Image for post
Image for post

COVID-19 has democratized the classroom experience. For years, Black parents have been left wondering what our children were learning in schools. With remote learning, we are no longer guessing; we see what our children are learning and how they are learning it.

As a father, I am particularly concerned with the books that make up the district’s curriculum. In the five books my second grader read, there were 37 characters in these books. Of these 37 characters, only 1 character, who was briefly mentioned was Black. One book featured kids from around the world; not one of those kids were…


By Nosakhere Griffin-EL, Ph.D.

Image for post
Image for post

Malcolm X: A Fire Burning Brightly by Walter Dean Myers is a powerful biography. This book captures the full story of Malcolm X from boyhood to adulthood. With each turn of the page, the reader will learn the following:

How he was:

  1. Impacted by the life and death of his mother and father,

2. Discouraged by his teacher from pursuing his dream of becoming a lawyer,

How he:

3. Loved learning and reading books,

4. Transformed from street gangster to Harlem hero,

5. Spoke to the pain and struggles of people of Black people,

6. Continued to evolve as a…


By Nosakhere Griffin-EL, Ph.D.

Image for post
Image for post

As a teenager, I was in and out of trouble in school and in the streets. It was a daily routine for my mother to receive a phone call from one of my teachers or for me to return home with a suspension noticed. It was nearly a daily occurrence when I would get into fights with my peers in the streets. Yes, I was that kid who gave my mother a significant portion of her grey hair.

In the winter of my freshmen year in high school, I remember having to make a choice whether to continue to get…


By Nosakhere Griffin-EL, Ph.D.

Image for post
Image for post

Ty’s Travels is a must-read book by Kelly Starling Lyons. The book begins with the main character Ty getting a new scooter. To test out the new scooter, Ty and his family take a trip to the local park. This trip is the beginning of a joyful challenge that he’ll have to face head on.

Before Ty attempts to ride the scooter, he goes into his imagination and visualizes himself at a race. He sees himself as one of the racers competing, but with each attempt he falls. Each time he falls his mother, father, or brother are their to…


By Nosakhere Griffin-EL, Ph.D.

Image for post
Image for post

I Promise by LeBron James is a must read book for children. This book provides roadmap for kids to achieve academic excellence. The familiar and peaceful images of children playing allows caregivers the opportunity to discuss the importance of learning. For parents and educators, this book is a tool to provide kid-friendly advice on how to become a champion in the classroom. At the back of the room, the author provides a pledge that parents, educators, or caregivers can use to inspire their young dreamers. I took the creatively liberty to creatively remix this pledge to speak directly to my…


By Nosakhere Griffin-EL, Ph.D.

Image for post
Image for post

Ada Twist, Scientist is an amazing must-read book! The author takes the reader on a journey in the life of a future scientist. The main character’s learning quest is driven by asking what, why, when, where, and how questions. The constant questions of her environment illuminate her deep desire to learn by doing, her willingness to take risks, and ability to bounce back from failure.

The thought-provoking and detailed illustrations allows the reader to dream out loud. For parents, this book is a tool to learn how to be patient with and supportive of your young scientist. …


by Nosakhere Griffin-EL, Ph.D.

Image for post
Image for post

Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre by Carole Boston Weatherford is a powerful story of the rise and destruction of Black Wall Street. In the beginning of the story, the author takes readers on a tour of this amazing independent Black community. She teaches us about the hospitals, many businesses, churches, hotels, grocery stores, and restaurants existing in this community. I especially took note of the author’s discussion of Black Wall Street’s school system providing Black children with an education experience centered in excellence.

This book creates an opportunity for the reader to understand what it felt like to live in…


By Dr. Nosakhere Griffin-EL

Image for post
Image for post

Dream Builder by Kelly Lyons is an inspirational biography of the Philadelphian native Phillip Freelon. The author provides the reader with an engaging chronological account of Freelon’s ascension from a struggling young reader to an architect who worked on the team that built the African American Museum.

This inspirational story provides children with a hero to model their dream pursuit after. This book captures the following powerful aspects of Freelon’s dream pursuit: (1) the role his grandfather played in inspiring him, (2) the impact of living in a Black community with neighbors who exemplified Black Excellence, (3) his awakening to…


Image for post
Image for post

Over the past few years, I have read many picture books about Black history and culture to my sons. Carole Boston Weatherford is one of my favorite authors. Her books offer engaging storylines, rich vocabulary, vibrant illustrations, and powerful messages. Here are a few of my favorite books by Carole Boston Weatherford to read during Black History Month.

Nosakhere Griffin-EL, Ph.D.

#Dreamer, Pres of Dreamocracy Learning Lab, Community Literacy Innovator, Literacy Advocate, Children’s Books Expert

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store