The Blues Singers: Ten Who Rocked the World (Black History Month Reads)

This year for Black History Month, introduce your little reader to some classic blues singers with The Blues Singers: Ten Who Rocked the World. Written by Julius Lester and illustrated by Lisa Cohen, this book provides biographies on some of the most soulful singers the world has ever enjoyed. Aretha Franklin. James Brown. Billie Holiday. Little Richard. These are just a few of the artists featured in The Blues Singers. The biographies are written in a way that young readers can understand and find intriguing. They’ll learn how, with records like “Tutti Frutti,” Little Richard helped to integrate white radio stations. With her passing still relatively fresh, you can teach your reader how Aretha Franklin grew up in a household filled with music. In her house, it was common to hear a radio, record player, and piano blaring from different rooms.

All of the artists featured overcame various obstacles to enjoy success in the music industry.  They worked hard and stayed true to their artistic vision. This book is perfect for any child who loves music and/or history. Bonus features? The portraits of each artist are so vivid that you can practically hear the notes floating off the pages. Also, there is a recommended listening list at the end to help you take the lesson to the next level.

For readers: 6-8 years old ; 1-3 grade

In the comments below, tell me– who is your favorite soul singer?

Boycott Blues: How Rosa Parks Inspired a Nation (Book Review)


Title: Boycott Blues: How Rosa Parks Inspired a Nation

Author: Andrea Davis Pinkney

Illustrator: Brian Pinkney

Age Range: 4-8 years


The story of Rosa Parks and her contributions to the Montgomery Bus Boycott is a lesson typically taught in schools. While the facts are unchanging, Boycott Blues finds a unique perspective from which to tell the tale.  Jim Crow is described as a living being with bony wings that flies in to overwhelm everyone with his darkness.  Jim Crow goes peck, peck, peck when he wants to make his presence known.  Throughout the trying, year-long boycott of the bus system, the citizens never gave into the blues that threatened to hold them down.  Instead, they continued to walk, bike, and carpool to their destinations. They ignored the darkness of Jim Crow and focused on the light that equal rights would bring to their lives.


The poetic language of Boycott Blues is certain to capture your young readers.  The illustrations, with its deliberate brushstrokes and intense use of color, can almost covey the story without words. Overall, it’s a fresh take on a topic that is frequently covered during Black History Month. Be sure to add it to your list!