May 2022

Jayla Jumps In
Jayla Jumps In

Jayla Jumps In by author, University of Detroit graduate, and now Washington D.C. educator Joy Jones shares the exciting story of generational love for the sport of Double Dutch. This true story of a District of Columbia jump rope team unites a community while bringing a young teen closer to her allying mother. If you’re looking for an exciting and inspiring book for teens, this book is for you. During a recent trip back to my hometown of Washington, D.C. I visited the main branch of the District of Columbia Library where I spent many of days in my youth studying and working on projects. To my amazement, the fourth floor of The Martin Luther King Jr. Library was an exhibit with the actual jump rope used in several competitions. As a native Washingtonian and now transplant to Metropolitan Detroit, two cities which are dear to my heart, I rate Jayla Jumps In 5 out of 5 stars. This book fully tells the story of inner-city life and its challenges and triumphs of African-American life for young and old alike and what bends communities. Buy Now!

Fifty Cents and a Dream - Young Booker T. Washington
Fifty Cents and a Dream - Young Booker T. Washington

This May in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, we are spotlighting Booker T. Washington’s Fifty Cents and A Dream. This pioneering trailblazer sought to teach negro men and women reading and writing in a formal setting which became the Tuskegee Institute. Author Jabari Asim examines the early years which formed the opinion and mindset of this future educator. Young Booker T’s determination to educate others who look like him while growing up in Virginia cultivated a dream resulting in him acquiring land in Alabama and creating the Tuskegee Institute. Charles Collectibles and Books LLC highly rates this book for young readers 5 out of 5 stars. Bryan Collier’s illustrations are vivid and the verbiage is ideal for early childhood readers. This is an inspiring storybook that fosters the next generation of African American leaders. Buy Now!

April 2022

Little Legends Exceptional Men
Little Legends Exceptional Men

Little Legends Exceptional Men In Black History by author Vashti Harrison is a refreshing look for young and old alike at trailblazing African American male pioneers. At a time in history when black men are illustrated or written about as slaves or uneducated men, Vashti reminds America and the world of 36 men who changed the world as we know it. Read about such men as Benjamin Banneker, Dr. Charles R. Drew, Arthur Ashe, Chuck D, Lonnie Johnson, and others. From surveying land, activism, Inventions, and pioneering medical procedures and other fields of study, black men have always led by example often failing to receive recognition. If you are looking to inspire a young person or learn something new yourself, this book is for you. Charles Collectibles and Books LLC rates this outstanding book 5 out of 5 stars. Buy Now!

Life After Death by acclaimed Urban Fiction Author Sista Souljah
Life After Death

Life After Death by acclaimed Urban Fiction Author Sista Souljah is the sequel to the award-winning bestseller The Coldest Winter Ever. Winter is released from prison and wants to reclaim her father’s empire and seek revenge against those who wronged her. This is a first edition hardcover copy autographed by Sista Souljah and includes a Certificate of Authenticity (COA) by Premiere Collectibles. Fans of this great author will enjoy this new release. Charles Collectibles and Books LLC rates Life After Death 4.5 out of 5 stars. Buy Now!

Chef Ayesha Curry  cookbook Full Plate
Full Plate

Spring is here and summer is around the corner. Chef Ayesha Curry has put together some delicious and easy to make recipes in her cookbook Full Plate. See mouthwatering dishes like New Orleans Seafood Boil, scrumptious Burgers and fries and great pasta dishes. This first edition hardcover is signed by Ayesha and is accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity COA and would be a welcome gift for a budding Chef. Enjoy making these meals with your family. Charles Collectibles and Books LLC rates this cookbook 4.5 out of 5 stars. Buy Now!

March 2022

Hairstyles for Me authored by Kathryn Diane Grace
Hairstyles for Me

Hairstyles for Me authored by Kathryn Diane Grace, a retired educator who was inspired by her daughter Regina. Wanting to boost her daughter’s self-esteem and pride in herself, Mrs. Grace felt a void of positive representation in books for African American girls. Attending integrated schools, her daughter had few, if any, images that reflected African American beauty and hairstyles for young black girls - dating back to African Queens and Princesses. This lack of representation was clear in her small Texas town, seeing few African Americans or people’s hair textures who looked like hers. Regina is tender-headed, and her mother ensures her that getting her hair done will not hurt. If you have experienced this with your daughter or family member, you know the trauma it can have psychologically on a young girl. Charles Collectibles and Books rates Hairstyles for Me 4.5 stars out of 5 stars. Buy Now!

Book DK Life Stories by Author Katherine Johnson
DK Life Stories: Katherine Johnson

DK Publishing authorized Ebony Joy Wilkins an opportunity to write an autobiography on Katherine Johnson, America’s first African American NASA Mathematician. Mrs. Johnson’s mathematical calculations were responsible for John Glenn’s return from Space. As a high school graduate at the age of 14, Katherine Coleman would enroll in West Virginia University, an HBCU. Upon graduating from college, she became a teacher and later transitioned to NASA. Ebony Joy Wilkins has done an excellent job in words and pictures of this trailblazing pioneer of Math and Science. Her commitment to the field of STEM has opened the door for thousands of young African American Women interested in Science and Math. Charles Collectibles and Books rates DK Life Stories: Katherine Johnson 5 out of 5 stars. This inspiring story will hopefully encourage future young girls of color to explore career fields in STEM. Buy Now!

Ibram X. Kendi author of Antiracist Baby
Coming On Home Soon

For Women’s History Month and Children’s Reading Month, I decided to highlight a favorite author of mine: Jacqueline Woodson. For more than 20 years, this thought-provoking and acclaimed author has thrilled audiences young and old alike with real life topics that reflect black and brown communities of color. Whether dealing with no longer being the only child in Pecan Pie Baby or having a loved one in jail in Visiting Day; Woodman reaches everyday people with her characters who resemble ordinary black and brown folks like me and you! Woodson’s works have been translated into multiple languages throughout the world introducing this black woman author to millions of readers worldwide. Her protagonist reflects teenage and young adults’ lives with subject matter like teen pregnancy, death of a child by the police, interracial dating, mental illness and teen suicide among many of her book titles. If you haven’t had the opportunity to read any of Jacqueline Woodson’s works, add them to your reading list. Buy Now!

February 2022

author Carole Boston Weatherford book Becoming Billie Holliday
Becoming Billie Holliday

Award winning author Carole Boston Weatherford explores the troubled and complicated story of Eleanora Fagan, better known to most people as Billie Holiday. Becoming Billie Holliday is a collection of poems and songs examining the music of this legendary artist in pictures and words. Illustrator Floyd Cooper has added world class illustrations of that era. While this book is geared toward young readers, it opens a candid and frank discussion of civil rights, segregation, racism and other challenging topics for middle school and high school students. Those issues that our ancestors faced during their lives continue to exist today and the book serves as a blueprint for change. The book also highlights the importance of examining the past in order to navigate the future. Buy Now!

Book cover Well That Escalated Quickly
Well That Escalated Quickly

Comedian and social media sensation-via-YouTube, Franchesca Ramsey, became an accidental activist. Her debut book Well That Escalated Quickly examines the life of this rising star in comedy, political activism and the Black Lives Matter movement. She discusses her experiences in school, work and other areas, imparting the wisdom she’s learned along the way. This book is a fun yet quirky memoir about the zig-zag of a life’s path. Franchesca is your sister, your coworker and the girl next door trying to navigate life without allowing racist and misogynistic actions to affect her and others. Her desire to speak candidly and honestly while speaking up for others turns her into this accidental activist. Buy Now!

Ibram X. Kendi author of Antiracist Baby
Antiracist Baby

Ibram X. Kendi, author of Antiracist Baby, provides a nine-point plan for parents, teachers and other adults to prevent teaching negative, learned racist behavior to children. Some of the principles outlined in the book include: showing love for all children and not seeing people by color. While this is a children’s board book, the subject matter is designed and geared toward first and second grade students. If you are looking for a children’s book on equity and inclusion, Charles Collectibles and Books highly recommends this book. Buy Now!

January 2022

Herb Boyd  - Civil Rights Yesterday and Today
Civil Rights Yesterday and Today

Noted African American historian and author Herb Boyd has written multiple books on African American Culture. Today, we examine one of his earlier works Civil Rights Yesterday & Today. This hardcover book chronicles the Civil Rights Movement from the 19th century through the mid 2010 ear when America nominated and elected its first African American President Barack Obama. He writes about African American pioneers such as Nat Turner, A. Phillip Randolph, James Farmer, Ida B. Wells, Fannie Lou Hamer, Bayard Rustin, Barbara Jordan, John Lewis and Jessie Jackson. This book is ideal if you are explaining African American History to an audience under 30 years old. While Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a major focal point of the Civil Rights Movement, it didn’t start with Dr. King, nor will it end with him. Its been said that those who don’t know their history are doomed to repeat it. Take time to educate a young person about those ancestors who served as trailblazers for today’s and tomorrow’s future leaders. Charles Collectibles and Books rates this book 5 out of 5 stars. Buy Now!

What Do You Do With A Voice Like That by author Chris Barton
What Do You Do With A Voice Like That?

With A Voice Like That by author Chris Barton and illustrated by Ekua Holmes tells the story of legendary pioneer Barbara Jordan. Barbara Jordan was the first African American Woman to represent the City of Houston, Texas as their congressional representative in the United States of Congress. This former educator lead by example encouraging others to fight for the poor and working-class residents of Harris County. At that time, Ms. Jordan was only one of a handful of African American Women in the United States Congress. If you have a young activist in your household than this African American children’s book is for them. Not only is it inspiring, Ekua Holmes has done Barbara Jordan honor and justice with her vivid illustrations of this civil rights trailblazer and pioneer of history. Charles Collectibles and Books rates this book 4.5 out of 5.00 stars. This book is ideal for readers first through third grade. Buy Now!

Gordon Parks: How the Photographer Captured Black and White America
How the Photographer Captured Black and White America

Our final book review for January is Gordan Parks How the Photograph Captured Black and White America by author Carole Boston Weatherford. Gordan Parks is a legendary photographer who viewed African American life through the lines of a camera. This illustrated children’s book by Carole Boston Weatherford examines Mr. Parks early years. It’s a great book for young and adult fans of Gordan Parks. As a trailblazer, Mr. Parks photographed black people in everyday life through the lines of his camera bringing honor, pride, sadness and love to African Americans. This is a great inspirational book for African American children from the first grade to third grade. Charles Collectibles and Books rates this book 5 out of 5 stars. Enjoy the book and inspire the future photographer in your home or classroom. Buy Now!

December 2021

We Chose You! by Tony and Lauren Dungy
We Chose You!

We Chose You! by Tony and Lauren Dungy focus on an important topic in America and the African American Community Foster Care and Adoption.  This book is well illustrated and has an important message of love.  Calvin is a young child who must talk about his family as part of a classroom assignment.  Unknown to Calvin, his parents prayed for a blessing which they received in him.  Charles Collectibles and Books review of this book 4.5 stars out of f stars. The Dungy family believes in foster care and adoption having numerous children that they have shown love and caring over several decades. Buy Now!

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Why Am I Here? A Child’s Book of Purpose by author Naomi Dunsen-White
Why Am I Here? A Child’s Book of Purpose

Why Am I Here?  A Child’s Book About Purpose is the latest creation by author Naomi Dunsen-White.  This hardcover book examines the thoughts of two young children about their purpose in life and how they can impact change around the world.  Inspiring young people is the driving force behind Mrs. Naomi is donating over 500 copies of her latest book to several underserved communities throughout Michigan.  While I have not had an opportunity to review Naomi’s book in person yet.  I look forward to reading it and encourage readers to support local authors who have made a commitment to speaking for the youngest and most vulnerable citizens and our future leaders.  I focused on these two books to spotlight foster care and adoption.  Both Naomi and the Dungy family are foster care activist.

While living in Lansing, Michigan in the mid 1990’s, I worked for a Michigan based Public Relations Firm and was asked to create a statewide campaign focusing on the need for families to foster and adopt African American children here in Michigan through African American Churches.  One Church One Child is a national program stated by Father George Clemens, a Chicago Area priest.  If you have it in your heart and have time, please consider making a difference in a child’s life.

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November 2021

Welcome To The Party by Actress, Gabrielle Union
Welcome To The Party

Actress, Gabrielle Union shares her debut children's book Welcome To The Party. Union shares with us her challenging but joyous birth of her baby girl and her introduction to her new family. Sharing her desire to have a child, Gabrielle narrates the introduction of her new bundle of joy Kaavia to her husband Dwayne Wade, grandparents and Wade's elder children. This book shows the true meaning of love and becoming a first time parent. Charles Collectibles and Books rates this book 4.5 out of 5 stars. Buy Now!

Pathfinders: The Journeys of 16 Extraordinary Black Souls
Pathfinders: The Journeys of 16 Extraordinary Black Souls

Historical African American author Tonya Bolden examines 16 Extraordinary Black Trailblazers who paved the way for many of today's professional, academic and sports heroes. Current Nascar driver Bubba Wallace can thank pioneers like Charlie Wiggins, a leading early pioneer in Nascar and stock car racing in Indianapolis, Indiana. In 2021, Charlie Wiggins was inducted into the International Automotive Hall of Fame. Katherine Johnson paved the way for Astronauts to travel to and from space with her mathematical calculations needed to return safely to Earth. Mrs. Johnson was one of the extraordinary Black Female Mathematicians in the Film Hidden Figures. Legendary filmmaker Oscar Micheaux paved the way from the 1920's to the 1940's in producing films for and with an all black cast. Micheaux set the path for filmmakers like Gordon Parks, Jordan Peel, John Singleton and Ava DuVernay Read about the other 13 trailblazers who lead by example for many of today's pathfinders. Charles Collectibles and Books rates Pathfinders 5 out of 5 stars. This is an outstanding book for lovers of African American history and is recommended for middle school to adult audiences. Buy Now!

These Hands by book cover
These Hands

These Hands written by Detroit Area author Margaret H. Mason shares the real story of African Americans who worked at the Wonder Bread Bakery in Detroit in the 1950's and 1960's but were told not to touch or bake bread. Through the eyes of an adult and a child named Joseph, Granddad is Joseph's role model and can do anything given the opportunity. This is a powerful yet settle form of discrimination but Granddad leads by example showing Joseph life lessons. Charles Collectibles and Books rates these Hands 4.5 out of 5 stars for young first grade readers. Buy Now!