Happy Kwanzaa!

Kwanzaa has just begun! This holiday is often overshadowed by the swarm of Christmas carols and New Year’s festivities, so here are a few book recommendations to help put this historical African holiday in the spotlight it deserves. These books can be enjoyed at any age, and it can enlighten any reader about what Kwanzaa is about, its history, and what it stands for. Happy reading!

Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Family, Community and Culture by Maulana Karenga

Written by the creator of Kwanzaa, Dr. Maulana Karenga, Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Family, Community and Culture provides a thorough understanding of the views and values of Kwanzaa, its historic origins and cultural background, and its cultural meaning to millions of Africans who celebrate it through the worldwide African community.

Kwanzaa: Black Power and the Making of the African-American Holiday Tradition by Keith A. Mayes

Since 1966, Kwanzaa has been celebrated as a black holiday tradition—an annual recognition of cultural pride in the African-American community. But how did this holiday originate, and what is its broader cultural significance? Kwanzaa: Black Power and the Making of the African-American Holiday Tradition explores the political beginning and later expansion of Kwanzaa, from its start as a Black Power holiday to its current place as one of the most mainstream of the black holiday traditions.

Holidays Around the World: Celebrate Kwanzaa: With Candles, Community, and the Fruits of the Harvest by Carolyn B. Otto

Celebrate Kwanzaa continues the spectacular Holidays Around the World series by focusing on this African-American holiday, which falls during the festive, gift-giving season and is celebrated by families, communities, and schools throughout America. With succinct, lively text and beautiful photographs, the book celebrates African-American culture and helps us to understand and appreciate this special holiday. Over the course of seven days, families and friends come together to light the candles that symbolize their past and future—and their unity.

A Kwanzaa Fable by Eric V. Copage

In this surprising and heartwarming story, the owner of a street-corner snack shop teaches Jordan, a 13-year-old who recently lost his father how to apply the seven principles of Kwanzaa to the challenges of daily life. Readers of all ages will come to cherish this book, and will revisit its message that the strength and love that resides in the African-American holiday is ever present.

Kwanzaa Folktales by Gordon Lewis

This collection of original folktales illuminates the seven principles of Kwanzaa: faith, creativity, collective work and responsibility, purpose, unity, self-determination, and cooperative economics. In Kwanzaa Folktales, the various tales express the ageless value of Kwanzaa’s principles in captivating, meaningful stories for children and adults alike to enjoy and reminisce.

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