My kids enjoy reading books with “brown like me” characters! I enjoy my kids reading books that helps to build character and moral values! The “Joe Joe in the City” book series accomplishes both plus each book incorporates African American history! I really love these books and I am so glad that Judson Press (publishers of the homeschool devotional that I’m reading) contacted me about reviewing the Joe Joe in the City series by Jean Alicia Elster!
The series is about 10 year old Joe Joe Rawlings and the challenges that he faces and overcomes with the help and guidance of his family and library books about historical African Americans who have also overcome adversity! Each book begins with a Bible verse related to the challenge that Joe Joe faces in the story and includes references to various historical African Americans! There are currently four books in the series:
Just Call Me Joe Joe is the first book in the series. Erroneously assuming that Joe Joe is part of a gang, a local storeowner lashes out at Joe Joe. After reading about the unfair treatment of the baseball players in the Negro League, Joe Joe has the courage to confront the store owner about how he is not part of the gang that trashed his store. Joe Joe learns about baseball players Moses “Fleet” Walker, Josh Gibson, Satchel Paige, and James “Cool Papa” Bell!
I Have a Dream, Too! is the second book in the series. Ridiculed for his desire to attend college someday, Joe Joe learns about how Mary McLeod Bethune overcame illiteracy, discrimination and poverty with faith and hard work to achieve her dream…learning to read! Joe Joe decides to work hard to achieve his dream as well by getting a job at the local store to save for college!
I’ll Fly My Own Plane is the third book in the series. Learning about the Tuskegee Airmen, Joe Joe desperately wants to buy a remote-controlled airplane. Faced with the “opportunity” to earn some quick (possibly illegal, definitely unethical) money, Joe Joe decides to keep his job stocking the shelves at the local store and to be content with the model airplane that his dad made for him. Joe Joe learns about the determination and drive of Herman Banning, Thomas Allen, Eugene Bullard, Bessie Coleman, Captain Benjamin Davis, and Mae C. Jemison!
I’ll Do the Right Thing is the fourth and final book in the series. Faced with the decision of whether or not to join his friend’s gang, Joe Joe learns the importance of being a peacemaker from both his grandmother and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Ralph Bunche!
I was so impressed with the Joe Joe in the City series! I have learned so much and I am excited to learn more and teach it to my kids! In fact, I am planning on using the series as the basis for some of our African American history units! We will be taking the time to learn about all of the historical African Americans in each of the books! One of my favorite parts of the series is that each book includes multiple historical photographs showcasing the historic African Americans and their accomplishments!
In addition to the Joe Joe in the City series, we also received Jordan’s Hair by Ed and Sonya Spruill. The rhyming story line is about a little boy who is sad because he thinks God made a mistake because his hair and skin color is different from that of his friends.
Jordan’s Hair is so cute and my 5 year olds loved the bright, vivid colors! I love the message that reminds children that being different makes you special and that God made each of us just the way he wanted us to be…no mistakes!
Thank you so much to Judson Press for adding some amazing books to our “brown like me” book collection!
Purchase Joe Joe in the City from Amazon or Judson Press.
Purchase Jordan’s Hair from Amazon or Judson Press.
The products were given to me free of charge. All opinions expressed in this post are my own and I was not required to post a positive review.
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