For Language and Literacy Developments

"Tip 113: February 2018 – African American Heroines Stories and Songs "
   February, 2018

February is African American History Month. These stories and song bring together activities about African American females. They were chosen because they portray active and courageous black girls who have human shortcomings as well as strengths and have a simple timeless charm, which transcends boundaries. The goal is to discover and expose children to black folktales and songs where African American females are the heroines. They are bright, witty and kind girls who show extraordinary courage and achievements. These stories and song will give adults a multicultural dimension to children’s experiences.

Infants: Mary Had a Little Lamb by S. J. Hale; B. McMillan Scholastic Inc. 1990
I. In this story “Mary” is black, this gives children a multicultural experience. Most children won’t even give it a second thought, but it will help to strengthen the self-esteem of African-American girls and respect for others.
II. Children should be encouraged to get down on the floor and mimic the movements and sounds of Mary’s lamb, crawling using both their hands and their knees. Studies have shown that children who miss the crawling stage in their early development have more learning disabilities when they get to school. Since crawling is so important in the development of both hemispheres of the brain, it’s important for children to get “floor time” everyday.
Moral: You get what you give – Mary loved the lamb so the lamb loved her back.

Toddlers: Flossie & the Fox – African American Heroine Tale by P. McKissack 1992
I. Mama told Flossie to take a basket of eggs to Miz Viola on Mr. McCutchin’s farm.

    “A fox has been bothering her chickens and they’re too scared to lay eggs.”
    a. Flossie asks “How do a fox look?” Mama says, “A fox be just a fox, but one
    thing for sure that rascal loves eggs.”
    b. Flossie tucked the basket under her arm and started on her way through the wood.
    c. On the way she met a critter she didn’t recollect seeing. He said he was a fox.

II. The critter tried to convince her he was a fox, but she said “I purely don’t believe it.”

    a. Fox said “I have thick fur.” She said “Feels like rabbit fur, you trying to fool me”
    b. Fox said “I have a long pointed nose.” She said, “Rats have them too!”
    c. When a cat came by, and the fox said “Ask it.” The cat said “It’s a fox cause it has
    sharp claws and yellow eyes.” She said, “You both have that so y’all both be cats.”

III. Then the fox said he had a bushy tail, and Flossie said squirrels have bushy tails too.

    a. The fox pleaded, “ I have sharp teeth and I can run very fast.” “So can Mr.
    McCutchin’s hound, and he’s right behind you,” said Flossie.
    b. As the fox dashed into the woods he said, “The hound knows I’m a fox.” “I
    know, said Flossie as she turned towards Miz Viola’s with her basket of eggs
    tucked safely under her arm.

Moral: Little girls are smarter than you think.

Preschoolers:You Sing a Song-Travellin’ with Ella Jenkins record-A Bilingual Journey Ella Jenkins is an African American Heroine writing and singing songs across America.
1. You sing a song, and I’ll sing a song, and we’ll sing a song together.
You sing a song, and I’ll sing a song, in warm or wintery weather.
2. You say “Hello” and I’ll say “Hello,” and we’ll say “Hello” together.
You say “Hello” and I’ll say “Hello,” in warm or wintery weather.
3. “Buenos Dias.” (Spanish) 4. “Bon Jour.” (French) 5. “Kon Nichi Wa” (Japanese)
6. “Ciao” (Italian) 7. “Shalom” (Hebrew) 8. “Aloha” (Hawaiian)
9. “Guten Tag” (German) 10. “Dobrey Den” (Russian) 11. “Yatahey” (Navajo)
12. “Nemahstay” (Hindi) 13. “Nee How Ma” (Mandarin) 14. “Jen Dobre” (Polish)
15. “Salamaat” (Indonesian) 16. “Eh-elan weh Sehelan” (Arabic)
17. “Tekanyas” (Greek) 18. “Jambo Sana” (Swahili- African)

…We are indebted to women first for life itself, then for making it worth living.
(Mary McLeod Bethune)