The people who make our history
IT’S easy to think of history as being about big events – wars, elections, laws – that took place a long time ago. Sometimes history doesn’t seem to be very personal at all.
But history is about people. Humans create history. They start wars – or end them. People also change history. They look around and ask, “Why is the world the way it is?” And then they go out and make the world a better place.
Below, you’ll find books about five people. They saw things wrong in the world and spoke out against them. They made beautiful music that they wanted to share with everyone. They dreamed of going to school.
They are Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Booker T. Washington, Sarah Breedlove Walker and Ella Fitzgerald.
Here are some books for children about these history makers: ● Nelson Mandela Written and illustrated by Kadir Nelson. Age 6 and older.
This beautiful book uses poetry to tell the story of Nelson Mandela. As a boy of just nine, Mandela’s father died and he was sent away to school.
Mandela saw that black people in South Africa were treated differently. As a young man, he spoke out about how wrong that was.
For this he was put in prison, where he stayed for 27 years. But today, because of Mandela’s actions there is no more apartheid in South Africa.
● Desmond and the Very Mean Word
By Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Douglas Carlton Abrams; illustrated by AG Ford. Age 7 and older.
This book tells the story of what happened to Desmond Tutu growing up in South Africa, where white and black people were separated by apartheid.
Young Desmond had just got a new bike and he was very proud of it, but as he rode it through the streets of his town, some white boys taunted him, calling him a very mean word.
With the help of an understanding grown-up, he learnt an important lesson that would help him go on to win the Nobel Peace prize. This is a book about that story.
● Fifty Cents and a Dream: Young Booker T. Washington
By Jabari Asim; illustrated by Bryan Collier. Age six and older.
This is a beautiful book that may surprise kids who groan about going to school. Booker T. Washington was born a slave and when he was freed, he wanted more than anything to learn to read.
As a slave, he would see white children go to school and he wished he could be there. When he was old enough, Washington travelled 500 kilometres by foot to go to college. But his dream would not end there.
Washington would go on not just to read books but to write them, and he would not just go to college but one day he would start one of his own.
● Vision of Beauty: The Story of Sarah Breedlove Walker
By Kathryn Lasky; illustrated by Nneka Bennett. Age 8 and up.
Sarah Breedlove Walker, a daughter to former slaves worked in a laundry as a young black girl in the US in the 1870s.
But she went on to become a successful businesswoman, selling health and beauty products to black women. She used the money to help others.
● Skit-Scat Raggedy Cat: Ella Fitzgerald
By Roxane Orgill. Illustrated by Sean Qualls. Age 8 and older.
As a girl growing up in New York City, Ella Fitzgerald loved music and dancing. Some didn’t consider her pretty, and said she had small eyes. That changed when she danced. But her mom died when Ella was 14, and she no longer felt like dancing.
Scared and shy after her mom’s death. Ella found the courage to enter a singing competition. And because of her talent, people came to know she was a star. – Washington Post
WARMTH: Nelson Mandela chats to children and the cover of the book Nelson.
by Kadir SHARING: Desmond Tutu reads to children. TRIUMPH: Desmond story is titled