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Reference Offline
Basic Reference Resources Every Library Should Have
More recommendations are found in each Subject Area.

1. Books ||| CD-ROM

2. CDs & Audiobooks & DVD: Music & Spoken Word

3. Collection Development: Web Sites and Books

4. Support to Young Adult Librarians

5. Databases (Subscription)


Books & CD-ROM

Footsteps: African American Heritage Grades 4 and up "Each issue explores a new topic from Blacks and the Military to the Harlem Renaissance. Designed for kids ages 9 to above (grades 4 and up), it is vibrant with interviews, primary sources, first-person accounts, and more." 5 issues/12 months (From the publishers of Cobblestone, the award-winning American history magazine.)

Black History in the Pages of Children's Literature. Rose Casement. Scarecrow Press, 2007. Available at

Author Rose Casement provides a complete historical timeframe from pre-colonization to the present, with chapters specifically covering the colonization of North America, the years of slavery, the Civil War and Reconstruction, the role African Americans played in westward expansion, the Jim Crow years, and contemporary stories that depict the present. Accompanying each chapter's bibliography are notations as to the recommended grade levels for the books presented. A glossary of terms and an index are also provided for clarification and easy access to specific areas of study. Teachers, parents, librarians, and administrators who want to gain a greater understanding of Black history will find this book to be a good resource.

Dance, Daryl Cumber. From My People: 400 Years of African American Folklore. New York NY: Norton, 2003. (High School) Order at

For most people, the term "folklore" probably conjures the image of songs and stories, but as Daryl Cumber Dance illustrates, it's much more than that. It's about quilts and the history they embody. It's about hair styles, dress, food, traditions of marching bands, sermons, speeches...even internet rumors and graffiti. As one chapter is headed, it's about "The Style of Soul." Start at any topic that piques your interest, and I promise, you'll find it impossible to put this book down. There are surprises around every corner...for example, I was delighted to find a low fat recipe for greens! This vast, rich book belongs in every high school library.

Cosby, Camille O. and Renee Poussaint. A Wealth of Wisdom: Legendary African American Elders Speak. New York, NY: Atria Books 2004. (Middle - High School.) Read more about it or order at

The interviews and photographs are intimate and illuminating, and I think young adults in particular will be inspired, though middle- aged ones like myself can take heart in how much these folks are STILL achieving well after 70. While I enjoyed getting to know some of the famous people in a new way, I was especially impressed by stories of 'unfamous' elders like the educators Jayme Coleman Williams and McDonald Williams, people who have had tremendous, sustained impact in their communities. The best part is, you can access even more of the work of the National Visionary Leadership Project at their web site,

Bolden, Tonya. Tell All the Children Our Story: Memories and mementos of Being Young and Black in America. New York: Harry Abrams, 2001. (Reading level grades 4-8.) Read more at

Imagine a scrapbook compiled collectively and intimately by African Americans from the first recorded birth of a black child in Jamestown, through the Revolution, Civil War, Reconstruction and right up to our own time, amply illustrated with compelling images, literature, personal recollections, art works, cartoons and ephemera, and you might begin to picture this book. It's impossible to describe really have to experience it. I can't recommend this book highly enough...there's something new and amazing to be found on every page!

Sullivan, Charles ed. Children of Promise: African-American Literature and Art for Young People. New York: Harry Abrams, 2001. (Middle School) Read more at

Claiming 100 poems, folk songs and literary excerpts along with 80 color and b/w illustrations, this book presents an attractive and appealing introduction for children. It provides brief biographical notes (1-2 sentence) and many of the poems and prose are simply snippets, but it's designed to whet the appetite for something more, something it does admirably.

Bell, Janet Cheatham. Stretch Your Wings: Famous Black Quotations for Teens.. New York: Little, Brown & Company, 1999. (Middle School - High School) Read more at

More than 400 quotations by African Americans plus African proverbs. Arranged in fourteen categories ranging from personal and relational to career advice. Includes photos and brief biographical notes. This is a great book for browsing.

Gates, Henry Louis Jr. and Nellie Y. McKay, editors. The Norton Anthology of African American Literature. New York: Norton, 1997. (High school) Includes an audio CD of some selections. Read more at

Covers six periods of black history: slavery and freedom; Reconstruction; the Harlem Renaissance; Realism, Naturalism and Modernism; the Black Arts Movement and post-1970s. In addition to expected works like poetry, short fiction, novels and drama, it includes (and therefore recognizes as part of the "canon") oral tradition in both music and spoken word: from spirituals to rap, from folktales to sermons.

Hamilton, Virginia.The People Could Fly : The Book of Black Folktales. Illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon. New York: Random House, 2000. (Middle School) Amazon

24 stories of Bruh Rabbit and Bruh Bear, He Lion, Tar Baby, magicians, slaves and free people. This new edition includes a CD featuring eleven selections, some read by actor James Earl Jones.

Hudson, Wade & Cheryl Willis Hudson. In Praise of Our Fathers and Our Mothers: A Black Family Treasury by Outstanding Authors and Artists.. East Orange, NJ: Just Us, 1997. (Middle-High School)

This is a personal and inspiring anthology of poetry, essays, interviews, photographs and paintings from nearly fifty contemporary African American writers and artists. A celebration of the strength and resiliance of the African American family.

Newman, Richard, compiler. African American Quotations. New York: Checkmark, 2000. (High School). Read more at

Over 2,500 quotations in English by more than 500 individuals, ranging from the 18th century to the present. Arranged alphabetically by topic, then by author within the topic. Indexed by name, subject and occupation.

Rollins, Charlemae Hill (Compiler), Ashley Bryan (Illustrator). Christmas Gif': An Anthology of Christmas Poems, Songs, and Stories Written by and About African-Americans . New York: Morrow Junior Books, 1993. (Middle School) Available at

This joyful classic first published in 1963 includes the work of Paul Laurence Dunbar, Zora Neale Hurston, and Langston Hughes, now augmented with forty-five beautiful linoleum-block illustrations. Thirty-five entries, including songs, poems and recipes.

Clar, D. et al Editors. The Eyes on the Prize Civil Rights Reader: Documents, Speeches, and Firsthand Accounts from the Black Freedom Struggle . New York: Penguin Reprint, 1991. (High School - Adult) Read more at

Produced in conjunction with the 14-part PBS Eyes on the Prize television series, this is a collection of over 100 court decisions, speeches, interviews, and other documents on the civil rights movement from 1954 to 1990.

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Abdul-Jabbar, Kareem, and Alan Steingberg. Black Profiles in Courage: A Legacy of African-American Achievement. New York: Morrow, 1996. (Middle School - High School) Read more at

This entertaining book explores the lives of outstanding individuals by looking at how they rose above the times around them. It's more than important biographical information; as Henry Louis Gates Jr. states in the foreward, "It is the testimony of a great athlete to the importance of scholarship, study, and intellectual reflection."

Facts on File Encyclopedia of Black Women in America. Edited by Darlene C. Hine and Kathleen Thompson. Facts on File 1997. (Middle School - High School) Eleven topical volumes, can be purchased individually. Read more at

Designed for grades six and up, this series provides more than 1000 entries profiling 950 women. The writing is clear, lively and accessible. The set is organized by topic, with individual volumes focusing on areas such as literature, business and professions, music, theater and the arts, social activism and politics, religion and community, and education. Each topic also includes an introduction and history.

Pinkney, Andrea Davis. Stephen Alcorn, Illustrator. Let It Shine: Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters. New York: Harcourt, 2000. (Middle School) Read more at

This attractive book profiles three women who are probably well known to students (Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, and Rosa Parks) and seven who ought to be (Biddy Mason, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Mary McLeod Bethune, Ella Josephine Baker, Dorothy Irene Height, Fannie Lou Hamer and Shirley Chisholm.)

Smith, Jesse Carne, ed. Notable Black American Women, Third Edition. Gale, 2002. Read more about it or order at

This new edition will be published in December 2002. 500 biographical entries, 425 of which are contemporary women.

Turner, Glennette Tilley. Follow in Their Footsteps. New York: Cobblehill Books, 1997. (Middle School) Read more at

Each brief but inspiring biography is followed by a skit for the children to act out. Children could use this as a model for writing their own biographical skits. (Carter G. Woodson, Edmonia Lewis, Dorothy I. Height, Thurgood Marshall, Mary Ann Shadd, A.G. Gaston, Charlemae Rollins, Bessie Coleman, Alex Haley, Malcolm X.)

Morgan Reynolds Publishing

This company is dedicated to publishing quality biographies and histories for young adult readers. I find them to be concise and appealing, without skirting the issues of race in American society. African American titles include Mr Civil Rights - The Story of Thurgood Marshall, Gwendolyn Brooks - Poet from Chicago; William Grant Still - African American Composer; Marcus Garvey - Black Nationalist; The Pullman Strike of 1894 - American Labor Comes of Age; John Coltrane: Jazz Revolutionary; also athletes such as Charlie Sifford who broke ground for Tiger Woods.

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Bond, Julian, Editor. Lift Every Voice and Sing : A Celebration of the Negro National Anthem : 100 Years, 100 Voices. New York: Random House, 2000. (Middle - High School) Read more at Amazon .com

The history of the song, plus commentaries about its meaning by people of all races. Be sure to visit the Lift Every Voice page for a list of recorded versions of the song.

Karenga, Maulana. Kwanzaa : A Celebration of Family, Community and Culture. University of Sankore Press, 1997. (Middle & High School) Read more at

Everything you could ever want to know about Kwanzaa, written by the founder and beautifully illustrated.

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Making Freedom: African Americans in U.S. History. Produced by Primary Source. Heinemann, 2004. Available from the publisher. (For grades 7-12)

This five volume source book and CD Rom recounts the African American experience through contemporaneous documents, diaries, visuals, and texts. Singly or together, the sourcebooks offer an inclusive American history, revealing the interracial, multicultural heritage that became the foundation or our nation.

Our Roots Run Deep: The Black Experience in California, Volumes 1-4. John William Templeton, Editor. Electron Access Inc. 2000 Order, read more or find more resources at

This 1,400 page chronicle of the centrality of blacks in California heritage has been updated to integrate with the California content standards and to include new discoveries from recent exhibitions in Los Angeles and San Francisco -- the first black company to record a jazz record; the first black woman to publish a cookbook and the site of the first jazz club and jazz band in history. Volume One also includes the translation of Las Serges de Esplandian, the 1510 epic describing California as an island populated only by black women, which Cortes sought out with his party of 300 African conquistadors in the 1530s. The package also includes a DVD of Our Roots Run Deep documentary, a 56-minute public television show; and Come to the Water: Sharing the Rich Black Experience in San Francisco, a tourist guide to the city's 300 black historic sites, 50 black restaurants and 100 churches.

From Victory to Freedom: The African American Experience. National Afro-American Museum & Cultural Center, Wilberforce, Ohio, 1991. (Elementary through Middle School) Available at

This curriculum guide features sixteen units covering family/community, public life, and the arts. It's designed to be easily incorporated into your current curriculum, across disciplines. Each unit provides an overview, activities, handouts, timeline, day-by-day calendar of events, and recommended resources.

Thomas, Velma Maia. Lest We Forget: The Passage from Africa to Slavery and Emancipation. New York : Crown Trade Paperbacks, 1997. (All ages) Read more at

This book is a small "museum in a book," with photographs and removeable documents, such as a facsimilai of a bill of sale and a former slave's freedom papers.

Thomas, Velma Maia. Freedom's children : the passage from emancipation to the great migration .New York : Crown Publishers, 2000. (All ages) Read more at

Another small museum in a book, with photographs and removeable documents, such as a copy of a land grant, newspaper clippings and a railroad ticket.

Alkalimat, Abdul. The African American Experience in Cyberspace: A Resource Guide to the Best Web Sites on Black Culture and History. Pluto Press, 2004. (High School) Read more and order at

I could review this book in one word: Indispensable! Abdul Alkalimat is a sociologist and pioneer in the development of Black Studies, currently serving as moderator of H-Afro-Am electronic discussion forum. Not merely a directory of useful sites, it provides extensive annotation and an interpretive framework, organized by major historical periods and themes. Providing a wealth of printed resources as well, this book proves valuable even to someone who rarely ventures online. No college or community library should be without it.

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Altman, Susan and Joel Kemelhor. Encyclopedia of African-American Heritage. New York: Checkmark Books, 2001. (Middle - High School) Read more at

An affordable book packed with accessible information.

Appiah, Kwame Anthony, and Henry Louis Gates Jr., eds. Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience. Basic Civitas Books: 1999. (High School) Read selections at

A unique work that covers the African diaspora on both sides of the Atlantic. The scope is exhaustive: its 3500 entries and articles chronicle prominent individuals, events, places, politics, art, economy, religion and countries and more. More than 1000 illustrations and maps.

Hine, Darlene Clark, Elsa Barkley Brown and Rosalyn Terborg-Penn, eds. Black Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia. Indiana University Press, 1993. (High School) Read more at

Originally published in hardcover at about $200, the paperback version is more affordable (around $40) yet has all the same information, including all the illustrations and over 800 entries and 400 signed essays by scholars. A good supplement to Africana.

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The Columbia Guide to African American History Since 1939. Harris, Robert L Jr. and Rosalyn Terborg-Penn, eds. Columbia University Press, 2006. Read more at

This book explores the central developments in African American history since 1939. The first part (about 90 pages) provides a concise and compelling historical narrative broken into five time periods. It begins with a discussion of the various approaches to interpreting black history post-1939, including revisionist, vindicationist, Afrocentric, integrationist, nationalist and multidimensional approaches. The authors take a multidimensional approach, demonstrating that "The Movement" was/is not a united front, but rather a struggle waged on many different fronts in different ways with different objectives - sometimes at cross purposes. Also, things which seemed like progress at the time (e.g. school desegregation) are now being reexamined.

The second part examines seven "key themes" including business, music, military service, sports, and literature, plus the answer to a question which has cropped up numerous times on my listservs lately: why and when did we become Negro/black/African American, who prefers which term, and why is self-designation important? The third part provides a chronology, the fourth A-Z entries with a paragraph or two about key persons and organizations.

The final section (about 70 pages) is a substantial Resource Guide to textbooks, general references, military records, manuscript collections, film, video and recordings, and more. The various bibliographies are annotated, but the listings of Libraries/Museums/Historical Sites, Newspapers/Periodicals/Journals, and Web Sites are not, and that's the only weakness I found here. (Note: I maintain an extensive annotated listing of libraries/museums/historical sites.)

Provides a clear and compelling introduction to a complex era, and the resources will spark students to dig deeper.

A Traveler's Guide to the Civil Rights Movement. Jim Carrier. Harcourt Books, 2004.(High School and up) Order at

This book is fascinating even if you never leave home. It's both a travel guide and a reference for anyone wanting to learn more about the Civil Rights Movement. But it's not limited to modern times; like many historians, the author takes the view that the struggle for civil rights began the moment the first enslaved African set foot on these shores and tried to break free. Consequently, the sites described here include sites of slave rebellions, legal battles, Underground Railroad safe houses, historically black colleges, churches, museums...even the minor league stadium in Florida where Jackie Robinson broke through the color line.

I particularly enjoyed the author's honest and opinionated style. Black history has been overshadowed by white interpretation for a very long time, even in locations where the majority population was black. Visit a Southern plantation and you will learn about the lifestyle of the owners, but very little about the slaves who made that lifestyle possible. You may ogle the beautiful handcrafted furniture, yet never be told that a black artisan created it. He notes that much depends on which particular docent you end up with. Regarding Monticello, he says '...some guides more comfortable with the old Jefferson story of his inventions and quirks acknowledge the Hemings affair in clipped tones. Others discuss it volubly.'

New York Public Library Amazing African American History: A Book of Answers for Kids. New York: Wiley, 1997. (Grades 4-9) Read more at

A chronolgy of African American history presented in a question/answer format.

Christian, Charles M and Sari J. Bennett. Black Saga - The African American Experience: A Chronology Baltimore MD: Counterpoint Press, 1998. (Middle - High School) Read more at

Six hundred pages packed with little-known facts about early African American history, plus hundreds of images. Organized chronologically.

Franklin, John Hope and Alfred A. Moss, Jr. From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African Americans. 8th ed. New York: Random House, 2000. (High School - Adult) Read more at

First written in 1947, now in it's 8th edition, this is still THE definitive textbook for African American History. A highly readable book. (If you have an earlier edition on the shelf, you need to replace it. Among the many improvements in the latest edition is expanded information on black women's history, and increased information about slave insurrections.)

Hine, Darlene Clark. A Shining Thread of Hope: History of Black Women in America. New York: Broadway Books, 1999. (High School - Adult) Read more at

This scholarly and comprehensive history is quite a page-turner...I found it difficult to put down! It celebrates the strength, determination and creativity of black women throughout America's history, as told through the stories (and often, the very words) of hundreds of individual women from all eras and all classes. But it's not a list of "women of achievement." It redefines the narrative of American history by including a viewpoint long neglected.

New York Public Library African American Desk Reference. Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. New York: Wiley, 1999. (Middle & High School) Read more at

An indispensable reference book when you're looking for a quick piece of information. No library should be without this's the most worn-out book in my collection.

Southern, Eileen. The Music of Black Americans: A History, 3rd edition. New York: W.W. North, 1997. (High School - Adult) Read More at

First written in 1971 and now in it's 3rd edition, this is a wonderful, readable textbook on all aspects of African American music.

Stewart, Jeffrey C. 1001 Things Everyone Should Know About African American History. New York: Doubleday, 1997. (Middle School & Up) Read more at

Comprehensive yet easy to read. Provides lists of significant books, plays or films of various time periods. Organized by subject.

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CDs, DVDs and Audiobooks: Music & Spoken Word

In My Dream: A Celebration of African-American Music. U.S. Army Field Band, 2004. Available free to educational institutions, libraries and music educators only upon request. (Sorry, this item is not available to the general public)

This CD is a goldmine for educators. Its 27 tracks provide examples of spirituals, chants, ragtime, jazz, bebop, blues, R&B, traditional and contemporary gospel, trombone shouts...the only thing it lacks is a sample of classical composition by a great such as William Grant Still. The program notes included with the CD are outstanding; if that's not enough, you'll find more lesson plans at their web site.

Every Tone a Testimony: A Smithsonian Folkways African American Aural History. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, 2001. 2 CDs, plus booklet with extensive notes. (Middle School - Adult) Read more at

Highly Recommended! This could be used across disciplines. 59 tracks (nearly two and a half hours) of material from the Smithsonian Folkways archive, organized to create a history of African American life and culture in sound. It presents music, poetry, oratory and prose by historically-renowned African American musicians, writers and activists spanning two centuries. It also includes folk and field recordings, such as examples of field hollers and work songs. As if that's not enough for under $25, it also includes an extensive booklet with supplemental material.

Our Souls Have Grown Deep Like the Rivers: Black Poets Read Their Work. WEA/Rhino, 2000.
2 CDs plus booklet with detailed citations and background information. Read more or listen to samples at

Seventy-five poems and commentary read by the authors, some including brief introductions. What a thrill to hear the voice of James Weldon Johnson, recorded in 1935! Most of the works have not been released previously. Doesn't include lyrics, but most of the poems are found in anthologies, or you can search for them online at Academy of American Poets.

Martin Luther King Jr. Tapes. CD. Soundworks, 1994.

Live recordings of "The Great March To Freedom," "The Great March To Washington" and the immortal "Free At Last" speech. 70 minutes.

A Knock at Midnight: Original Recordings of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. Audio Program Total running time: 8 hours. or Try Audible and Get it FREE!

This unique collection features a selection of Dr. King's best sermons - some not heard since he first delivered them - recorded at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, and in other churches where he carried his ministry. They include "Rediscovering Lost Values," "A Knock at Midnight," "The American Dream," and "When Jesus Called a Man a Fool." Each is introduced by a distinguished member of today's spiritual community, including Rev. Wyatt Tee Walker, Dr. Joan Campbell, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Winner of Publishers Weekly Listen Up Award: Best Audio of 1998, Use of Archival Tape

Voices of the Civil Rights Movement: Black America Freedom Songs 1960-1966. Listen or order at

Singing in the African American Tradition - Ysaye Barnwell (CDs or Cassettes)

You'll learn how to sing multiple parts-melodies, harmonies, rhythms and counter-melodies-to more than 20 inspiring songs: African chants, spirituals, gospel songs and anthems of the American civil rights and South African freedom movements. Ysaye Barnwell, of Sweet Honey In The Rock, teaches the vocal parts one at a time. Then, you can choose whether to sing along with the melody or one of five or six distinct harmony parts. These lessons are wonderful for individuals, choirs, church, camp and community groups who want to participate in this powerful and uplifting singing tradition.

The Long Road to Freedom: An Anthology of Black Music. Harry Belafonte (and 50 other musicians!) Buddah, 2001. 80 tracks on 5 CDs, a bonus DVD, and a 140 page hard-bound book. Read more at

Researched and recorded between 1961 and 1971, this collection traces the history of black music from the late 1600's to the 20th Century. It covers the roots of African music, chants, shouts and early spirituals, Louisiana Creole music and a re-creation of a slave Christmas, songs from the Underground Railroad and Civil War era, rural and urban roots music, game and children's songs, work songs, minstrel songs and more

These are not field recordings: they are contemporary recordings made based upon field recordings. As one who has spent innumerable hours straining to decipher those old recordings myself, I must say that Belafonte and crew have done a fantastic job of bringing the music to life, creating a sound that is both satisfying to the modern ear, yet authentic and respectful to the original material. (The music has NOT, for example, been modernized stylistically. Hurrah for that!) Belafonte simply captured in a modern era what might have been captured in, say, 1866 had modern recording equipment been available. And he prepared himself for this task by speaking with the then modern practitioners of the art: sharecroppers, men in chain gangs, blacks whose parents had been slaves.

Sing Along With Putumayo. Putumayo Kids, 2004.

This delightful romp through American folk styles is the perfect CD for those long family car trips, because there's something on here to please everybody regardless of age or musical preference. What an eclectic blend: blues great Taj Mahal sings Woody Guthrie's "Don't You Push Me Down," funk master Rufus Thomas breathes new life into "Old MacDonald" and Eric Bibb's bluesy "Michael Row the Boat Ashore" reclaims this classic African-American spiritual. Rosie Flores' rockabilly version of "Red Red Robin" is fact, there's not a single song on this CD I DIDN'T like! Includes lyrics, and the background information on the songs and singers is presented in English, Spanish and French.

Children's Stories From Africa: DVD Monterey Video 2000.115 minutes Available at

Nandi Nyembe tells 12 stories on a stage of an African hut. The stories are built around the age-old tales of African wildlife: wart hogs, monkeys, crocodiles, and the like. These tales teach simple morals: the dangers of greed, the importance of picking your friends, following your heart. Only a few still pictures accompany each story--the heart of this program is our vivacious storyteller.

Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears...and More Stories from Africa. DVD Scholatic Video Collection, 2004. 61 minutes. Available at

Adapted from the Caldecott Honor Book By Verna Aardema, Illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon, Narrated by James Earl Jones. A tall tale sets off a chain of mishaps in the jungle. Will the jungle creatures ever get the story straight? A STORY, A STORY Adapted from the Caldecott Honor Book By Gail E. Haley. Once, all the stories in the world belonged to Nyanme, the Sky God. He kept them in a box beside his throne. But Ananse, the Spider Man, wanted them - and caught three sly creatures to get them. WHO'S IN RABBIT'S HOUSE? By Verna Aardema, Illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon, Narrated by James Earl Jones. Rabbit has a problem - someone is inside her house and won't let her in. Can the leopard, rhino or elephant help Rabbit get in her house?

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Collection Development

Black Issues Book Review

"...the authoritative voice for the world of African-American interest books." The Children's Bookshelf provides reviews of recent books, and an archive.

Coretta Scott King Award Books

"The Coretta Scott King Award is presented annually by the Coretta Scott King Task Force of the American Library Association's Social Responsibilities Round Table. Recipients are authors and illustrators of African descent whose distinguished books promote an understanding and appreciation of the 'American Dream. '"

Detroit Public Library African American Booklist

This bibliography provides a selected list of books by and/or about African Americans. It includes works of fiction and non-fiction for adults, children and young adults reviewed and recommended by librarian of the Detroit Pubic Library.

Rand, Donna, and Toni Trent Parker, Sheila Foster. Black Books Galore! Guide to Great African American Children's Books. New York: Wiley, 1998.

Insightful reviews of 500 books, categorized by age and ability. Includes information about language, such as whether a book uses dialect or contains "The N word."

Rand, Donna, and Toni Trent Parker.Black Books Galore!: Guide to More Great African American Children's Books. New York: Wiley, 2001. Read more at

Reviews of 400 more books, plus reading plans for historical events, major holidays, and seasons. Includes a listing of award winners, and related web sites.

Murphy, Barbara Thrash. Black Authors and Illustrators of Books for Children and Young Adults: A Biographical Dictionary (3rd Edition). Garland, 1999. Read more at

Biographical information for 274 authors and illustrators, with over 120 photographs and 46 covers of important children's books. A wealth of information easily navigated.

Smith, Henrietta M. editor. The Coretta Scott King Awards Book 1970-1999. Chicago: ALA, 1999. Read reviews or order at Read more at

The Coretta Scott King Award has honored African American writers and artists for over thirty years, creating a rich collection of books. Containing the history of the award, annotations on each of the winners and honor books, 19 full-color plates, photos and biographies this an invaluable reference resource.

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Support to Young Adult Librarians

American Association of School Librarians

A division of the ALA. Resource guides, career development, pathfinders.

Black Caucus of the American Library Association

The BCALA was organized in 1970 to serve "as an advocate for the development, promotion, and improvement of library services and resources to the nation's African American community." At their website you'll find professional development resources, links to local chapters, Top Twenty Children's Books of the Year, awards & scholarship opportunities, their newsletter and more.

The Internet Public Library (IPL)

A service of the University of Michigan School of Information, this is a "virtual library on the web."

Association of American Publishers. (APA) School Members Division

"[...] works to enhance the role of instructional materials in the pre-collegiate educational process, to increase funding for instructional materials, and to form a bridge between publishers, the educational community, and the public." Site has news, links to seminars, and a list of publisher contacts and websites.

Children's Book Council

"The Children's Book Council (CBC) is a non-profit trade organization dedicated to encouraging literacy and the use and enjoyment of children's books, and is the official sponsor of Young People's Poetry Week and Children's Book Week each year. " They sponsor National Children's Book Week and Young People's Poetry Week. Resources here include announcements, reviews, and a member list (contact info & web sites) of every U.S. publisher of Young Adult books.

Databases (Subscription)

African American Biographical Database

"The African American Biographical Database is a resource of first resort when you are looking for biographical information, including photographs and illustrations, for African Americans. From the famous to the everyday person, AABD includes profiles and full-text sketches providing both biographical detail and illuminating narratives chronicling the lives of Black Americans.

"Each text used in the African American Biographical Database has been fully digitized so that in addition to searching for specific biographic sketches, you essentially have direct access to a rich collection of African American reference works, many of which are rare books. "

Black Drama

"Black Drama contains the full text of 1,200 plays written from the mid-1800s to the present by more than 150 playwrights from North America, English-speaking Africa, the Caribbean, and other African diaspora countries. Many of the works are rare, hard to find, or out of print. James Vernon Hatch, the playwright, historian, and curator of the landmark Hatch-Billops Collection, is the project's editorial advisor. Nearly a quarter of the collection will consist of previously unpublished plays by writers such as Langston Hughes, Ed Bullins, Willis Richardson, Amiri Baraka, Randolph Edmonds, Zora Neale Hurston, and many others.

"Each play is extensively and deeply indexed, allowing both keyword and multi-fielded searching. The plays are accompanied by reference materials, significant ancillary information, a rich performance database, and images. The result is an exceptionally deep and unified collection that illustrates the many purposes that black theater has served: to give testimony to the ancient foundations of black culture; to protest injustices; to project emerging images of the New Black; and to give voice to the many and varied expressions of black creativity. "


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