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African American Childrens Lit Reviews

BOOK 1
1. Title: Jazzy Miz Mozetta
2. Author: Brenda C. Roberts
3. Illustrator: Frank Morrison
4. ISBN: 0-374-33674-1
5. Description: Jazzy Miz Mozetta wants to go out and
dance with her friends. Her older friends tell her that
their dancing days are over, so Miz Mozetta goes down the
street where her younger neighbors are dancing. However,
they make her doubt her ability to keep up with their
newer moves. Miz Mozetta sadly goes back home and
dreams of her younger dancing days to the jitterbug until
her old friends knock on her door and begin to dance with
her. Soon the young neighbors show up and want to learn
the jitterbug from their older neighbors, but get a taste
of their own medicine when they are denied. In the end, the older dancers invite them back
up to the parlor, and they all learn from each other while dancing the night away happily
together. Miz Mozetta goes to bed content and dreaming of contemporary dance.

Childrens Literature Criteria

Questions: Yes No N/ Evaluator Comments:
A

1 Does the authors biography qualify them X Author is African American and lives in
to deal with the subject matter? Los Angeles, CA. No other information
Background is related to the given.
contents of the book, or they have
qualifications that advocate them
as an expert on the topic.

2 Does the illustrator have a similar X


background to the content or have
qualifications that make them an expert
on the topic they are creating images for?
Do they portray these images respectfully
and accurately for the characters of
historically underrepresented groups?

3 Are the illustrations free of tokenism or X


free from only allowing children to see
one person or one view of a various
culture or group?

4 Are the illustrations free of stereotypes X Ex. The womans closet is only dresses;
(for gender, race, ethnicity, class, sexual she doesnt leave the house until she has
orientation, abilities and disabilities)? done her makeup. A man calls out to her
youre looking jazzy tonight, when she
leaves her house.

Are the illustrations free of stereotypes X


for racial, HUGs?
African Americans, Blacks
Hispanics, Latinx
Native Americans, American
Indians
Asian, Pacific Islander

5 Are females shown in leading roles and X


depicted as active doers derived from
their own intelligence and initiative?

6 Are historically underrepresented groups X


shown in leading roles and depicted as
active doers?

7 Is the book's story line free from subtle X (At one point, the more elderly lady is
biases and stereotypes among people of slightly discriminated for not being able
various identities (Ie: People of color and to dance like the younger dancers. They
females are shown in leading roles. People look her up and down and doubt her based
of color, people with disabilities, and on her looks and age.
females are understood and accepted by Later on, the young dancers are told they
others.) wouldnt be able to do the jitterbug
because of their age.)

8 Does the story line portray teamwork X


between various individuals rather than
one person solving an issue soley?

9 Are messages for various lifestyles that X


differ from the dominant culture,
perceived with genuine and positive
judgements (including a range of family
structures, living environments, types of
work, male and female roles, etc.)?

10 Is the content engaging and relatable for X


all students?

11 Does the literature avoid the use of X


loaded words or terminology which
demeans various identities and
backgrounds? (ie: the general use of the
word, man)

12 Does the literature avoid stereotypical X


pronouns and non inclusive terminology?

13 Are HUGS represented accurately in the X


story line with positive value judgements?

14 Does the book contain a copyright date X


after the year of 1973? If not, does it
meet expectations of all other criteria
listed?

15 If the literature is classic or folktale, X Important to note that this perspective


does it hold this particular historical or towards specific groups at this point in
cultural point of view according to the time is a changing attitude
time period?


Book 2
1. Title: Night Boat to Freedom
2. Author: Margot Theis Raven
3. Illustrator: E. B. Lewis
4. ISBN: 978-0-374-31266-4
5. Description: Night Boat to Freedom was written based on
compiled ex-slave interviews from the Slave Narrative
Collection collected in the 1930s. In the story, Granny Judith
assures her grandson, Christmas John, that he can help slaves
cross the river from Kentucky to the free state of Ohio.
Meanwhile, Granny Judith is creating a freedom quilt to
resemble selflessness, courage, and love to overpower the
chains of slavery. The quilt is finished when Granny and John
reach freedom themselves after Christmas John spends a year
completing dangerous journeys to free other slaves before finally freeing himself.

Childrens Literature Criteria

Questions: Yes No N/A Evaluator Comments:

1 Does the authors biography qualify them X


to deal with the subject matter?
Background is related to the
contents of the book, or they have
qualifications that advocate them
as an expert on the topic.

2 Does the illustrator have a similar X


background to the content or have
qualifications that make them an expert
on the topic they are creating images for?
Do they portray these images respectfully
and accurately for the characters of
historically underrepresented groups?

3 Are the illustrations free of tokenism or X


free from only allowing children to see
one person or one view of a various
culture or group?

4 Are the illustrations free of stereotypes X


(for gender, race, ethnicity, class, sexual
orientation, abilities and disabilities)?

Are the illustrations free of stereotypes X


for racial, HUGs?
African Americans, Blacks
Hispanics, Latinx
Native Americans, American
Indians
Asian, Pacific Islander

5 Are females shown in leading roles and X


depicted as active doers derived from
their own intelligence and initiative?

6 Are historically underrepresented groups X


shown in leading roles and depicted as
active doers?

7 Is the book's story line free from subtle X However, the grandmother is depicted as
biases and stereotypes among people of traditional female maid in slavery; the
various identities (Ie: People of color and boy is the hero (all based on true stories
females are shown in leading roles. People for this time period)
of color, people with disabilities, and
females are understood and accepted by
others.)

8 Does the story line portray teamwork X The grandmother and boy work together
between various individuals rather than to solve the issues and get people across
one person solving an issue soley? the river to freedom.

9 Are messages for various lifestyles that X However, the grandmother is depicted as
differ from the dominant culture, traditional female maid in slavery; the
perceived with genuine and positive boy is the hero (all based on true stories
judgements (including a range of family for this time period)
structures, living environments, types of
work, male and female roles, etc.)?

10 Is the content engaging and relatable for X


all students?

11 Does the literature avoid the use of X


loaded words or terminology which
demeans various identities and
backgrounds? (ie: the general use of the
word, man)

12 Does the literature avoid stereotypical X


pronouns and non inclusive terminology?

13 Are HUGS represented accurately in the X African Americans are represented


story line with positive value judgements? accurately during a time of slavery in the
1860s.

14 Does the book contain a copyright date X


after the year of 1973? If not, does it
meet expectations of all other criteria
listed?

15 If the literature is classic or folktale, X Important to note that this perspective


does it hold this particular historical or towards specific groups at this point in
cultural point of view according to the time is a changing attitude
time period?


Book 3
1. Title: Henrys Freedom Box
2. Author: Ellen Levine
3. Illustrator: Kadir Nelson
4. ISBN: 978-0-439-77733-9
5. Description: Henrys Freedom Box is based on a true story of
Henry Box Brown who is one of the most well-known runaway
slaves on the Underground Railroad in the mid 1800s. The
story starts out showing Henry as a young boy as a slave, who
gets sold to his masters son, and grows up without his family.
He then meets his wife and has a family, who later gets
separated from him because they had different masters.
Despite theses numerous struggles that Henry undergoes, he
comes up with an idea to mail himself to freedom. He seeks
out both a Black and White friend, who help him send himself
through a crate on a ship to a Philadelphia, where he is finally
welcomed by four men of various backgrounds upon arrival.

Childrens Literature Criteria

Questions: Yes No N/A Evaluator Comments:

1 Does the authors biography qualify them X


to deal with the subject matter?
Background is related to the
contents of the book, or they have
qualifications that advocate them
as an expert on the topic.

2 Does the illustrator have a similar X


background to the content or have
qualifications that make them an expert
on the topic they are creating images for?
Do they portray these images respectfully
and accurately for the characters of
historically underrepresented groups?

3 Are the illustrations free of tokenism or X


free from only allowing children to see
one person or one view of a various
culture or group?

4 Are the illustrations free of stereotypes X


(for gender, race, ethnicity, class, sexual
orientation, abilities and disabilities)?

Are the illustrations free of stereotypes X


for racial, HUGs?
African Americans, Blacks
Hispanics, Latinx
Native Americans, American
Indians
Asian, Pacific Islander

5 Are females shown in leading roles and X


depicted as active doers derived from
their own intelligence and initiative?

6 Are historically underrepresented groups X


shown in leading roles and depicted as
active doers?

7 Is the book's story line free from subtle X


biases and stereotypes among people of
various identities (Ie: People of color and
females are shown in leading roles. People
of color, people with disabilities, and
females are understood and accepted by
others.)

8 Does the story line portray teamwork X


between various individuals rather than
one person solving an issue soley?

9 Are messages for various lifestyles that X For this time period that is being
differ from the dominant culture, depicted, yes.
perceived with genuine and positive
judgements (including a range of family
structures, living environments, types of
work, male and female roles, etc.)?

10 Is the content engaging and relatable for X


all students?
11 Does the literature avoid the use of X
loaded words or terminology which
demeans various identities and
backgrounds? (ie: the general use of the
word, man)

12 Does the literature avoid stereotypical X


pronouns and non inclusive terminology?

13 Are HUGS represented accurately in the X This story is written during a time of
story line with positive value judgements? slavery, but presents both black and
white people positively.

14 Does the book contain a copyright date X Original version of the true story
after the year of 1973? If not, does it published in 1872.
meet expectations of all other criteria
listed?

15 If the literature is classic or folktale, X Important to note that this perspective


does it hold this particular historical or towards specific groups at this point in
cultural point of view according to the time is a changing attitude
time period?


Book 4
1. Title: Uncle Jeds Barbershop
2. Author: Margaree King Mitchell
3. Illustrator: James Ransome
4. ISBN: 0-671-76969-3
5. Description: Uncle Jeds Barbershop shows how life was for one
African American family living in the 1920s when segregation was
taking place in America. A little girl, Sarah Jean, looks up to her
Uncle Jed for his hard work and determination as a barber, whose
dream was to open his very own shop one day. However, Uncle Jed
has multiple setbacks, causing him to be short on money. With his
hard work ethic and dream to fulfill, he finally opens his own
barbershop at the age of 79 years old. The young girls great
admiration for her determined uncle, taught her to dream as big as
she desired.

Childrens Literature Criteria

Questions: Yes No N/ Evaluator Comments:
A

1 Does the authors biography qualify them X


to deal with the subject matter?
Background is related to the
contents of the book, or they have
qualifications that advocate them
as an expert on the topic.

2 Does the illustrator have a similar X


background to the content or have
qualifications that make them an expert
on the topic they are creating images for?
Do they portray these images respectfully
and accurately for the characters of
historically underrepresented groups?

3 Are the illustrations free of tokenism or X Shows the view of this group during the
free from only allowing children to see specific time period of segregation and
one person or one view of a various the Great Depression.
culture or group?

4 Are the illustrations free of stereotypes X


(for gender, race, ethnicity, class, sexual
orientation, abilities and disabilities)?

Are the illustrations free of stereotypes X


for racial, HUGs?
African Americans, Blacks
Hispanics, Latinx
Native Americans, American
Indians
Asian, Pacific Islander

5 Are females shown in leading roles and X


depicted as active doers derived from
their own intelligence and initiative?

6 Are historically underrepresented groups X


shown in leading roles and depicted as
active doers?

7 Is the book's story line free from subtle X


biases and stereotypes among people of
various identities (Ie: People of color and
females are shown in leading roles. People
of color, people with disabilities, and
females are understood and accepted by
others.)

8 Does the story line portray teamwork X


between various individuals rather than
one person solving an issue soley?

9 Are messages for various lifestyles that X The familys lifestyle is on a farm in the
differ from the dominant culture, South, and they are depicted as being
perceived with genuine and positive poor. This was the reality of the time
judgements (including a range of family period in the 1920s.
structures, living environments, types of
work, male and female roles, etc.)?

10 Is the content engaging and relatable for X


all students?

11 Does the literature avoid the use of X


loaded words or terminology which
demeans various identities and
backgrounds? (ie: the general use of the
word, man)

12 Does the literature avoid stereotypical X


pronouns and non inclusive terminology?

13 Are HUGS represented accurately in the X


story line with positive value judgements?

14 Does the book contain a copyright date X


after the year of 1973? If not, does it
meet expectations of all other criteria
listed?

15 If the literature is classic or folktale, X Important to note that this perspective


does it hold this particular historical or towards specific groups at this point in
cultural point of view according to the time is a changing attitude
time period?


Book 5
1. Title: Amazing Grace
2. Author: Mary Hoffman
3. Illustrator: Caroline Binch
4. ISBN: 0-8037-1040-2
5. Description: Grace is a young African American girl who loves to
read stories. She spends much of her time acting them out and
being the star character. Grace is determined to act as Peter Pan
for her class, but gets discouraged when a few classmates tell her
she cannot. However, her mother and her grandmother help Grace
gain inspiration to be anything she desires to be. In the end, her
class realized that she is the best person for Peter Pans role, and
Grace plays the part in the very successful play.

Childrens Literature Criteria

Questions: Yes No N/A Evaluator Comments:

1 Does the authors biography qualify them X


to deal with the subject matter?
Background is related to the
contents of the book, or they have
qualifications that advocate them
as an expert on the topic.

2 Does the illustrator have a similar X


background to the content or have
qualifications that make them an expert
on the topic they are creating images for?
Do they portray these images respectfully
and accurately for the characters of
historically underrepresented groups?

3 Are the illustrations free of tokenism or X Grace dresses up as different characters,


free from only allowing children to see but one being a Native American.
one person or one view of a various
culture or group?

4 Are the illustrations free of stereotypes X


(for gender, race, ethnicity, class, sexual
orientation, abilities and disabilities)?

Are the illustrations free of stereotypes X Keeping in mind that she does dress up as
for racial, HUGs? Hiawatha, who she has read about in a
African Americans, Blacks story.
Hispanics, Latinx
Native Americans, American
Indians
Asian, Pacific Islander

5 Are females shown in leading roles and X


depicted as active doers derived from
their own intelligence and initiative?

6 Are historically underrepresented groups X


shown in leading roles and depicted as
active doers?

7 Is the book's story line free from subtle X


biases and stereotypes among people of
various identities (Ie: People of color and
females are shown in leading roles. People
of color, people with disabilities, and
females are understood and accepted by
others.)

8 Does the story line portray teamwork X


between various individuals rather than
one person solving an issue soley?

9 Are messages for various lifestyles that X


differ from the dominant culture,
perceived with genuine and positive
judgements (including a range of family
structures, living environments, types of
work, male and female roles, etc.)?

10 Is the content engaging and relatable for X


all students?

11 Does the literature avoid the use of X


loaded words or terminology which
demeans various identities and
backgrounds? (ie: the general use of the
word, man)

12 Does the literature avoid stereotypical X


pronouns and non inclusive terminology?

13 Are HUGS represented accurately in the X


story line with positive value judgements?

14 Does the book contain a copyright date X


after the year of 1973? If not, does it
meet expectations of all other criteria
listed?

15 If the literature is classic or folktale, X Important to note that this perspective


does it hold this particular historical or towards specific groups at this point in
cultural point of view according to the time is a changing attitude
time period?


Book 1:
Title: My Best Friend
Author: Mary Ann Rodman
Illustrator: E.B. Lewis
ISBN: 978-0-14-240806-3
Description: Lily is playing at the pool wants Tamika to be her
new best friend. Tamika already has a best friend, so Tamika
will not be friends with Lily. Throughout book, Lily
continuously tries to impress Tamika so Tamika will be her
best friend. At the end of the story, Lily ends up impressing a
different child at the pool, who then becomes Lilys new best
friend.

Question Yes No N/A


1 Is the author qualified to write about the X
subject they are writing about?
background is related to the contents of the
book, or they have qualifications that
advocate them as an expert on the topic.

2 Are the illustrations free of stereotypes? X


Race
Sex
gender
ethnicity
3 Do the illustrations avoid tokenism? X
Do all the characters look alike?
Sizes, shapes, colors, heights
4 Do the characters reflect ethnic backgrounds and X
features?
African American
Asian Pacific American
Latinx/Hispanic
Native American
White American
5 Does the literature avoid stereotypical pronouns X
and non inclusive terminology? ?
6 Does the book avoid using loaded words? X
Insulting overtones
7 Is there positive self-image and association with all X
groups in story?
African American
Asian Pacific American
Latinx/Hispanic American
Native American/Indian American
White American
Women
Men
8 Are cultural perspectives present? X
African American
Asian/Pacific Islander
Latinx/Hispanic American
Native American/Indian American
9 Are the characters in the book free from subtle X
stereotypes among people of various identities?
African American
Asian/Pacific Islander
Latinx/Hispanic American
Native American/Indian American
Men
Women

10 Do all races possess power in the story? X


Making decisions
Leadership
African American
Asian/Pacific Islander
Latinx/Hispanic American
Native American/Indian American

11 Does the setting of the story avoid stereotypes? X


12 Is the lifestyle depicted appropriate and accurate? X
Customs, behavior, personality traits
13 Has the book been published within the last 5 to 10 X
years?
14 Does this book appeal to young children? X
Interesting?

Book 2:
Title: Knock Knock
Author: Daniel Beaty
Illustrator: Bryan Collier
ISBN: 9780316209175
Description: A son plays the game knock, knock with his
father every morning, but one morning his father does not
respond. The boy receives a letter from his father which
worries him that he will never to return. The father writes
to his son letting him know he will not be coming home for a
while. The story shows the boys achievement with the
absence of his father.

Question Yes No N/A


1 Is the author qualified to write about the X
subject they are writing about?
background is related to the contents of the
book, or they have qualifications that
advocate them as an expert on the topic.

2 Are the illustrations free of stereotypes? X


Race
Sex
gender
ethnicity
3 Do the illustrations avoid tokenism? X
Do all the characters look alike?
Sizes, shapes, colors, heights
4 Do the characters reflect ethnic backgrounds and X
features?
African American
Asian Pacific American
Latinx/Hispanic
Native American
White American
5 Does the literature avoid stereotypical pronouns X
and non inclusive terminology? ?
6 Does the book avoid using loaded words? X
Insulting overtones
7 Is there positive self-image and association with all X
groups in story?
African American
Asian Pacific American
Latinx/Hispanic American
Native American/Indian American
White American
Women
Men
8 Are cultural perspectives present? X
African American
Asian/Pacific Islander
Latinx/Hispanic American
Native American/Indian American
9 Are the characters in the book free from subtle X
stereotypes among people of various identities?
African American
Asian/Pacific Islander
Latinx/Hispanic American
Native American/Indian American
Men
Women

10 Do all races possess power in the story? X


Making decisions
Leadership
African American
Asian/Pacific Islander
Latinx/Hispanic American
Native American/Indian American

11 Does the setting of the story avoid stereotypes? X


12 Is the lifestyle depicted appropriate and accurate? X
Customs, behavior, personality traits
13 Has the book been published within the last 5 to 10 X
years?
14 Does this book appeal to young children? X
Interesting?

Book 3:
Title: Skin Again
Author: Bell Hooks
Illustrator: Chris Raschka
ISBN: 9780786808250
Description: This story is written in first person. It talks about
new ways to talk about race and identity. It goes beyond skin
color, looking at who we are on the inside. This book focuses
on the importance of getting to know someone before making
judgments or assumptions. It celebrates the freedom of what
makes us who we are.

Question Yes No N/A


1 Is the author qualified to write about the X
subject they are writing about?
background is related to the contents of the
book, or they have qualifications that
advocate them as an expert on the topic.

2 Are the illustrations free of stereotypes? X


Race
Sex
gender
ethnicity
3 Do the illustrations avoid tokenism? X
Do all the characters look alike?
Sizes, shapes, colors, heights
4 Do the characters reflect ethnic backgrounds and X
features?
African American
Asian Pacific American
Latinx/Hispanic
Native American
White American
5 Does the literature avoid stereotypical pronouns X
and non inclusive terminology? ?
6 Does the book avoid using loaded words? X
Insulting overtones
7 Is there positive self-image and association with all X
groups in story?
African American
Asian Pacific American
Latinx/Hispanic American
Native American/Indian American
White American
Women
Men
8 Are cultural perspectives present? X
African American
Asian/Pacific Islander
Latinx/Hispanic American
Native American/Indian American
9 Are the characters in the book free from subtle X
stereotypes among people of various identities?
African American
Asian/Pacific Islander
Latinx/Hispanic American
Native American/Indian American
Men
Women

10 Do all races possess power in the story? X


Making decisions
Leadership
African American
Asian/Pacific Islander
Latinx/Hispanic American
Native American/Indian American

11 Does the setting of the story avoid stereotypes? X


12 Is the lifestyle depicted appropriate and accurate? X
Customs, behavior, personality traits
13 Has the book been published within the last 5 to 10 X
years?
14 Does this book appeal to young children? X
Interesting?

Book 4:
Title: Almost to Freedom
Author: Vaunda Micheaux Nelson
Illustrator: Colin Bootman
ISBN: 978-0439631563
Description: A girl named Lindy takes her doll best friend
Sally everywhere she goes. Sally narrates through the story
about her enslaved familys escape through the
Underground Railroad. One night, Lindys mom wakes her
and they begin their journey of freedom. The family arrives
to a welcoming home where they stay until slave catchers
come near. Throughout the familys journey, Sally is left
behind and a young girl named Willa adopts the new doll she
has found.

Question Yes No N/A


1 Is the author qualified to write about the X
subject they are writing about?
background is related to the contents of the
book, or they have qualifications that
advocate them as an expert on the topic.

2 Are the illustrations free of stereotypes? X


Race
Sex
gender
ethnicity
3 Do the illustrations avoid tokenism? X
Do all the characters look alike?
Sizes, shapes, colors, heights
4 Do the characters reflect ethnic backgrounds and X
features?
African American
Asian Pacific American
Latinx/Hispanic
Native American
White American
5 Does the literature avoid stereotypical pronouns X
and non inclusive terminology? ?
6 Does the book avoid using loaded words? X
Insulting overtones
7 Is there positive self-image and association with all X
groups in story?
African American
Asian Pacific American
Latinx/Hispanic American
Native American/Indian American
White American
Women
Men
8 Are cultural perspectives present? X
African American
Asian/Pacific Islander
Latinx/Hispanic American
Native American/Indian American
9 Are the characters in the book free from subtle X
stereotypes among people of various identities?
African American
Asian/Pacific Islander
Latinx/Hispanic American
Native American/Indian American
Men
Women

10 Do all races possess power in the story? X


Making decisions
Leadership
African American
Asian/Pacific Islander
Latinx/Hispanic American
Native American/Indian American

11 Does the setting of the story avoid stereotypes? X


12 Is the lifestyle depicted appropriate and accurate? X
Customs, behavior, personality traits
13 Has the book been published within the last 5 to 10 X
years?
14 Does this book appeal to young children? X
Interesting?

Book 5:
Title: My Friend Maya Loves to Dance
Author: Cheryl Willis Hudson
Illustrator: Eric Velasquez
ISBN: 978-0810983281
Description: This book is told by a narrator
talking about her friend named Maya who loves
to dance. Maya dances in the mall, the street,
onstage and never stops. This books shows
Maya doing leaps, jumps, and never missing a
beat. She cannot get enough of dance doing
ballet, tap, recitals, challenging practices, and
most important, the final bow.
Question Yes No N/A
1 Is the author qualified to write about the X
subject they are writing about?
background is related to the contents of the
book, or they have qualifications that
advocate them as an expert on the topic.

2 Are the illustrations free of stereotypes? X


Race
Sex
gender
ethnicity
3 Do the illustrations avoid tokenism? X
Do all the characters look alike?
Sizes, shapes, colors, heights
4 Do the characters reflect ethnic backgrounds and X
features?
African American
Asian Pacific American
Latinx/Hispanic
Native American
White American
5 Does the literature avoid stereotypical pronouns X
and non inclusive terminology? ?
6 Does the book avoid using loaded words? X
Insulting overtones
7 Is there positive self-image and association with all X
groups in story?
African American
Asian Pacific American
Latinx/Hispanic American
Native American/Indian American
White American
Women
Men
8 Are cultural perspectives present? X
African American
Asian/Pacific Islander
Latinx/Hispanic American
Native American/Indian American
9 Are the characters in the book free from subtle X
stereotypes among people of various identities?
African American
Asian/Pacific Islander
Latinx/Hispanic American
Native American/Indian American
Men
Women

10 Do all races possess power in the story? X


Making decisions
Leadership
African American
Asian/Pacific Islander
Latinx/Hispanic American
Native American/Indian American

11 Does the setting of the story avoid stereotypes? X


12 Is the lifestyle depicted appropriate and accurate? X
Customs, behavior, personality traits
13 Has the book been published within the last 5 to 10 X
years?
14 Does this book appeal to young children? X
Interesting?