A tender and powerful affirmation that Black lives have always mattered.
Black lives matter. That message would be self-evident in a just world, but in this world and this America, all children need to hear it again and again, and not just to hear it but to feel and know it.
This book affirms the message repeatedly, tenderly, with cumulative power and shared pride. Celebrating Black accomplishments in music, art, literature, journalism, politics, law, science, medicine, entertainment, and sports, Shani King summons a magnificent historical and contemporary context for honoring the fortitude of Black role models, women and men, who have achieved greatness despite the grinding political and social constraints on Black life. Frederick Douglass, Toni Morrison, Sojourner Truth, John Lewis, Langston Hughes, Louis Armstrong, Maya Angelou, Aretha Franklin, and many more pass through these pages. An America without their struggles, aspirations, and contributions would be a shadow of the country we know. A hundred life sketches augment the narrative, opening a hundred doors to lives and thinking that aren’t included in many history books. James Baldwin’s challenge is here: “We are responsible for the world in which we find ourselves, if only because we are the only sentient force which can change it.” Actress Viola Davis’s words are here, too: “When I was younger, I did not exert my voice because I did not feel worthy of having a voice. I was taught so many things that didn’t include me. Where was I? What were people like me doing?”
This book tells children what people like Viola were and are doing, and it assures Black children that they are, indisputably, worthy of having a voice.
Have I Ever Told You Black Lives Matter? is a book for this time and always. It is time for all children to live and breathe the certainty that Black lives matter.
“A beautiful and powerful story and a way to engage and teach children—on Black history, which is American history, and on the legacy of Black struggle and achievement in this nation.” —Khary Lazarre-White, Executive Director & Co-Founder, The Brotherhood/Sister Sol, and author of Passage
“The world needs this yesterday.” —James Forman Jr., Pulitzer Prize – winning author of Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America
“Fantastic.”—Janai S. Nelson, Associate Director-Counsel, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund
“Black children grow up being treated differently because of the color of their skin. This loving and positive book acknowledges that reality while also celebrating the resilience of Black people and the accomplishments, leadership, and fortitude of Black Americans. We need this book.”—Dr. JudyAnn Bigby, Director of the Harvard Medical School Center of Excellence in Women’s Health and former Secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, Commonwealth of Massachusetts