Camp COVID Summer Learning: Black Joy! Our Black History Awakening

What If . . .

Hello Friends!

As part of our summer learning adventure, we are in the midst of an amazing, eye-opening, heart-swelling journey through Black History. It’s all coming together visually with our Black History Awakening Mural project. The recipe here is simple: Books + movies + crafts = mural. This beautiful mural is serving as a deep-conversation starter hanging right on our dining room wall!

In the last several weeks, we have talked about white privilege, racism, slavery, oppression, Civil Rights, and more. We have stood witness to stories of courage, faith, strength, conviction, and more.

Internal Spread of What If...

What If . . . This picture book is about the importance of creativity and passion and shows in such a gorgeous and compelling way, the ever present nature of your inner voice and capacity to express yourself. LOVE THIS BOOK!

But in reading my fellow children’s literature colleagues’ tweets about Black Lives Matter, they taught me about the importance of #BlackJoy. I want to make sure that Black Joy is a big part of our exploration of what it means to be Black in America. That means reading books that offer additional context for Black life, an understanding that Blackness itself is not synonymous with pain.

Joy, sense of family, traditions, everyday life, love, curiosity, etc. are all part of the human experience, and are also part of the Black experience. And our journey should reflect that and so should our bookshelves!

Well, what a wonderful, wonderful development. From reading about the importance of gorgeous hats for a Sunday’s best kind of outfit, to standing with Jabari as he tackles the fear of jumping off of a diving board for the very first time, to discovering the eternal well of creativity and proclaiming we are enough… here are a few of our favorites and a list to discover even more.

Tiara's Hat Parade

Tiara’s Hat Parade is a gorgeous book. And I love the Author’s notes that go into great detail about the importance of hats in Black culture and why! This book is a great choice for the classroom and for home learning.

Throughout our Black History Awakening project, we are printing out the covers of the books we are reading and pasting them on our mural. Our mural is starting to really look cool!

Black History Awakening Mural


Here’s a fabulous list from School Library Journal of more books to celebrate #BlackJoy. We are just getting started! If you are new to the blog, welcome! Want to make a Black History Awakening Mural? Check out my first posts on this project for ideas or simply click the “Camp Covid” Category to the right!

Friends, I don’t say it enough. I’m so glad you are here and we are taking this journey together.


P.S. Here’s who I’m learning from on Twitter. Consider joining me in following them and amplifying Black Voices. Young Adult Author and all around incredible woman Ibi Zoboi¬†and Children’s Author and champion of Black artists Larissa Marantz. Who are you learning from on Twitter or Instagram? Please share in the comments below! And add to our booklist with your recommendations!