28 Days: Moments in Black History That Changed the World by Charles R. Smith Jr. | SLJ Audio Review

redstarSmith, Charles R., Jr. 28 Days: Moments in Black History That Changed the World. 1 CD w/Tr book. 68:45 min. Live Oak. Jan. 2016. $31.95. ISBN 9781430120247. 28 Days Moments in Black History That Changed the World by Charles R. Smith Jr.

Gr 2-5 –Each of the 28 entries in this excellent work, written to be used during Black History Month, highlights the achievements of an African American man or woman, or the details of a court decision or historical event, the effects of which are still felt today. Vibrant poetry begins many of the selections, followed by further information that provides a quick overview of the subjects’ significance. Highlighting individuals from Crispus Attucks to Barack Obama, this presentation offers a rich overview of African American history. The stellar cast of narrators—Dion Graham, William Jackson Harper, Zainab Jah, January LaVoy, Robin Miles, Lizan Mitchell, Jonathan Earl Peck, and Carter Woodson Redwood—use their vocal talents to bring the words to life. Rich, lyrical voices unite to proclaim freedom, rejoice in justice, and impart information, while occasional appropriate background music and sound effects enhance the production. Having each entry on a separate track makes this an easy tool for teachers to use. The material, however, is best appreciated while viewing Shane W. Evans’s bold, textured mixed-media illustrations. Ah, but what about leap years? An open-ended 29th day is included, singing of hope for the future. VERDICT This is an exceptional production that merits a place in any library serving children. [“Highly recommended as a reference book, an example of poetic forms, and a work of art”: SLJ 1/15 review of the Roaring Brook book.]–Teresa Bateman, Brigadoon Elementary, Federal Way, WA

This review was published in the School Library Journal July 2016 issue.

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