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Brimming with passion, beauty, flow, and style, here is an ABC book like no other—a celebration of Black history and culture in lively verse, matched with illustrations that are each like a folk painting.

Written by the poet Rio Cortez and illustrated by Lauren Semmer, the book teaches the ABCs in a far more interesting and meaningful way than the usual “A is for apple, B is for ball.” Letters represent history— G is for the Great Migration. Culture—K for Kwanzaa. People and places—H is for Harlem and Zora Neale Hurston. And big ideas—like B for beautiful, bold, brave, brotherhood.
R is for rise, to reach for the top. Relentlessly striving, refusing to stop Like ballplayers, boxers, and gymnasts who fly. Like presidents and justices who dared to ask why?
In addition to the rhyming text, the book includes back matter with a timeline plus more information on the events, places, and people mentioned in the poem, from Mae Jemison to W. E. B. DuBois, Fannie Lou Hamer to Sam Cooke, the Little Rock Nine, and DJ Kool Herc.


  • The ABCs of Black History by Rio Cortez & Lauren Semmer
  • Item Weight: 19 oz
  • Hardcover: 64 pages
  • ISBN-10: 1523507497
  • ISBN-13: 9781523507498
  • Product Dimensions: 1.11 x 0.01 x 1.11 inches
  • Publisher: Workman Publishing Company; Illustrated (December 8, 2020)
  • Reading level: 5 and up
  • Language: English
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