glad we get a month to reflect on those African Americans who have contributed so much to our country.

I stand as a white woman to celebrate freedom and respect for all. To tell the world that I'm proud that the heroine of my youth was a black woman and that she still is a beacon of strength in my life. I stand for humanity. I celebrate black history month and the books that touch the lives of so many. I have two books for Black History Month I'll be reviewing in the next few weeks so stay tuned.

In the meantime, join me and comment on this post telling me who your black hero or heroine is and how they have made an impact in your life. (Any racist comments will not be published.)


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