I am SO excited to share these Black History Picture Book Bingo cards with you! When I came across author Kathy Ellen Davis’s Picture Book Bingo on Instagram, I immediately shared it with my Instagram audience. I then reached out to Kathy and asked if she would create a Black History themed bingo card for me and she kindly said YES!
If you’ve never played book bingo before, it’s pretty easy and straightforward. Just read books to correspond with the categories on the card. I’d recommend it for anyone who:
Likes reading new types of books they wouldn’t normally read
Likes to be challenged
Is a consistent and dedicated enough reader to complete the challenge
Most of all, book bingo is about having FUN – even if you don’t complete the entire bingo card due to that thing called “life” we all live. Really, though, if you enjoy books, I highly recommend giving this a shot at least one time through. You can do it on your own, with your own children/grandchildren, other family members, friends or with your students.
To create these bingo cards, I came up with different categories of books and Kathy was generous enough to hand letter them on her own! I have a huge list of other categories that are not included on these cards so expect to see other versions of these bingo cards on occasion throughout the year.
I think book bingo is a wonderful opportunity for kids (and adults) to have fun while reading, along with adding an extra incentive to complete the BINGO card. Have you played book bingo before?
Your turn: Do you find these Bingo cards to be helpful? Will you participate and try it? Feel free to share in the comments. I’d love to hear your thoughts and perhaps see photos of your completed Bingo cards! If you share about this, use the hashtag #bhpbingo so I’ll see your posts.
This round-up of picture books highlights prominent and a few lesser-known male leaders of African descent. Each male featured has a distinct story and legacy, but they all share some commonalities: poise and confidence that no doubt added to their iconic statuses. I hope you’ll enjoy this list and explore each story to witness their perseverance through oppression and their determination through struggle. These books are great to read during Black History Month or anytime of the year.
Art Tatum, an African American pianist, and one of the greatest jazz pianists of all time, was born in 1909, in Toledo, Ohio. Did you know he was blind in one eye and visually impaired in the other? He was an amazing child prodigy with perfect pitch who learned to play the piano by ear.
Arthur Schomburg was a Puerto Rican historian, writer, and activist in the United States who researched and raised awareness of the great contributions that Afro-Latin Americans and African-Americans have made to society.
Barack Hussein Obama is an American attorney and politician who served as the 44th president of the United States from 2009 to 2017.
Bass Reeves was the first Black deputy U.S. marshal west of the Mississippi River. He worked mostly in Arkansas and the Oklahoma Territory. During his long career, he was credited with arresting more than 3,000 felons. He shot and killed 14 outlaws in self-defense.
Bob Marley was a powerful musician and messenger; a poet and prophet of reggae culture. His music echoed from Jamaica all the way across the globe, spreading his heartfelt message of peace, love, and equality to everyone who heard his songs.
Carter G. Woodson
Carter G. Woodson is known as The “Father” of Black History. He dedicated his life to educating African Americans about the achievements and contributions of their ancestors.
Born in Chicago in 1918, Charles W. White was one of America’s most renowned and recognized African-American & Social Realist artists.
Charles Luther Sifford was a professional golfer who was the first African American to play on the PGA Tour.
Claude Mason Steele
Claude Mason Steele is an American social psychologist. He is best known for his work on stereotype threat and its application to minority student academic performance.
Born in 1955 in Kingston, Jamaica, Clive Campbell is known as “The Father of Hip Hop”.
Cornelius Washington was a veteran French Quarter sanitation worker who became famous following Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Louisiana.
David Drake, also known as Dave the Potter, was an American potter who lived in Edgefield, South Carolina. Dave produced over 100 alkaline-glazed stoneware jugs between the 1820s and the 1860s.
Dizzy Gillespie (John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie)
John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie was an American jazz trumpeter, bandleader, composer, and singer. Some call him one of the greatest jazz trumpeters of all times.
Ernie Barnes was an African-American painter, well known for his unique style of elongation and movement. He was also a professional football player, actor and author. Did you know his popular paintings were featured in the sitcom Good Times?
Famed 19th-century author and orator Frederick Douglass was an eminent human rights leader in the anti-slavery movement and the first African-American citizen to hold a high U.S. government rank.
Meet George Crum, inventor of potato chips!
George Fletcher was the first African American to compete for a world championship in bronco riding at the 1911 Pendleton Roundup.
George Moses Horton
George Moses Horton was an African-American poet from North Carolina, the first to be published in the Southern United States. His book The Hope of Liberty was published in 1829 while he was still enslaved.
A man of many talents, Gordon Parks is most famous for being the first Black director in Hollywood.
Henry “Box” Brown was an enslaved man who shipped himself to freedom in a wooden box.
Horace Pippin was a self-taught African-American painter.
Howard Washington Thurman was a Black author, philosopher, theologian, educator, and civil rights leader.
Jacob Lawrence was one of the most important artists of the 20th century, widely renowned for his modernist depictions of everyday life as well as epic narratives of African American history and historical figures.
Jackie Robinson broke boundaries as the first African American player in Major League Baseball. But long before Jackie changed the world in a Dodger uniform, he did it in an army uniform.
James Madison Hemings
Madison Hemings, born James Madison Hemings, was the son of the mixed-race enslaved Sally Hemings. He was the third of her four children— fathered by her master, President Thomas Jefferson.
James Van Der Zee
James Van Der Zee was an African-American photographer known for his distinctive portraits from the Harlem Renaissance.
Jean-Michel Basquiat and his unique, collage-style paintings rocketed to fame in the 1980s as a cultural phenomenon unlike anything the art world had ever seen.
Jimmy “Wink” Winkfield
Born into an African American sharecropping family in 1880s Kentucky, Jimmy Winkfield grew up loving horses. He later went on to become the last Black jockey to win the Kentucky Derby.
John William Coltrane was an American jazz saxophonist and composer.
John Roy Lynch
John Roy Lynch was the first African American Speaker of the House in Mississippi. He was also one of the first African American members of the U.S House of Representatives during Reconstruction, the period in United States history after the Civil War.
James Langston Hughes was an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist from Joplin, Missouri.
Meet the inventor of the Super Soaker Water Gun!
Malcolm X was an American Muslim minister and human rights activist.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was an American Baptist minister and activist during the Civil Rights Movement.
Regarded by most as the NBA’s greatest all-time player, Michael Jordan won six titles with the Chicago Bulls.
Muhammad Ali was an American professional boxer, activist, and philanthropist. Nicknamed “The Greatest”, he is widely regarded as one of the most significant and celebrated sports figures of the 20th century and one of the greatest boxers of all time.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Neil deGrasse Tyson, is an American astrophysicist whose work has inspired a generation of young scientists and astronomers to reach for the stars!
Born on July 18, 1918 Nelson Mandela is best known for promoting messages of forgiveness, peace and equality.
Paul Laurence Dunbar
Born on June 27, 1872, Paul Laurence Dunbar was one of the first African American poets to gain national recognition.
Paul Leroy Robeson was an American bass baritone concert artist and stage and film actor who became famous both for his cultural accomplishments and for his political activism.
Ray Charles Robinson, known professionally as Ray Charles, was an American singer, songwriter, musician, and composer.
Pioneering African-American writer Richard Wright is best known for the classic texts Black Boy and Native Son.
Romare Bearden was a visual artist who utilized painting, cartoons, and collage to depict African-American life.
Thurgood Marshall was an American lawyer, serving as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from October 1967 until October 1991. He was the Court’s 96th justice and its first African-American justice.
Overcoming racism and resistance from his colleagues, Vivien ushered in a new era of medicine—children’s heart surgery. This book is the compelling story of this incredible pioneer in medicine.
Wendell O. Scott
Wendell Oliver Scott was the first African American race car driver to win a race in what would now be considered part of the Sprint Cup Series.
William “Doc” Key
William “Doc” Key, a formerly enslaved man and self-taught veterinarian believed in treating animals with kindness, patience, and his own homemade remedies.
William “Bill” Lewis
William “Bill” Lewis was an enslaved man who earned enough money being a blacksmith and set a daring plan in motion: to free his family.
William J. Powell
William J. Powell was an American businessman, entrepreneur, and pioneering golf course owner who designed the Clearview Golf Club, the first integrated golf course, as well as the first to cater to African-American golfers.
Your turn: Did you learn about someone or something new after reading this post? What other books would you add to this list? Feel free to share in the comments.
In 1959 the Boston Red Sox was the last team in the Major Leagues to integrate. But when they call Elijah “Pumpsie” Green up from the minors, Bernard is overjoyed to see a black player on his beloved home team. And, when Pumpsie’s first home game is scheduled, Bernard and his family head to Fenway Park. Bernard is proud of Pumpsie and hopeful that this historic event is the start of great change in America.
This fictionalized account captures the true story of baseball player Pumpsie Green’s rise to the major leagues. The story is a snapshot of the Civil Rights Movement and a great discussion starter about the state of race relations in the United States today.
Waiting for Pumpsie is based on a fictional character named Bernard and his family, but based on true events from Pumpsie Green’s life.
All Pumpsie Green wanted to do was play baseball. He didn’t aspire to play for the major leagues initially, but he eventually went on to become the first Black baseball player to integrate the Boston Red Sox. Although Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball in 1947, it took the Red Sox another twelve years to integrate their team. They were the last team in Major League Baseball to have a Black player.
This is an inspiring and feel good story about equality and change. Pumpsie Green is currently still alive today and is sometimes invited back to Fenway Park to throw out a ceremonial first pitch at Red Sox games.
Click here to see a list of the first Black players for each Major League Baseball team.
About the Author
Barry has been a bartender, taxi driver, song writer, substitute teacher and writer for the Major League Baseball. He grew up as a Mets fan and was eight years old when he first heard the name Pumpsie Green. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and son. Visit his website: onedogwoof.com.
About the Illustrator London Ladd currently lives in Syracuse, New York. He’s a graduate of Syracuse University with a BFA in Illustration. He has illustrated numerous critically acclaimed children’s books including March On! The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World (Scholastic), written by Christine King Farris, the older sister of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.; Frederick’s Journey: The Life of Frederick Douglass (Disney/Jump at the Sun), written by Doreen Rappaport, and Midnight Teacher: Lilly Ann Granderson and her Secret School (Lee & Low Books), written by Janet Halfmann. His goal is to open an art center in Syracuse so that young people and families can create their own art. Visit his website: londonladd.com.
The Giveaway! One (1) winner will receive a copy of Waiting for Pumpsie courtesy of Charlesbridge Publishing. Open to all US based residents age 18 and over. Good Luck!
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 a little older, she joins together with her family and her community in a protest march, where they lift their hands up together in resistance and strength.
Hands Up! by Breanna J. McDaniel, illustrated by Shane W. Evans
If you look up the phrase “hands up” in many dictionaries, you’ll likely see a negative definition written.
▪️an order given by a person pointing a gun. Source: Collins dictionary
▪️to admit that something bad is true or that you have made a mistake. Source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary
▪️to deliver (an indictment) to a judge or higher judicial authority. Source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary (By the way, do you know the history behind raising your right hand to testify in court? Look it up, I found it quite interesting.)
This book shows a little Black girl named Viv putting her hands up in various everyday situations like: greeting the sun, playing peek-a-boo, raising hands in defense during a basketball game, raising hands in class, picking fruit off trees, and raising hands during praise and worship at church. In the end, readers see Viv a little older raising her hands in resistance and strength with a group of friends at a community protest march.
With sparse text and lively illustrations, Hands Up! cleverly shows readers lifting your hands doesn’t always imply negativity. It gently encourages children to feel happy and confident to raise their hands. It also supports reticent kids in speaking up or standing up for what’s right.
It was interesting and refreshing to be reminded of all the times we raise our hands throughout the day from stretching in the morning when we wake to reaching for something high on a shelf like a library book. My personal favorite page is little Viv raising her hands in church demonstrating joy and praise to God through worship. Viv sets her power aside and praises God by physically and publicly demonstrating to Him that she needs Him which empowers her.
The back matter has notes from the author and illustrator which explain why this book was written.
I worry that this world casts Black kids as victims, villains, or simply adults before they’re grown up. – Breanna J. McDaniel
This brilliant reminder from Breanna helped guide me back to lifting my hands in joy. – Shane W. Evans
Hands Up! is available now online and where books are sold. Ages 4-8 and up.
Your turn: Have you read this book yet? Feel free to share in the comments.
Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of this book from the author to share my review as part of Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2019. As always, all opinions expressed are my own. Thank you to the Multicultural Children’s Book Day Team for selecting me as a reviewer and a co-host!
Sarah E.Goode was one of the first African-American women to get a U.S. patent. Working in her husband’s furniture store, she recognized a need for a multi-use bed and through hard work, ingenuity, and determination, invented her unique cupboard bed. She built more than a piece of furniture. She built a life far away from slavery, a life where her sweet dreams could come true.
Reflection Prior to reading Sweet Dreams, Sarah: From Slavery to Inventor I had never heard of Sarah E. Good before. I can honestly say I was blown away to learn about this woman. Why didn’t I learn about her and countless other inventors in school when I was growing up? It just goes to show there are a myriad of inventions created by Black people that are still unbeknownst to many. I’m so glad author Vivian Kirkfield decided to write this book and understands the importance to highlight contributions of African-Americans as inspiration for our present and our future.
Born into slavery, inventor and entrepreneur Sarah E.Goode was the first African-American woman to be granted a patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, for her invention of a folding cabinet bed on July 14, 1885. When Sarah moved to Chicago later in life, that’s where she met her husband, Archibald Goode. Her husband worked as a stair case builder and an upholsterer, and Sarah was the owner of a furniture store.
Most of Sarah’s customers lived in very small houses or apartments with cramped spaces. As a result, they couldn’t buy a lot of furniture since they complained that their homes couldn’t accommodate too many items. This is what drove Sarah Goode to invent the folding cabinet bed. She put on her thinking cap and went to work putting her masterful carpentry skills into full action. The bed that Sarah invented doubled as both a desk and a bed. Most importantly, it was compact which was exactly what her customers needed.
I truly enjoyed reading about Sarah Goode’s story! Not only was the story well written accompanied by vivid and lively illustrations, it was also engaging and highly inspiring too. I loved Sarah’s drive and determination to press on in spite of the obstacles she faced and rejection letters she received. I can only imagine how proud she must have felt to be the first Black woman to receive a U.S. patent for something that she created. Glory! Her idea filled a void in the lives of many, it was practical and many people appreciated it. Kudos to Sarah for opening up the doorway for many women to come after her and obtain their own patents!
The back matter of this book contains an author’s note, additional information about what a patent is, a timeline of Sarah Goode’s life and a handy timeline of Black women patent holders.
Aspiring entrepreneurs, inventors and lovers of history are likely to be just as inspired by Sarah’s story as I was. I’m thrilled to be able to share this story with my children and so many others in honor of Multicultural Children’s Book Day. Look for Sweet Dreams, Sarah: From Slavery to Inventor when it publishes in May 2019.
Your turn: Have you ever heard of Sarah E. Goode prior to reading this review? If you’re curious about other items invented by Black inventors, you might enjoy reading this blog post.
Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2019 (1/25/19) is in its 6th year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators.
MCBD 2019 is honored to have the following Medallion Sponsors on board!
We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.
TWITTER PARTY Sponsored by Make A Way Media: MCBD’s super-popular (and crazy-fun) annual Twitter Party will be held 1/25/19 at 9:00pm.E.S.T. TONS of prizes and book bundles will be given away during the party. GO HERE for more details.
We have all heard of Alexander Graham Bell, Charles Goodyear, Thomas Edison and other famous American inventors. Right? But you may not know that throughout American history, hundreds of Black inventors have also made significant contributions to almost every facet of life through their creations. Many of the inventions we still use today!
While researching different inventions for this blog post, I was shocked to discover some of the many incredible things that African Americans have invented, including the ice cream scoop, the ironing board, the lawn mower, and the mailbox! Who knew?
That’s right, for more than three centuries, Black inventors have been coming up with ingenious ideas that have changed the world for the better. I hope this blog post helps brings their stories to life and shines a light on these courageous inventors and discoverers.
Black shampoos and other hair care products (including the Straightening Comb)
Did you know Benjamin Banneker a mathematician, and astronomer, taught himself mathematics through textbooks he borrowed? As an adult, Benjamin used mathematics and astronomy to predict the weather and write his own almanac, which was used by farmers. He also invented America’s first clock made of wood in 1753.
On May 9, 1899, John Albert Burr patented an improved rotary blade lawn mower. Burr designed a lawn mower with traction wheels and a rotary blade that was designed to not easily get plugged up from lawn clippings. John Albert Burr also improved the design of lawn mowers by making it possible to mow closer to building and wall edges.
Helped to Popularize Peanut Butter
(also developed hundreds of products using the peanut, sweet potatoes and soybeans. ) Inventor: George Washington Carver Picture Book Recommendation:Who Was George Washington Carver? (Ages 8 – 12)
George Washington Carver was an American agricultural chemist, agronomist and botanist who developed various products from peanuts, sweet potatoes and soy-beans that radically changed the agricultural economy of the United States. George Washington Carver did not invent peanut butter, but he made it more popular. The Aztec were known to have made peanut butter from ground peanuts as early as the 15th century. Canadian pharmacist Marcellus Gilmore Edson was awarded U.S. Patent 306,727 (for its manufacture) in 1884, 12 years before Carver began his work at Tuskegee.
The son of an African-American father and a Native American mother, George Crum was working as the chef in the summer of 1853 when he incidentally invented the chip. It all began when a patron who ordered a plate of French-fried potatoes sent them back to Crum’s kitchen because he felt they were too thick and soft.
Pull Out Bed/Convertible Bed/Folding Cabinet Bed
Inventor: Sarah E. Goode Picture Book Recommendation: Sweet Dreams, Sarah: From Slavery to Inventor (Ages 5 – 9) Born into slavery in 1850, inventor and entrepreneur Sarah E. Goode was the first African-American woman to be granted a patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, for her invention of a folding cabinet bed in 1885. She died in 1905.
Super Soaker Water Gun
Inventor: Lonnie G. Johnson Picture Book Recommendation:Whoosh: Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions (Ages 7-10)
Lonnie Johnson is an American inventor and engineer who holds more than 120 patents. He is the inventor of the Super Soaker water gun, which has been among the world’s bestselling toys every year since its release in 1982.
Gas Mask, Traffic Light
Inventor: Garrett A. Morgan Picture Book Recommendation:To the Rescue! Garret Morgan Underground (Ages 5-8)
Garrett Morgan was an inventor and businessman from Cleveland who is best known for inventing a device called the Morgan safety hood which is now called a gas mask. He also invented the 3 light traffic signal which is still used today. After receiving a patent in 1923, the rights to the invention were eventually purchased by General Electric.
Your turn: Check out this list of other items invented by Black inventors. Which ones did you know about and which ones are you surprised to learn? What Black inventors/inventions would you add to this list? Feel free to share in the comments.
3-DVG Glasses – Kenneth J. Dunkley Farmer’s Almanac – Benjamin Banneker Automatic Elevator Doors – Alexander Miles Blood Bank – Dr. Charles Richard Drew Clothes Dryer – George T. Sampson CompuRest Keyboard Stand – Joanna Hardin (1993) Disposable Underwear – Tanya Allen (1994) Door Knob & Door Stop – Osbourn Dorsey (1878) Dry Cleaning Process – Thomas L. Jennings (He was also the first Black person to hold a U.S. patent) Dust Pan (improved version) – Lloyd P. Ray Egg Beater – Willis Johnson (1884) Fitted Bedsheets – Bertha Berman (1959) Folding Chair – John Purdy Gas Heating Furnace – Alice Parker Golf Tee – Dr. George Grant Guitar (modern) – Robert Fleming Hairbrush – Lyda A. Newman Home Security System – Marie Van Brittan Brown IBM Computer – Mark E. Dean (He was a co-creator) Ice Cream Scoop – Alfred L. Cralle (1897) Ironing Board – Sarah Boone Lawn Sprinkler – Joseph A. Smith Light Bulb (Improved version) – Lewis Latimer Mail Box – Phillip A. Downing (1891) “Monkey” Wrench – Jack Johnson (1922) (Nicknamed a “monkey” wrench because it was invented by a Black man) Mop – Thomas W. Stewart (1893) Pacemaker(improved version) – Otis Boykin Pastry Fork – Anna M. Mangin (1892) Portable Pencil Sharpener – John Lee Love Rain Hat – Maxine Snowden (1983) Refrigerating Apparatus – Thomas Elkins Reversible Baby Stroller – William H. Richardson Sanitary Belt – Mary Beatrice Davidson Kenner Street Sweeper – Charles B. Brooks Suitcase with wheels and transporting hook – Debrilla Ratchford (1978) Thermostat and Temperature Control – Frederick Jones Toaster (with a digital timer)– Ruane Jeter Touch Tone Telephone(improved) – Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson (Dr. Jackson conducted breakthrough basic scientific research that enabled others to invent the portable fax, touch tone telephone, solar cells, fiber optic cables, and the technology behind caller ID and call waiting.) Toilet Tissue Holder(improved version) – Mary Beatrice Davidson Kenner Video Game Console/Cartridge – Gerald “Jerry” Lawson Windshield Wipers – Mary Anderson (1903)
Gittel and her mother were supposed to immigrate to America together, but when her mother is stopped by the health inspector, Gittel must make the journey alone. Her mother writes her cousin’s address in New York on a piece of paper. However, when Gittel arrives at Ellis Island, she discovers the ink has run and the address is illegible! How will she find her family? Both a heart-wrenching and heartwarming story, Gittel’s Journey offers a fresh perspective on the immigration journey to Ellis Island. The book includes an author’s note explaining how Gittel’s story is based on the journey to America taken by Lesléa Newman’s grandmother and family friend.
Disclaimer: I was gifted a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. As always, the opinions expressed her are my own are are not influenced by receiving this book for free.
How far would you travel to find a better life for yourself and your family? What if the journey took weeks or maybe even months under difficult conditions? If you answered “Whatever it takes,” you echo the feelings of an estimated three million Eastern European Jewish immigrants who came to America between 1880 and 1924.
Ellis Island afforded them the opportunity to attain the American dream for themselves and their descendants. Today, Ellis Island is an immigration museum with many exhibits containing photographs, artifacts, oral histories, and other displays. To this day, thousands of people immigrate to America each year in search of a better life and a safe place to call home.
Based on a true story, Gittel’s Journey takes readers on a journey from “Old Country” (it’s unclear which country “Old Country” is, maybe Russia or Poland) to Ellis Island in New York. Young 9 year-old Gittel and her mother are preparing to immigrate to America. When they arrive at the port to be inspected for approval in order to get on the ship, Gittel’s mother is denied entry by the health inspector due to having some redness in her eye. Gittel is terrified, but her mother tells her to be brave and go to America on her own.
Gittel’s mom assured her she’ll be safe and gives her a folded piece of paper, her ticket and some candlesticks. She tells her the piece of paper has her cousin’s name and address on it. Gittel is told to hand the piece of paper to an immigration officer once she gets to America.
Two weeks later, Gittel arrives safely and is greeted by the Statue of Liberty at Ellis Island. When she pulls out the piece of paper the address information is gone and there is only a “fat blue smear”. How will Gittel find her mother’s cousin now? You’ll have to read it to find out how the story ends.
A beautifully written and illustrated story with themes of: hope, emotion, determination, family, immigration and bravery. Ages 5-8 and up. Publishes February 5, 2019.