7 Children’s Books for the 7 Days of Kwanzaa

img_2410Weekly Trip to the Library

Kwanzaa is a non religious celebration started 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 nanny kids. Don’t forget to stop by next Saturday for more book recommendations for our Weekly Trip to the Library.

img_2402Seven Spools of Thread: A Kwanzaa Story by Angela Shelf Medearis

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 story takes place in an African village where seven brothers make life miserable with their constant fighting. When their father dies, he leaves an unusual will: by sundown, the brothers must make gold out of seven spools of thread or they will be turned out as beggars. 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.

img_2403Li’l Rabbit’s Kwanzaa by Donna L. Washington

In this story Li’l Rabbit is not having a very good Kwanzaa. Granna Rabbit is sick, and so his family won’t celebrate his favorite part of Kwanzaa this year: a big feast called Karamu. Li’l Rabbit knows what to do. He decides to find Granna Rabbit a special treat for Karamu so she can celebrate anyway. He looks under a pile of logs, in the field, and in the pond and along the way meets Groundhog, Momma Field Mouse, and the frogs — but he doesn’t find anything for Granna Rabbit. But he gets a help from his family and friends. Inspired by Brer Rabbit, a trickster character from the African American folklore tradition, the story of Li’l Rabbit captures the true meaning of Kwanzaa — coming together to help others.

img_2404It’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.

img_2406The Gifts of Kwanzaa by Synthia Saint James

Synthia Saint James’ artwork, with 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.

img_2407Kevin’s Kwanzaa by Lisa Bullard

Kevin’s family is celebrating the seven days of Kwanzaa. Kevin helps his mom decorate the Kwanzaa table. They light candles with Grandma and Grandpa and learn a special word each day. They talk about working together and solving problems. On the sixth day, everyone eats and dances at a big feast. ultural activity for the kids. The illustrations are colorful and appealing for young kids. I also liked how the author makes it simple enough for kids to be able to understand the concepts of Kwanzaa.

img_2408Let’s Celebrate Kwanzaa!: An Introduction To The Pan-Afrikan Holiday, Kwanzaa, For The Whole Family by Arielle Phoenix

In this book, you will learn about the seven principles of Kwanzaa and how to apply them. These principles are emphasized and reinforced during Kwanzaa but can and should be used as a foundation for personal development, betterment, growth, knowledge, and self-love. Kwanzaa is often misunderstood or assumed to be a religious holiday, but through the examples in this book it becomes apparent why all Africans (at home and abroad), regardless of religion, tribe, or political stance can benefit from acknowledging, applying, and teaching the next generation about the seven principles of Kwanzaa.

img_2409Mr. Shipman’s Kindergarten Chronicles: December Celebrations by Terance Shipman

Although this book isn’t only about Kwanzaa, but Christmas, Hanukkah, Santa Claus as well, it is sold out everywhere I look because it’s so popular. Reviews say it is the new timeless classic and has earned its place among other classic like “The Night Before Christmas” and “The Polar Express.” In the story, Dewayne, a kindergartner rushes in the kitchen after school waving a letter from his teacher about the December celebration, his sister Banicia and mother help him understand what’s about to happen. It is an entertaining story of the wonder and excitement. Join Banaica as she recalls the December celebrations in Mr. Shipman’s classroom the favorite time of the year. Mr. Shipman is their kindergarten teacher, and he makes the month of December a fun, educational, multicultural celebrations that your child will never forget!

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