The first one is not history at all. It's called "Astronaut Annie" and it's written by Suzanne Slade and illustrated by Nicole Tadgell. They're having career day at Annie's school and she's very excited about her choices. Each person in her loving and extended family makes suggestions on what they perceive as her strengths. It's lovely to see how each of them has a different idea about how her strengths might play out but in the end, Annie makes her own choice. The soft water color pictures enhance the warm family relationships and Annie's energy just about leaps off the pages. It's also nice to see at the end, there are author's notes about other women who reached high and were able to go places that women hadn't been before. And although this could have been written about any family, Annie and her family are African American, which is lovely. This one is expected in stores in March 2018.
The second one is not a fun read. It's called "Ghost Boys" by Jewell Parker Rhodes. I really enjoyed Jewell Parker Rhodes books, especially "Towers Falling" so when I saw this new one (it's supposed to come out in April 2018), I really wanted to read it. It's a very compelling story about a boy named Jerome. He lives with his very supportive family and struggles with bullies at school. He is determined to protect his little sister and his grandmother tries to help out too. A new boy comes to school and Jerome is torn about making friends with him-will the new boy make him an even bigger target for the bullies? He decides to make a friend and Carlos has a surprise. It's a toy gun that scares the bullies away, for awhile. Jerome takes the toy gun to protect himself on the way home. As he goes through the park, someone see him with the toy gun and calls the police. The police come and as Jerome is fleeing, they shoot him and he dies. The rest of the story is Jerome watching his family deal with the pain of his death, which would probably be enough of a story but for Parker Rhodes, it's not enough. So she introduces some new characters. Another ghost boy, who was also killed by a white man, named Emmett and a girl named Sarah, who's dad is the police officer who killed Jerome. It's a lovely conversation about race relations in America today. It's not easy to read but I think it's an important story for lots of people to hear. I hope that it could help people to understand some of their own feelings about race relations.