Coloring Book Review: Great African Americans

This coloring book is a win on every front… except including women.

At the spur of the moment, I decided to add coloring pages to the 30 day project, mainly because this Dover Coloring book kept popping up as I added diverse books on my Amazon wish list.  For us the coloring pages were a fun supplement to the main books – we usually didn’t read the text.  However, if you were looking for a easier, cheaper, or simpler alternative to the 30 day project, you could certainly do a 30 day project just coloring these pages and reading them.

The kids colored the pages as I read to them.  Sometimes they would race to finish first, or try to complete the page before we finished reading for the day, other times they would take their time and complete a page more slowly.

Nearly all of the pages corresponded to the “extra” picture book we were reading for the day, however occasionally we had a page that corresponded to one of our core texts, and a picture book that corresponded to the other.  Z found this very confusing, so if I do this project again, I would either avoid that, or explain more clearly who was who.

I think for some of the historical figures it would also have been helpful to have a picture or portrait to look at.  Some had photos or drawings in the books we were reading, but others didn’t.

Dover Coloring Book: Great African Americans

The first book I purchased was Great African Americans.  This book has 45 different coloring pages representing different figures from African American history.  Pages are arranged according to the person’s last name, and a wide range of people are included.  Some of the poses will be familiar from photographs, and the most dynamic pages were definitely the athlete pages.

Each page has a short paragraph at the bottom giving a brief overview of the person’s life and accomplishments, so one could definitely use this book alone for a 30 day study of African American history.  There were two pages which might bring up some questions parents must be prepared to answer: Marcus Garvey’s page, which discusses black separatism, and Mother Clara Hale’s page, which includes information about drug addiction and AIDs.

Of the coloring pages, there are 5 pages which have colored-in examples.  Frederick Douglas is on the cover, Harriet Tubman on the inside front cover, Elijah McCoy on the inside back cover, and smaller images of W.E.B. Du Bois and George Washington Carver are on the back cover.

Out of the 45 people featured in this book, only 10 are women.  After looking through the book, I quickly realized that if I wanted to include the many African American women who have contributed to American history, I would need to expand.  Luckily, there is another Dover Coloring book called Famous African-American Women.

When I was considering this book, I could not find anywhere a list of the people included.  Here is a list of who is included (women are starred) and the general category in which they are well known.

People included in Great African Americans:
-Muhammad Ali (Cassius Clay) – Athlete
-Marian Anderson – Musician *
-Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong – Musician
-Crispus Attucks – Historical
-James Baldwin – Author
-Romare Bearden – Artist
-Mary McLeod Bethune – Educator *
-Eubie (James Hubert) Blake – Musician
-George Washington Carver – Inventor
-Frederick Douglass – Historical
-W.E.B. DuBois (William Edward Burghardt) – Author
-Katharine Dunham – Entertainer *
-“Duke” (Edward Kennedy) Ellington – Musician
-Ralph Ellison – Author
-Marcus Garvey – Government
-Althea Gibson – Athlete *
-“Mother” (Clara M.) Hale – Foster Parent *
-W.C. (William Christopher) – Musician
-Charles Houston – Government
-Langston Hughes – Author
-Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – Athlete
-Jesse Jackson – Government
-John H. Johnson – Publisher
-Scott Joplin – Musician
-Martin Luther King, Jr. – Historical
-Joe Louis – Athlete
-Malcolm X – Historical
-Thurgood Marshall – Government
-Elijah McCoy – Inventor
-Toni Morrison – Author *
-Jesse Owens – Athlete
-Gordon Parks – Artist
-Rosa Parks – Historical
-Colin Powell – Government
-Leontyne Price – Musician *
-Paul Robeson – Entertainer
-Jackie Robinson – Athlete
-Dred Scott – Historical
-Sojourner Truth – Historical *
-Harriet Tubman – Historical *
-Madame C.J. Walker (Sarah Breedlove) – Inventor *
-Booker T. Washington – Educator
-Daniel Hale Williams – Surgeon
-Granville T. Woods – Inventor
-Richard Wright – Author

Author: colorfulbookreviews

I work in a library by day and parent the rest of the time. I am passionate about good books representing the full spectrum of human diversity for every age group and reading level. This blog is my attempt to help parents, educators, and librarians find the best children's books authored by or featuring characters of color.

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