Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Best Teacher in the World is Black!

Randomly, I found a book last week that caught my attention.  My job collected children’s books for a local shelter and, of course, I rummaged through the books to see what was donated. I came across a book called, The Best Teacher in the World by Bernice Chardiet and Grace Maccarone illustrated by G. Brian Karas.  The reason it caught my attention is because “the best teacher in the world” is African American!  This book was published in 1990 and the illustrator or authors (who are White) chose to depict the best teacher in the world as African American.  It was hard then and still is to find books that have African American main charters that are not culturally specific. To see an African American teacher in a book and she is labeled “the best teacher in the world” is such a powerful image for children to see. However, there is one downside.  Although Ms. Darcy appears to be African American, she could be illustrated as any race. She does not have any distinct features that determine she is African American besides the tinted skin color and small Afro. In past posts, I've discussed the importance of African American children seeing illustrations that depict characters with distinct features (and illustrated authentically) that mirror them. That still holds true. Ms. Darcy doesn't have distinct features but you can assume she is Black. In this case, the illustrator style of art doesn't allow any of his characters to have distinct features whatever skin tone. The writing is good and the story has a predictable but well constructed plot. I recommend this book to be shared with the child in your life and for your home and school libraries!      -Sunkisses Candid

I have been on the hunt for Halloween books that have African American characters. This has been very difficult. I was not able to find very many. I mostly found books with African American supporting characters. Here is a list of books I have found. If you know of any I haven’t listed please mention them in the comments!  
  •   One Halloween Night by Mark Teague
  • What Is Halloween? by Michelle Medlock Adams illustrated by Amy Wummer
  • Miss Smith and the Haunted Library by Michael Garland
  • Disney's Little Einsteins: Halloween Surprise by Marcy Kelman
  • Witch Switch: Super Special (Katie Kazoo Series) by Nancy E. Krulik illustrated by John & Wendy
  • Gooey Goblins: Halloween Special (Candy Fairies Series) by Helen Perelman illustrated by Erica-Jane Waters
  • Ready, Freddy! #11: Pumpkin Elf Mystery by Abby Klein illustrated by John McKinley
  • Little Bill The Halloween Costume Hunt by Kim Watson and Bernie Cavender
  • Jenny Reen and the Jack Muh Lantern by Irene Smalls, Jon Lockard Irene Smalls-Hector illustrated by Keinyo White 
  • Sweets And Treats by Toni Trent Parker illustrated by Earl Anderson
  • Halloween Monster by Catherine Stock                                                                                                                                                                              

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