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I'm not sure how I missed this one when I was working on my February 7th Black History Bios blog.  Luckily, I stumbled across it while looking for something completely unrelated in the biographies.  Winner of Lee & Low’s New Voices Award, Hammering for Freedom tells the true story of one man’s skill, hard work, and resolve to keep his family together.  Established in 2000, the New Voices Award encourages writers of color and Native nations to submit their work to a publisher that takes pride in nurturing new talent.

Hammering for Freedom: The William Lewis Story by Rita Lorraine Hubbard (September 4, 2018)
The true story of William “Bill” Lewis, a man born into slavery who wouldn’t rest until his whole family was free. Bill and his family were enslaved in Tennessee, where they worked long days in Col. Lewis’ fields. Bill was a young boy when Col. Lewis decided to make him a blacksmith, and Bill became very good at it. Col. Lewis rented him out, a common practice, and started letting Bill keep some of the money. Bill saved his coins and decided to ask Col. Lewis to let him rent himself. Col. Lewis agreed, for a large yearly fee. Bill paid the fee and opened his own blacksmith shop, becoming the first African-American blacksmith in Chattanooga. He worked long days and saved his money, with a goal in mind. Over time, he bought his wife’s freedom, and then their son’s, and then, one by one, the rest of his family’s. The text skillfully includes details about laws governing the lives of enslaved people (Bill travels with a white escort; he buys his wife’s freedom first so that their future children will be born free) while keeping readers hooked through every step of Bill’s plan. Rich illustrations help readers imagine life in the 1800s and show the complexity of Bill’s situation. Readers will root for Bill to the utterly satisfying end. [from Kirkus Reviews]

For all the littlest progressives, waking up to seize a new day of justice and activism.

Woke Baby by Mahogany L. Browne (December 31, 2018)
Woke babies are up early. Woke babies raise their fists in the air. Woke babies cry out for justice. Woke babies grow up to change the world.
Watch the book trailer filled with adorable woke babies.


A reminder to all black children that they are beautiful and worthy of a life well-lived.

Hands Up! by Breanna J. McDaniel (January 22, 2019)
A young black girl lifts her baby hands up to greet the sun, reaches her hands up for a book on a high shelf, and raises her hands up in praise at a church service. She stretches her hands up high like a plane's wings and whizzes down a hill so fast on her bike with her hands way up. As she grows, she lives through everyday moments of joy, love, and sadness. And when she gets a little older, she joins together with her family and her community in a protest march, where they lift their hands up together in resistance and strength.
Read an article by the author to learn more about why she wrote this powerful book.

Teen Book Club
Monday, February 25, 2019 at 6:30 p.m.

Join Anna Beth for a discussion of Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff.  You'll also help choose the book for March's meeting.

Adulting 101: Cleaning Skills
Tuesday, February 26, 2019 at 6:30 p.m.

Wendy, teen librarian and Queen of Clean, will share favorite cleaning tips to make your life easier.  It will probably keep your parents off your back, too.