Children’s Book Arc Review: The ABC’s of Black History by Rio Cortez

Posted April 25, 2021 by Richetta in #ownvoices, Book Reviews, Children's Books / 0 Comments

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I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Children’s Book Arc Review: The ABC’s of Black History by Rio CortezThe ABCs of Black History by Rio Cortez
Published by Workman Publishing on December 8, 2020
Genres: African American, Alphabet, Biography & Autobiography, Concepts, Cultural Heritage, General, History, Juvenile Nonfiction, People & Places, United States
Pages: 64
Format: ARC, eBook
Source: NetGalley

B is for Beautiful, Brave, and Bright! And for a Book that takes a Bold journey through the alphabet of Black history and culture.   Letter by letter, The ABCs of Black History celebrates a story that spans continents and centuries, triumph and heartbreak, creativity and joy.   It’s a story of big ideas––P is for Power, S is for Science and Soul. Of significant moments––G is for Great Migration. Of iconic figures––H is for Zora Neale Hurston, X is for Malcom X. It’s an ABC book like no other, and a story of hope and love.
In addition to rhyming text, the book includes back matter with information on the events, places, and people mentioned in the poem, from Mae Jemison to W. E. B. Du Bois, Fannie Lou Hamer to Sam Cooke, and the Little Rock Nine to DJ Kool Herc.

Review: 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 through history from one letter to another. 

This amazing alphabet book has 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. The figures mentioned go beyond the super famous and dives into the contributions of those who are not mentioned as often. I got way more than what I expected in a children’s book about Black history. Other bonuses include the vocabulary, rhyming/poetry, and the many research and field trip opportunities. 

I received a digital arc from Workman Publishing Company via NetGalley. This does not effect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

  • Would I Read It Again? Yes, absolutely! I will read this with my own little children and I would recommend this in the classroom.
  • Recommend: Yes! This is a perfect opportunity to use a picture book in a secondary classroom, whether English or Social Studies. 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 both the Explore Page in the beginning of the book and the Terms & Figures section in the back of the book.

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