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Jump Into the Sky, by Shelley Pearsall

Summary:  Levi’s staying with his Aunt Odella while his father is serving in the U.S. Army. But it’s 1945, and the war is nearly over, and Aunt Odella decides it’s time for Levi to do some leaving of his own. Before he can blink, Levi finds himself on a train from Chicago to Fayettville, North Carolina, where his father is currently stationed–last they knew.  Levi makes his way across the United States–searching for his father and finding out about himself, his country, and what it truly means to belong.

Alfred A. Knopf

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Bird in a Box, by Andrea Davis Pinkney

Summary:  In 1936, three children meet at the Mercy Home for Negro Orphans in New York State, and while not all three are orphans, they are all dealing with grief and loss which together, along with the help of a sympathetic staff member and the boxing matches of Joe Louis, they manage to overcome.

Little, Brown

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The Other Half of My Heart, by Sundee Tucker Frazier

Summary: Twin daughters of interracial parents, eleven-year-olds Keira and Minna have very different skin tones and personalities, but it is not until their African American grandmother enters them in the Miss Black Pearl Pre-Teen competition in North Carolina that red-haired and pale-skinned Minna realizes what life in their small town in the Pacific Northwest has been like for her more outgoing, darker-skinned sister.  304 p., Delacorte.

The Rock and the River by Kekla Magoon

rockSummary: In 1968 Chicago, fourteen-year-old Sam Childs is caught in a conflict between his father’s nonviolent approach to seeking civil rights for African Americans and his older brother, who has joined the Black Panther Party. 290 p., Aladdin.

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Traveling the Freedom Road: From Slavery & the Civil War through Reconstruction by Linda Osborne

travellingSummary: This book features illustrations, original documents, photographs and first-person narratives to give an account of slavery, the Civil War, and Reconstruction. Includes a time line. 128 p., Abrams Books for Young Readers.

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Ain’t Nothing But a Man: My Quest for the Real John Henry by Scott Reynolds Nelson

Summary: Historian Scott Reynolds Nelson recounts how he came to discover the real John Henry, an African-American railroad worker who became a legend in the famous song. 64 p., National Geographic.

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We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball by Kadir Nelson

Summary: Using an “Everyman” player as his narrator, Kadir Nelson tells the story of Negro League baseball from its beginnings in the 1920s through the decline after Jackie Robinson crossed over to the majors in 1947. Illustrations from oil paintings by artist Kadir Nelson. 88 p., Jump at the Sun/Hyperion Books for Children.

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