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PRESS RELEASE

January 30, 2008

Tom Butler
(850) 245-0413

Students Encouraged to Celebrate Black History Month Through Recommended Reading List

TALLAHASSEE – Education Commissioner Eric J. Smith today announced the Just Read, Florida! recommended reading list in celebration of Florida's Black History Month. During Black History Month, Just Read, Florida! will highlight African-American literature.

"Reading is the foundation for all learning and can help spur the creative potential that lives within us all," said Commissioner Smith. "It is through reading that we are able to explore the rich history of African-American culture and the positive role it has played in shaping our society."

The reading list provides an excellent source of suggested books for students of all ages. Just Read, Florida! makes reading a priority in Florida’s public schools and among the community groups and volunteer organizations that support them.

The 2008 Just Read, Florida! recommended reading list for Black History Month:

Elementary (Grades PreK-3)

  • I Dream of Trains, Angela Johnson
  • I’ve Seen the Promised Land: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Walter Dean Myers
  • Papa’s Mark, Gwendolyn Battle Lavert
  • The Hard-Times Jar, Ethel Footman Smothers
  • What’s the Hurry, Fox? And the Other Animal Stories, Zora Neale Hurston
  • Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby Girl, Virginia Hamilton
  • In the Land of Words: New and Selected Poems, Jan Spivey Gilchrist
  • God Bless the Child, Billy Holiday and Arthur Herzog, Jr.
  • Almost to Freedom, Vaunda Micheaux Nelson
  • Thunder Rose, Jerdine Nolen
  • Rap a Tap Tap: Here’s Bojangles – Think That, Leon and Diane Dillon
  • Visiting Langston, Bryan Collier
  • Goin’ Someplace Special, Patricia McKissack and Jerry Pinkney
  • Uptown, Bryan Collier
  • Freedom River, Doreen Rappaport
  • Virgie Goes to School with Us Boys, Elizabeth Fitzgerald Howard
  • My Rows and Piles of Coins, Tololwa M. Mollel
  • Black Cat, Christopher Myers
  • In Daddy’s Arms I am Tall: African Americans Celebrating Fathers, Alan Schroeder
  • Ashley Bryan’s ABC of African American Poetry, Ashley Bryan
  • Minty: A Story of Young Harriet Tubman, Alan Schroeder
  • Running the Road to ABC, Denize Lauture
  • Neeny Coming, Neeny Going, Karen English
  • The Faithful Friend, Robert San Souci
  • The Creation, James Wheldon Johnson
  • Little Eight John, Jan Wahl
  • Sukey and the Mermaid, Robert San Souci
  • Working Cotton, Sherley Anne Williams
  • All Night, all Day: A Child’s First Book of African American Spirituals, Ashley Bryan
  • When I Am Old With You, Angela Johnson
  • The Bells of Christmas, Virginia Hamilton
  • An Enchanted Hair Tale, Alexis De Veaux
  • Half a Moon and One Whole Star, Cresc Dragonwagon
  • The Patchwork Quilt, Valerie Flournoy
  • A Chair for My Mother, Vera Williams
  • Anansi The Spider: A Tale from Ashanti, Gerald McDermott
  • Big mama’s, Donald Crews
  • Bright Eyes, Brown Skin, Cheryl Hudson & Bernette Ford
  • Daddy and I, Eloisse Greenfield
  • Nina Bonita, Ana Machado
  • Something Beautiful, Sharon Wyeth
  • The Quilt, Ann Jonas
  • Bill Pickett: Rodeo-Ridin Cowboy, Andrea Pinkney & Brian Pinkney
  • Drylongso, Virginia Hamilton
  • I Am Rosa Parks, Rosa Parks & James Haskins
  • Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Doreen Rappaport
  • Stories Huey Tells, Ann Cameron
  • Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt, Deborah Hopkinson
  • The Dream Keeper and Other Poems, Langston Hughes & Brian Pinkney
  • Uncle Remus: The Complete Tales, Julius Lester
  • The Palm of My Heart: Poetry by African American Children, Gregorie Christie
  • The Talking Eggs, Robert San Souci
  • The Invisible Hunters: A Legend from the Miskito Indians of Nicaragua, Harriet Rohmer, et al
  • C.L.O.U.D.S., Pat Cummings
  • My Mama Needs Me, Mildred Pitts Walter
  • Black Child, Peter Mugabane
  • I’m Going to Sing: Black American Spirituals, Ashley Bryan
  • Just Us Women, Jeanette Caines
  • Mother Crocodile: An Uncle Amadou Tale from Senegal, Rosa Guy
  • Daydreamers, Eloise Greenfield
  • Grandmama’s Joy, Eloise Greenfield
  • Count on Your Fingers African Style, Claudia Zaslavsky
  • I Have a Sister, My Sister is Deaf, Jean W. Peterson
  • Africa Dream, Eloise Greenfield
  • Mary McLeod Bethune, Eloise Greenfield
  • Duey’s Tale, Pearl Bailey
  • Ray Charles, Sharon Bell Mathis
  • Jazzy Miz Mozetta, Brenda C. Roberts
  • Family Plays Music, Judy Cox
  • The Moon Ring, Randy DuBurke
  • Freedom Summer, Deb Wiles
  • The Piano Man, Debbie Chocolate
  • Everett Anderson’s Good-bye, Lucille Clifton

Elementary (Grades 4-5)

  • Romare Bearden: Collage of Memories, Jan Greenberg
  • Against All Odds: Artist Dean Mitchell’s Story, Betty R. James
  • Talkin’ About Bessie: The Story of Aviator Elizabeth Coleman, Nikki Grimes
  • Only Passing Through: The Story of Sojouner Truth, Anne Rockwell
  • In the Time of the Drums, Kim L. Siegelson
  • I Have Heard of a Land, Joyce Carol Thomas
  • Duke Ellington: The Piano Prince and His Orchestra, Andrea Davis Pinkney
  • I Thought My Souls Would Rise and Fly: The Diary of Patsy, A Freed Girl, Joyce Hansen
  • The Hunterman and the Crocodile, Baba Waguè Diakitè
  • The Singing Man, Angela Shelf Medearis
  • Meet Danitra Brown, Nikki Grimes
  • Soul Looks Back in Wonder, Phyllis Fogelman
  • The Origin of Life on Earth: An African Creation Myth, David A. Anderson
  • Night on the Neighborhood Street, Eloise Greenfield
  • Tar Beach, Faith Ringgold
  • The Road to Memphis, Mildred Taylor
  • Aida, Leontyne Price
  • Nathaniel Talking, Eloise Greenfield
  • Mirandy and Brother Wind, Patricia McKissack
  • Under the Sunday Tree, Eloise Greenfield
  • Storm in the Night, Mary Stolz
  • Lion and the Ostrich Chicks and Other African Folk Tales, Ashley Bryan
  • All the Colors of the Race, Arnold Adoff
  • What a Morning! The Christmas Story in Black Spirituals, Ashley Bryan
  • The Bat Boy and His Violin, Gavin Curtis
  • Her Stories, Virginia Hamilton
  • Uncle Jed’s Barbershop, Margaree Mitchell
  • Brown Honey in Broomwheat Tea, Joyce Carol Thomas
  • The Great Migration: An American Story, Jacob Lawrence
  • Harlem, Walter Dean Myers
  • Circle of Gold, Candy Dawson Boyd
  • A Little Love, Virginia Hamilton
  • The Strange New Feeling, Julius Lester
  • Rainbow Jordan, Alice Childress
  • Beat the Story Drum, Pum-Pum, Ashley Bryan
  • Skates of Uncle Richard, Carol Fenner
  • Something on My Mind, Nikki Grimes
  • Brothers in Hope: The Story of the Lost Boys of Sudan, R. Gregory Christie

Middle school (Grades 6-8)

  • The Legend of Buddy Bush, Sheila P. Moses
  • Days of Tears: A Novel in Dialogue, Julius Lester
  • Maritcha: A Nineteenth-Century American Girl, Tonya Bolden
  • Dark Sons, Nikki Grimes
  • The Road to Paris, Nikki Grimes
  • Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story, Ben Carson
  • Days of Jubilee: The End of Slavery in the United States, Patricia C. and Frederick L. McKissack
  • Locomotion, Jacqueline Woodson
  • The Battle of Jericho, Sharon Draper
  • The Red Rose Box, Brenda Woods
  • The Land, Mildred Taylor
  • Miracle’s Boys, Jacqueline Woodson
  • Let It Shine! Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters, Andrea Davis Pinkney
  • Francie, Karen English
  • Black Hands, White Sails: The Story of African American Whalers, Patricia C. & Frederick L. McKissack
  • Bayard Rustin: Behind the Scenes of the Civil Rights Movement, James Haskins
  • Christmas in the Big House, Christmas in the Quarters, Patricia C. and Frederick L. McKissack
  • The Captive, Joyce Hansen
  • Now is Your Time: The African American Struggle for Freedom, Walter Dean Myers
  • A Thief in the Village and Other Stories, James Berry
  • Which Way Freedom, Joyce Hansen
  • Junius Over Far, Virginia Hamilton
  • The Words of Martin Luther King, Jr., Coretta Scott King
  • Forged by Fire, Sharon M. Draper
  • Sweet Whispers, Brother Rush, Virginia Hamilton
  • Breaking Ground, Breaking Silence: The Story of New York’s African Burial Ground, Joyce Hansen and Gary McGowan
  • I see the rhythm, Toyomi Igus
  • Heaven, Angela Johnson
  • The Other Side: Shorter Poems, Angela Johnson
  • Toning the Sweep, Angela Johnson
  • The Dark Thirty, Southern Tales of the Supernatural, Patricia A. McKissack
  • Rebels Against Slavery: American Slave Revolts, Patricia C. and Frederick L. McKissack
  • Soujourner Truth: Ain’t I a Woman?, Patricia C. and Frederick L. McKissack
  • Justin and the Best Biscuits in the World, Mildred Pitts Walter
  • Let the Circle Be Unbroken, Mildred D. Taylor
  • Childtimes: A Three-Generation Memoir, Eloise Greenfield and Lessie Jones Little
  • Andrew Young: Young Man With a Mission, James Haskins
  • The Way a Door Closes, Hope Anita Smith
  • The Skin I’m In, Sharon Flake
  • Another Way to Dance, Martha Southgate

High school (Grades 9-12)

  • Copper Sun, Sharon Draper
  • The Magnificent Twelve: Florida’s Black Junior Colleges, Walter L. Smith, Ph.D.
  • Fortune’s Bones: The Manumission Requiem, Marilyn Nelson
  • Carver: A Life in Poems, Marilyn Nelson
  • Malcolm X: By Any Means Necessary, Walter Dean Myers
  • Mississippi Challenge, Mildred Pitts Walter
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Freedom Movement, Lillie Patters
  • We Beat the Street: How a Friendship Led to Success, Sampson Davis, George Jenkins, Rameck Hunt and Sharon Draper
  • Fallen Angels, Walter Dean Myers
  • Anthony Burns: The Defeat and Triumph of a Fugitive Slave, Virginia Hamilton
  • Trouble’s Child, Mildred Pitts Walter
  • The Magical Adventures of Pretty Pearl, Virginia Hamilton
  • Lena Horne, James Haskins
  • The Middle Passage: White Ships Black Cargo, Tom Feelings
  • This Life, Sidney Poitier
  • Don’t Explain: A Song of Billie Holiday, Alexis De Veaux
  • The Young Landlords, Walter Dean Myers
  • James Van Der Zee: The Picture Takin’ Man, James Haskins
  • Let the Lion Eat Straw, Ellease Southerland
  • Cornrows, Camille Yarborough
  • Benjamin Banneker, Lillie Patterson
  • Barbara Jordan, James Haskins
  • Darkness Before Dawn, Sharon Draper
  • Coretta Scott King, Lillie Patterson
  • The Story of Stevie Wonder, James Haskins
  • Portia: The Life of Portia Washington Pittman, the Daughter of Booker T. Washington, Ruth Ann Stewart
  • The Legend of Africana, Dorothy Robinson
  • I Never Had It Made: the Autobiography of Jackie Robinson, as told, Alfred Duckett
  • My Chill Wind, Janet McDonald
  • Lou in the Limelight, Kristin Hunter
  • Movin’ Up, Berry Gordy
  • Marvin and Tige, Frankcina Glass
  • Black Troubador: Langston Hughes, Charlemae Rollins
  • Martin Luther King, Jr.: Man of Peace, Lillie Patterson
  • Monster, Walter Dean Myers
  • The First Part Last, Angela Johnson