7 Children’s Books for the 7 Days of Kwanzaa

Weekly Trip to the Library

Kwanzaa is a non religious celebration s

tarted by Dr. Maulana Kareng, a professor of Black Studies at California State University, Long Beach, in 1966, as a way to bring together the African-American community. Here are our picks for some children’s books about Kwanzaa to share with your charges.

1. Celebrate Kwanzaa by National Geographic

Celebrate Kwanzaa: with Candles, Community and the Fruits of the Harvest is part of National Geographic’s Holidays Around the World series for children in grades one to four. Celebrate Kwanzaa is a book illustrated with color photographs, designed with a picture book format, includes facts about the holiday.  The book shows people in different cities and countries celebrating the holiday, as well as additional resources in the section at the end of the book.

2. It’s Kwanzaa Time by Linda Goss

This book has it all: history, stories, crafts, games, recipes, and songs. It was written by Linda and Clay Goss. The stories, one for each day and principle of Kwanzaa, include illustrations by award-winning artists, including Ashley Bryan, Leo and Diane Dillon, Jan Spivey Gilchrist, and Jerry Pinkney. The stories range from folktales to true stories.

3. Seven Candles for Kwanzaa by Andrea Davis Pinkney

In this 63-page nonfiction book, Andrea Davis Pinkney provides a straightforward account of the celebration of Kwanzaa that provides a good introduction to Kwanzaa for all ages. What sets the book apart are the illustrations by Brian Pinkney. Using scratchboard and oil pastels, the artist provides striking illustrations to accompany the information about the origins and activities of Kwanzaa, illustrating each day with family activities.

4. The Gifts of Kwanzaa by Synthia Saint James

Synthia Saint James’ artwork, with its bold colors and simple shapes, will immediately engage young children’s attention. A young girl’s family prepares for, and enjoys, Kwanzaa. Along with an explanation of the family’s activities, the author provides examples of what the principles of Kwanzaa mean that even quite young children should be able to understand.

5. Seven Spools of Thread

The story, the striking artwork, and the clever way both are used to illustrate the seven principles of Kwanzaa make Seven Spools of Thread an exceptional children’s Kwanzaa picture book for all ages. The author is Angela Shelf Medearis, the popular author of numerous children’s books. Daniel Minter’s linoleum block prints complement the story, yet stand alone as dramatic pieces of art.

6. Kwanzaa Karamu: Cooking and Crafts for a Kwanzaa Feast by April A. Brady

The subtitle of this book, Cooking and Crafts for a Kwanzaa Feast, provides an accurate description of its contents. After a description of Kwanzaa’sKnutson and photographs by Robert L. and Diane Wolfe.

7. Crafts for Kwanzaa by Kathy Ross

This book provides directions for 20 Kwanzaa crafts. Sharon Lane Holm’s colorful sketches and Kathy Ross’ clear directions make it a joy to use. Included at the beginning of the book is an overview of the holiday. Throughout the book, Ross introduces Swahili words and describes the relationship of the crafts to the celebration of Kwanzaa.

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