April 7: Billie Holiday: MISTER AND LADY DAY: BILLIE HOLIDAY AND THE DOG WHO LOVED HER

Billie Holiday, singer, African American
April 7, 1915 – July 17, 1959

MISTER AND LADY DAY by Amy Novesky Illustrated by Vaness Brantley Newton
Harcourt, 2013

Billie Holiday was a famous Blues singer, nicknamed lady Day. Lady Day always had a house full of dogs, but one dog was a particular favorite. Mister, a boxer, often traveled with her and waited off stage for her when she performed.

Learn more about Billie Holiday’s life at www.billieholiday.com

April 5 Birthday: With Books and Bricks: How Booker T. Washington Built a School

Booker T. Washington, African American, author, educator, advisor
b. April 5, 1856
d. Nov. 14, 1915

WITH BOOKS AND BRICKS: HOW BOOKER T. WASHINGTON BUILT A SCHOOL
(Albert Whitman, 2014)

by Suzanne Slade
illustrated by Nicole Tadgell

Summary: After the Civil War ended Booker T. Washington fulfilled his dream of attending school, then set out to teach. Finding many eager students in Tuskegee, Alabama but no school, Booker decided to build his own school. So he rolled up his sleeves and dug clay, molded thousands of bricks, and constructed his own kiln to fire them. But brick making was more difficult than he’d imagined. Yet, Booker continued the back-breaking work, built a fine school, and welcomed all who shared his passion for learning.

February 15 Birthday: FRIENDS FOR FREEDOM: THE STORY OF SUSAN B. ANTHONY & FREDERICK DOUGLASS

Frederick Douglass, African American, writer, statesman, social reformer 
b. February, 1820
d. February 20, 1895

Susan B. Anthony, women’s rights activist
b. February 15, 1820
d. March 13, 1906

FRIENDS FOR FREEDOM: THE STORY OF SUSAN B. ANTHONY AND FREDERICK DOUGLASS
(Charlesbridge, 2014)
by Suzanne Slade
illustrated by Nicole Tadgell

Summary: No one thought Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass would ever become friends. The former slave and the outspoken woman came from two different worlds. But they shared deep-seated beliefs in equality and the need to fight for it. Despite naysayers, hecklers, and even arsonists, Susan and Frederick became fast friends and worked together to change America.

Learn more about Susan B. Anthony at the website for the Susan B. Anthony house. 
Learn more about Frederick Douglass through  National Park Service National Historic site. And at this site dedicated to Frederick Douglass.

January 31: Jackie Robinson. DAD, JACKIE, AND ME

Jackie Robinson, baseball player
January 1, 1919 – October 24, 1972

Dad, Jackie, and Me by Myron Uhlberg, illustrated by Colin Bootman (Peachtree, 2010).

Jackie Robinson was the first baseman for the Brooklyn Dodgers and he was the first black player in Major League Baseball. Uhlberg pays tribute to Jackie Robinson and how this athlete brought together a deaf father with his hearing son and inspired the entire New York community in the summer of 1947.

January 31: STEALING HOME: JACKIE ROBINSON: AGAINST THE ODDS

Jackie Robinson, baseball player
Jan. 31, 1919-Oct. 24, 1972

 Stealing Home: Jackie Robinson: Against the Odds by Robert Burleigh, illustrated by Mike Wimmer (Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books, 2007).

In the 1955 World Series, Jackie Robinson steals home and Burleigh captures this intense moment in history. The text also includes snippets of Robinson’s early life, career highlights and introduces young readers to the segregated nature of baseball during this time period.