February 1, 2023

Library of Michigan Invite Schools to Focus on Diversity in Literature During Black History Month

Michigan Department of Education Press Release LANSING – In celebration of Black History Month, the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) and Library of Michigan (LM) are showcasing Black literature throughout February for K-12 educators and students with a calendar offering important works by Black authors.

“We are highlighting the literary works of Black authors during Black History Month as part of our ongoing efforts to increase diversity in literature in our schools,” said State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice. “This celebration is aimed at helping educators create learning environments and experiences that deliver high-quality literacy instruction to all students, including those from low-income, economically disadvantaged families.”

Each calendar item includes the author, one of the author’s works, suggested grade level of instruction, and suggestions for incorporating the literary work into the classroom curriculum.

The authors were selected from nominations submitted by current and former Michigan Teachers of the Year and Regional Teachers of the Year, and educators at the Michigan Department of Education.

Available each weekend in February will be a video of a student recommending a book and explaining how it speaks to the student.

Here is the first week’s line-up:

  • Wednesday, Feb. 1: The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson; grade 1;
  • Thursday, Feb. 2: Nikki Grimes by Danitra Brown; grades 3-5;
  • Friday, Feb. 3: Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler; grades 11-12; and
  • Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 4-5: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas; grades 9-12; student video: https://youtu.be/i1T8mBc_vjI.

“Libraries across Michigan will be observing Black History Month in February,” said State Librarian Randy Riley. “Michigan’s librarians are committed to building collections that recognize and celebrate all aspects of the communities they serve. As we celebrate Black History Month, literature from Black authors showcases the creativity and richness of their writing and provides insight into the history, culture, and importance of the African American experience.”

Look for events throughout Black History Month on the online calendar. Also, check out MDE’s Equity in Literacy portal.