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Research shows that children need to have access to books that reflect their own ethnicities to develop healthy self-esteem, and children also need to have access to books with characters of other ethnicities in order to develop a respect for society's rich diversity. The titles below are excellent examples of books that reflect African and African-American characters in positive, authentic ways. Enjoy enhancing your home and classroom libraries with these titles.

Grades 4 and 5
Author Title Pub. Date
Birtha, Becky Grandmama's Pride 2005
Bridges, Ruby Through My Eyes 1999
Bryan, Ashley Beat the Story Drum, Pum-Pum 1987
Cameron, Ann Julian, Secret Agent 1988
Charbonneau, Eileen Honor to the Hills 1997
Christie, R. Gregory Brothers in Hope: The Story of the Lost Boys of Sudan 2007
Cline-Ransome, Lesa Satchel Paige 2002
Coles, Robert The Story of Ruby Bridges 1995
Curtis, Christopher Paul The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963 2000
Davis, Ossie Escape to Freedom: A Play About Young Frederick Douglass 1990
Dawson, George and Glaubman, Richard Life is So Good 2002
Farmer, Nancy A Girl Named Disaster 1998
Fenner, Carol Yolanda's Genius 1997
Flournoy, Valerie The Best Time of Day
Freedman, Russell The Voice Taht Challenged a Nation: Marian Anderson and the Struggle for Equal Rights 2004
Greenfield, Eloise For the Love of the Game: Michael Jordan and Me 1997
Grimes, Nikki Danitra Brown Leaves Town 2002
Hamilton, Virginia Cousins 1992
Hamilton, Virginia Drylongso 1997
Hamilton, Virginia The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales 1993
Haskins, Jim The Day Martin Luther King Was Shot 1992
Homan, Lynn M. And Reilly, Thomas Tuskegee Airmen Story 2002
Hopkinson, Deborah Under the Quilt of Night
(Sens-o-gram for lesson plan)
Hughes, Langston; Roessel, David, and Rampersad, Arnold, eds. Poetry for Young People: Langston Hughes 2006
Hunter, Bobbi Dooley The Legend of the African Baobab Tree 1995
Keats, Ezra Jack The Snowy Day
Lester, Julius Day of Tears: A Novel in Dialogue 2005
Lyons, Mary E. Letters From a Slave Girl: The Story of Harriet Jacobs 2007
McKissack, Patricia C. Amistad: The Story of a Slave Ship 2005
McKissack, Patricia C. Scraps of Time: Abby Takes a Stand 2006
McKissack, Patricia C. Royal Diagires: Nzingha 2000
McKissack, Patricia C. Hard Labor: The First African-Americans 2004
McKissack, Patricia C. Loved Best
McKissack, Patricia C., et al Black Diamond: The Story of the Negor Baseball Leagues 1998
Medina, Tony Love to Langston 2006
Miller, William and Christie, Gregory Richard Wright and the Library Card
Myers, Walter Dean The Harlem Hellfighters 2005
Myers, Walter Dean The Journal of Buddy Owens
Nelson, Marilyn Carver: A Life in Poems 1997
Parks, Rosa and Haskins, Jim Rosa Parks: My Story 1999
Pinkney, Andrea Davis Ella Fitzgerald: The Tale of a Vocal Virtuoso
Rappaport, Doreen Freedom River 2000
Ringgold, Faith If a Bus Could Talk: The Story of Rosa Parks 2002
Robinet, Harriette Gillem Forty Acres and Maybe a Mule 2000
Robinet, Harriette Gillem Twelve Travelers, Twenty Horses 2005
Schmidt, Gary D. Little Bright and the Buckminster Boy 2006
Schroeder, Alan Satchmo's Blues 1999
Schroeder, Alan Booker T. Washtington 2005
Taylor, Mildred D. The Friendship 1998
Towle, Wendy The Real McCoy: The Life of an African-American Inventor 1995
Turner, G. T. Take a Walk in Their Shoes
Walter, Mildred Pitts Suitcase 2006
Williams, Sherley Working Cotton 1997
Woodson, Jacqueline The Other Side 2001

The list of these suggested titles is being used by the New Jersey Amistad Commission with permission. Click here to visit the Amistad Commission website for 4th and 5th grade titles.

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