Books by Eric Velasquez

Released: Oct. 1, 2013

"This splendid "jump story" is not for the faint of heart, but readers who relish edge-of-the-seat suspense done impeccably will be well-satisfied. (Picture book. 6-10)"
Storyteller McKissack crafts a spine-tingling tale set during colonial times about a greedy man who just may get the scare of his life. Read full book review >
AS FAST AS WORDS COULD FLY by Pamela M. Tuck
Released: April 1, 2013

"A warm, if understated, title about the struggle for equality. (author's note) (Picture book. 5-8)"
A tribute to her father, Tuck's school desegregation story highlights an African-American boy's triumph in a typing tournament. Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 8, 2013

"History made immediate and meaningful. (author's note, bibliography, further reading, websites) (Informational picture book. 8-12)"
In a collective act of protest and heroism, an Ohio community successfully defied the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act. Read full book review >
SWIM! by Marilyn  Brigham
Released: May 1, 2012

"Forced enthusiasm and confusing images sink this experience. (Board book. 1-3)"
This ho-hum dip in the pool skims the surface without wading in the deep. Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 15, 2012

"A useful title in which young readers can gain an appreciation of a ground-breaking African-American sports figure. (author's note) (Picture book/biography. 5-10)"
Despite growing up in a community that was racially segregated, William Powell persisted in playing the game he loved, golf. Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 1, 2012

"A solid introduction to a lesser-known sports heroine. (author's note, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 6-9) "
Malaspina's free verse tells the story of how Alice Coachman went from her Georgia hometown to the 1948 London Olympics, becoming the first African-American woman to win an Olympic gold medal. Read full book review >
MY UNCLE MARTIN'S WORDS FOR AMERICA by Angela Farris Watkins
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Sept. 1, 2011

Following My Uncle Martin's Big Heart (2010), this effort focuses more on King's work to end segregation than his life as a family man.

Explaining Jim Crow laws and the Civil Rights movement to a very young audience is not easy, but Watkins and Velasquez rise to the challenge with grace and warmth. Read full book review >

GRANDMA'S GIFT by Eric  Velasquez
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Oct. 1, 2010

In this touching autobiographical prequel to Grandma's Records (2004), Velasquez recalls a special Christmas vacation during his childhood when he stayed with his grandmother in El Barrio (Spanish Harlem). Read full book review >

MY UNCLE MARTIN'S BIG HEART by Angela Farris Watkins
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Sept. 1, 2010

Martin Luther King's niece offers a child's-eye tribute to her famous uncle, whom she remembers as warm and loving, a man with a loud voice who enjoyed a good laugh. Read full book review >

MY FRIEND MAYA LOVES TO DANCE by Cheryl Willis Hudson
FICTION
Released: April 1, 2010

An African-American girl loves attending ballet class, tapping to jazz, singing in church and freestyling in the mall, but dancing in "kente cloth is best." Read full book review >

VOICES OF CHRISTMAS by Nikki Grimes
RELIGION
Released: Oct. 1, 2009

Grimes uses her talent as a poet to retell the Nativity story from several different viewpoints, each one a distinct voice with its own style. Read full book review >

THE RAIN STOMPER  by Addie Boswell
FICTION
Released: Sept. 1, 2008

It's the first day of spring, and Jazmin can't wait for the big parade. Read full book review >

I, MATTHEW HENSON by Carole Boston Weatherford
ADVENTURE
Released: Jan. 1, 2008

A poetic first-person narrative puts readers in Matthew Henson's head as he endures institutionalized discrimination to pursue greatness in adventure, moving from cabin boy to able seaman, stock boy to explorer, eventually one of "[s]ix men—one black, one white, four Eskimos—" to reach the North Pole in 1909. Read full book review >

JESSE OWENS by Carole Boston Weatherford
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Jan. 1, 2007

This soaring tribute to Owens reserves biographical details for the afterword, focusing instead on his Olympics experience from arrival in Berlin to triumphant ticker-tape parade back in New York. Read full book review >

BIOGRAPHY
Released: Jan. 1, 2007

Brewster introduces the multi-talented life of the man known to the French as Le Mozart Noir. Read full book review >

A SEASON FOR MANGOES by Regina Hanson
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: April 18, 2005

Through this gentle story of a Jamaican "sit-up" for a beloved grandmother who has recently died, readers will learn much about the love of family, customs and foods in the Jamaican culture. Read full book review >

ADVENTURE
Released: March 1, 2005

Still a name with which to conjure, Houdini left swaths of his past and his techniques shrouded in mystery—but here veteran biographer Krull peeks behind the curtain for glimpses of his life, his feats and his character. Read full book review >

LIBERTY STREET by Candice Ransom
FICTION
Released: Dec. 1, 2003

Kezia is a slave in the small household of Missus Grace. Read full book review >

GRANDMA’S RECORDS by Eric  Velasquez
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: May 1, 2001

In his debut as an author, Velasquez, illustrator of The Sound That Jazz Makes (2000) tells an entertaining first-person story (presumably autobiographical) of an unnamed Puerto Rican boy in the '50s who spends every summer with his grandmother in Spanish Harlem. Read full book review >

CHAMPION by Jim Haskins
BIOGRAPHY
Released: May 1, 2001

On the heels of the film, a new picture-book biography of the boxing powerhouse accorded the title of "Athlete of the Century." Read full book review >

THE SOUND THAT JAZZ MAKES by Carole Boston Weatherford
HISTORY
Released: April 1, 2000

A brief history of African American music told in rhyme and dramatically rendered oils. Read full book review >

THE PIANO MAN by Debbi Chocolate
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Feb. 1, 1998

Chocolate (Kente Colors, 1996, etc.) refers to her grandfather as the man behind this story, but this memory piece about a pianist in the days of silent films and vaudeville comes with the standard disclaimer—that all the characters and events are fictitious. A narrator talks about her grandfather, who gave the audiences of silent movies the appropriate thrills with his piano music, teamed up for dancing with his wife, and then returned to the movie theater when his daughter was born. Read full book review >

OFF AND RUNNING by Gary Soto
FICTION
Released: Sept. 1, 1996

Miata (The Skirt, 1992) is running for class president against Rudy and Alex (Boys at Work, 1995), but her campaign to beautify the school has less natural appeal than the boys' endearingly goofy promises of more recess and ice cream. Read full book review >

THE TERRIBLE, WONDERFUL TELLIN' AT HOG HAMMOCK by Kim Siegelson
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: June 30, 1996

Living on a remote island in the marshes of coastal Georgia, Jonas is looking forward to the big storytelling, a gathering of all the islanders. Read full book review >

THE SKIRT by Gary Soto
FICTION
Released: Oct. 1, 1992

Again, fourth-grader Miata Ramirez has lost something. Read full book review >

FRONT PORCH STORIES AT THE ONE-ROOM SCHOOL by Eleanora E. Tate
FICTION
Released: Sept. 1, 1992

Some of the lively characters in Just an Overnight Guest (1980) return in this celebration of storytelling and small-town life. Read full book review >