10 Best Children’S Books About Texas Update 05/2022

King of Ragtime by Stephen Costanza

“A picture book biography of African American composer Scott Joplin, whose ragtime music set the stage for jazz. The book is beautiful and rhythmic. Scott Joplin was a unique person. They say this quiet child could make a piano laugh out loud. King of Ragtime was Scott’s title. He was the son of someone who had been slaved, but he became one. Celebration: Scott Joplin, who wrote ragtime music that led to jazz, is the subject of this book for young people. The kaleidoscope-like illustrations will keep them reading.” — the author

Sprouting Wings by Shari Becker, Louisa Jaggar and Floyd Cooper

“It’s a picture book biography of James Herman Banning, who was the first African American pilot to fly across the country. It’s a good choice for people who like Hidden Figures and Little Leaders, too. The book includes illustrations by a Coretta Scott King winner. It was always on James Herman Banning’s mind that he would reach for the sky. How could a boy who lives on a farm in Oklahoma get on a plane? And how would he learn how to fly? His friends didn’t look like him, so he was the only one. A man named James Herman Banning set out on a journey that would cover 3,300 miles, take twenty-one days, and inspire a whole country. He proved that you can’t stop dreams. Louisa Jaggar has done a lot of research over the last seven years. She includes Banning’s own writings and an interview with the aviator’s great-nephew. She works with co-writer Shari Becker and award-winning illustrator Floyd Cooper to show Banning’s flight across the United States in a way that shows how it was.” — the author

Welcome to Texas by Asa Gilland

“In Texas, welcome! We’re happy you’re here! Picture books about every state in the United States are coming. Texas kids and people who want to visit Texas one day will love this bright, happy, fact-filled picture book about “The Lone Star State.” People who live in Texas or go on vacation will love this book. It includes information about the state’s animals and plants as well as its regions, food, people, customs, and fun places to visit. The illustrations are warm and bright, and the easy-to-understand text (Texas is big! It’s the second-largest state in the United States) gives just the right amount of information for kids from preschool on up. The “Welcome to” series will start in the spring of 2021 with Arizona, California, Florida, and Texas. Each season, more states will be added, with the goal of adding more states each time around. In Texas, welcome! We’re happy you’re here! Picture books about every state in the United States are coming. Texas kids and people who want to visit Texas one day will love this bright, happy, fact-filled picture book about “The Lone Star State.” People who live in Texas or go on vacation will love this book. It includes information about the state’s animals and plants as well as its regions, food, people, customs, and fun places to visit. The illustrations are warm and bright, and the easy-to-understand text (Texas is big! It’s the second-largest state in the United States) gives just the right amount of information for kids from preschool on up.

The series overview: The “Welcome to” series will start in the spring of 2021 with Arizona, California, Florida, and Texas. Each season, more states will be added, with the goal of adding more states each time.” — the author

Dark Was the Night by Gary Golio and E.B. Lewis

“When the Voyager I spacecraft sent back its Golden Record, Blind Willie Johnson’s song “Dark Was the Night” was on it. This story is very moving. Born in 1897, Willie Johnson had a love for singing and playing his cigar box guitar from the very start, and he did both. But when he lost his mother and his sight, his childhood was cut short. How does a blind boy get around? For Willie, the music helped him and brought him back into the light. People were moved by his powerful voice and the sound of his slide guitar. On street corners across Texas, Willie made a name for himself. Then one day, he became famous when he got a record deal and his songs were played on the radio. This is how it worked: So in 1977, when Voyager I sent its Golden Record into space, his song, “Dark Was The Night,” was chosen to light up the dark. It was chosen because it expresses the loneliness that we all feel, but also reminds us that we’re not alone.” — the author

Flying Free by Karyn Parsons and R. Gregory Christie

“BEFORE: Before Bessie Coleman made a name for herself as “Queen Bess,” she made a name for herself with her plane. She did death-defying flying shows that made her famous as “Queen Bess.” Preparing to speak out against discrimination, Bessie was a little girl with a big imagination that took her up in the sky, through the clouds, and past birds.” — the author

For Beautiful Black Boys Who Believe in a Better World by Michael W. Waters and Keisha Morris

“This book is based on real-life events and shows how one family responds to racism and gun violence. It comes with a discussion guide from the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, Kentucky, which is a multicultural center and museum that wants to spread respect, hope, and understanding. People keep getting shot, and Jeremiah’s questions keep coming, too. When Dad doesn’t have an easy answer, he doesn’t mean he won’t talk about it or act. In that case, what will happen? It doesn’t make sense, and he’s just a kid. It doesn’t matter how much he wants a different world to be. There’s nothing he can do.” — the author

From Cotton to T-Shirts by Cari. Meister and Albert Pinilla

“This is how a child learns about how cotton is grown to make yarn that can be used to make t-shirts: In this illustrated narrative nonfiction book, there is a map of where cotton is grown, a glossary, and more resources.” — the author

No Voice Too Small by Jeanette Bradley, Keila V. Dawson and Lindsay H. Metcalf

“Meet fourteen young people who are making a difference in their communities and the United States. We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices fans will enjoy meeting these 14 young people. Mari Copeny asked for clean water in Flint. She wanted to play soccer with the girls’ team even though she was transgender. As a celebration of young people who know how to be the change they want, “No Voice Too Small” highlights the young people who know how to make a difference. Fourteen poems are written to honor these young people who want to help. Lesléa Newman, Traci Sorell, and Nikki Grimes wrote the poems in this book. Each youth activist’s life and how readers can help are explained in more detail in a separate piece of text.” — the author

Selena: Queen of Tejano Music by Silvia Lopez and Paola Escobar

“Her music career began when she was nine years old and started singing in her family’s band. In the past, she used a hairbrush as a microphone. Now, she travels from town to town to play gigs. People said Selena couldn’t do well in Tejano music because it was mostly done by men. Selena was going to show them that they were wrong.” provided by the publisher

The Hero of Cinco de Mayo / El héroe del Cinco de Mayo by José Angel Gutiérrez and Stephen Marchesi

“This bilingual picture book tells the story of the Battle of Puebla and the Mexican army’s surprise victory over a much more powerful enemy. Today, this victory is celebrated in the United States as Cinco de Mayo, which is a way to remember the Mexican roots of many people in the country. This is a non-fiction picture book for older elementary school students that shows realistic images of the Mexican general and his time. He was born in Goliad, Texas, in 1829, when Texas was still part of Mexico. When he was seven, Texas broke away from Mexico, so the family had to move to Matamoros, Mexico, where they lived for a while. It was in 1846 when the United States went to war with Mexico, and Ignacio tried to join the Mexican army. He was too young to do that at the time. His age made it possible for him to join. He was a great soldier, and President Benito Juárez named him commander of the Mexican army and navy because he was so good. In 1862, he had to protect his country from the French army, one of the strongest in the world.” — the author

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