Thursday, February 17, 2022

TWO MIDDLE GRADE NONFICTION BOOKS from SBP Publishing: Reviews and Giveaways

 In honor of Black History Month, I'm introducing two books published by SPB Publishing. This publisher is a crossover of two Cherry Lake Publishing imprints: Sleeping Bear Press which specializes in fiction and nonfiction trade books, and the more academically-specialized Cherry Lake Press. Both books were published in 2021 but are still pertinent and will impact students for a long time. Since my personal interest leans towards history, I've selected a few pages from each book which highlight history. In both books, the text is complemented by thought-provoking questions and photographs which will promote discussion.


As the author, Joyce Markovics, states in the introduction, "This book describes three protest marches that shaped--and are still shaping the history of the United States. You'll read about the 1963 March on Washington, the 2017 Women's March, and finally the Black Lives matter marches that began in 2020....Keep Marching America!"

1963 March on Washington

What was this march all about?

It was about the biggest protest in US history--250,000 people--coming together to demand equal jobs and freedoms for Black people.

Rooted in enslaved Blacks being abused as slaves as well as the inequality of Jim Crow, the protest brought together people from all over the country with one purpose: to fight against racial injustice. The result of that protest and others was the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which helped thousands more Black Americans vote.

2017 Women's March

On January 21, 2017 women all over the country marched for women's rights in regard to immigration, healthcare, and racial equality. 

But the women's movement started years before that.

An early women's rights parade.

Women won the right to vote in 1920, but women continued to call for more active roles in society. 

In 2017, 653 marches changed many women's attitudes and actions. The ramifications of those marches are still felt today.

2020 Black Lives Matter Marches

In 2020, the first BLM marches protested the death of an unarmed Black man, George Floyd. Marchers were looking for radical change after experiencing years of racism.

"Because of racism, Black men are viewed as more dangerous than other people. This can lead to false arrests and killings.

BLM was formed after Trayvan Martin's murder. It continues today to as a voice that says, "Black lives should be just as important as other lives."


The introduction of this book, written by one of the authors, Kelisa Wing, states: "No one is born a racist. Racism is taught, and anything that is taught can be unlearned... We hope this book will create a safe entry point for you to start to have courageous conversations, give you a safe and brave space for learning, and allow you to see yourself as an agent of change."  This theme is carried throughout the book through Ms. Wing's words and those of Hedreich Nichols and Leigh Ann Erickson.

What is Anti-Racism?

After the basics of racism are shown, the authors explore where the word "race" came from and how the concept of a "master race" was promoted in Nazi Germany. This exploration also includes how Native Americans were percieved and mistreated because of their skin color. 

The authors point out racism in the past,

as well as in the present, and how students can fight against racism at home, in their schools, and in their community. This section ends with a quote from civil rights leader Fannie Lou Hamer, "Nobody's free until everybody's free."

What is White Privilege?

Using the image of a runner, the authors explain that the obstacles which are placed for a Black person's "race" are much different --and more difficult--than for a White runner. They go on to discuss how White boys are more likely to graduate from college and obtain a successful job than Black boys. 

Where did White privilege come from? The authors look at the consequences of slavery, the KKK, and segregation. 

The authors end this section with ideas about how students can take action. Going back to the running analogy, they point out, "...will you really feel good at the end of the race when you look back and see others fighting obstacles that you didn't even have? Instead of taking off down your path, what if you helped take away the obstacles in other runners' paths?"

What is the Black Lives Matter Movement?

Many students are aware of BLM, but do they know the backstory behind it? The authors take readers back to enslavement and Jim Crow laws and segregation.

They show the results of mob violence,

discuss the formation of activist groups like the NAACP, and highlight important aspects of civil rights history.

This section ends with the impact of BLM today and how students can support the movement.

Both of these books will be useful in promoting classroom discussions.

I will be sharing this book on Greg Pattridge's wonderful middle grade book blog on Monday. You can find LOTS more books there!



Leave me your name and email address (if you are new to my blog) in the comments along with your book preference. U.S. addresses only. Giveaway ends Tuesday, February 22 at 8 PM.  Congratulations to Sue Heavenrich who won I Escaped North Korea.


Danielle H. said...

Thank you for such details looks inside of both of these important books. I think all readers need these in their lives, including myself. Thank you also for the chance to win a copy to read and review. I would love to win a copy of RACIAL JUSTICE IN AMERICA: TOPICS for CHANGE.

Carol Baldwin said...

The list starts with you, Danielle!

Rosi said...

These both look like wonderful books. I will pass on the giveaway and hope that a teacher wins. These really belong in a classroom. Thanks for the post.

Theresa Milstein said...

These all sound wonderful, and are books I'd want in my classroom to discuss with my students. Thank you for highlighting these important books.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks Rosi and Theresa. Theresa, your name goes in the hat.

Patricia T. said...

I enjoyed how you reviewed both books. Sometimes nonfiction is difficult to review, especially when the books are great resource books for school libraries. I've reviewed similar books in the past, so I'm going to pass. I still have some nonfiction to review. But, these are great books and I'd most likely pass them along to a school I donate to. Happy 2-22-22!

Greg Pattridge said...

What great resources to learn about important topics in our history. Perfect timing too during Black History Month. I've forwarded your post to several teachers and hope they will enter the giveaway. Unfortunately, I'm still backlogged with books. Thanks for featuring your post on MMGM.

Carol Baldwin said...

thanks Patricia and Greg. Yes, these books belong in the classroom or school library.

Susan Wroble said...

Both books look fabulous, and I appreciate the introduction to Cherry Lake Publishing. I would love to read them and review them and then get them in the hands of kids! Thanks for the opportunity.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Susan. I'll add your name to the giveaway!

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