Celebrate Kwanzaa with Books!

Kwanzaa, celebrated yearly from December 26th to January 1st, is a holiday that focuses on the importance of family and community for African Americans and Africans around the world. Founder of the holiday, Dr. Maulana Karenga writes, “As an African American and Pan-African holiday celebrated by millions throughout the world African community, Kwanzaa brings a cultural message which speaks to the best of what it means to be African and human in the fullest sense.” Kwanzaa – a Celebration of Family, Community and Culture, the title of the official Kwanzaa organization website, is a great place to learn about Dr. Maulana Karenga, the establishment of Kwanzaa and its seven principles, and how to celebrate the holiday. Below you will find a list of ebooks, both stories and nonfiction titles, that can be accessed from OverDrive and Hoopla. Also listed are several craft books perfect for creating fun and creative family moments.The titles also offer links to our catalog in case you would like to place holds on books which can be picked up in the Library’s vestibule once you receive notification that they are ready and waiting for you. Enjoy and have a happy and safe holiday season!

Kwanzaa by Molly Aloian
Grades K-3
OverDrive
Library Catalog
Kwanzaa is an African American holiday that emphasizes family, community, food and culture. Learn about the history of Kwanzaa, folkloric harvest festivals, African American and African roots. Did you know that there are seven principles in Kwanzaa and the candle that families light is called a Kinara?

My Family Celebrates Kwanzaa by Lisa Bullard
Grades K-2
OverDrive
Hoopla
Library Catalog
Get ready for Kwanzaa with Kevin! In these books readers will learn about the traditions of Kwanzaa. Kevin watches and helps his family place candles, fruits, vegetables, unity cups and presents for Kwanzaa. Expand your cultural awareness and vocabulary by learning about Swahili words for the seven day celebration. For example, the first day is celebrated with the word umoja or unity. The book provides historical context, the vocabulary and a few questions. And, learn how Kevin’s family celebrates community in Kevin’s Kwanzaa.

Kevin’s Kwanzaa by Lisa Bullard
Grades K-2
OverDrive
Hoopla
Library Catalog

Together for Kwanzaa by Juwanda G. Ford
Grades K-2
OverDrive
Library Catalog
On the first day of Kwanzaa, Kayla misses her brother, Khari, and wonders how she can celebrate Kwanzaa without her brother. Kayla begins the tradition by wearing African garbs and placing the mkeka (a traditional straw mat) and the Kinara, a Kwanzaa candle holder. Read about the traditional colors of the candles, learn Swahili words such as Karamu (feast), and how to honor the ancestors. Will Kayla be able to celebrate the Kwanzaa festival without her brother? Will Khari make it home for the last day of Kwanzaa? A delightful book that explains the symbolism of the candles and the principles of Kwanzaa.

Paper Crafts for Kwanzaa by Randel McGee
Grades K-4
OverDrive
Library Catalog
Did you know that Kwanzaa means first fruits in Swahili? Paper Crafts for Kwanzaa explores the history, language and meanings behind the principles of Kwanzaa. This book also teaches children how to make fun crafts such as a Kinara (candleholder) pop-up card, the mkeka or woven mat and other symbolic crafts that represent the principles of Kwanzaa. Also, the illustrations, and step-by-step guide, make this a fun book that any family can enjoy during the holidays.

Seven Spools of Thread: A Kwanzaa Story by Angela S. Medearis & Daniel Winter
Grades K-3
OverDrive
Hoopla
Library Catalog
In a story about the importance of familial unity, seven brothers are tasked with the impossible duty of turning seven spools of thread to gold. Daniel Winter’s illustrations are beautiful in their rich coloration. The story is preceded by an explanation of the meaning of Kwanzaa and its seven principles, which are integral to the story. As Angela S. Medearis writes, ”All of the principles of the Nguzo Saba are hidden in the story Seven Spools of Thread. Can you find them?”

Kwanzaa by Rebecca Pettiford
Grades K-3
OverDrive
Hoopla
This is a wonderful book that highlights the importance of Kwanzaa, the history of Kwanzaa, along with the symbolism. Kwanzaa means “first fruits of the harvest.” The holiday also begins on December 26th. The beautiful illustrations show the African clothes that honor African folklore, traditions and history. The book also explains that there are specific ideas for each of the seven days that are celebrated in Kwanzaa. What I really liked about this book is the action that it captures. For example, an African American girl dances in midair wearing traditional African clothing while a drummer drums. A delightful holiday book.

Seven Candles for Kwanzaa by Andrea Davis Pinkney & Brian Pinkney
Grades K-3
OverDrive
Hoopla
Library Catalog
In this 9-minute video, patrons will be introduced to Kwanzaa. This video is a treat for it has a wonderful narration and uses great visuals and vocabulary to portray African culture. This is also a great video for visual learners. The video starts with explaining the seven candles of Kwanzaa and Kwanzaa vocabulary words such as Mazao which means crops. The video also explains that Kwanzaa is a Swahili word. The notion of this holiday comes from a traditional harvesting of crops which makes it a family day similar to Thanksgiving and birthdays. Families rejoice in fruit harvests in Africa and the video explains that vividly. Also, we learn that many families enjoy creating homemade books with folkloric tales from Africa and fabric dolls. These crafts are called Zawadi. You can try pairing this video with Anansi folktales such as Anansi Goes Fishing by Eric Kimmel.

Anansi Goes Fishing by Eric Kimmel
Grades K-3
OverDrive
Library Catalog

Crafts for Kwanzaa by Kathy Ross
Grades 1-6
OverDrive
Hoopla
Library Catalog
Enjoy creating twenty fun projects and crafts using Crafts For Kwanzaa by Kathy Ross. This book also explains the symbolism and traditions of Kwanzaa, including the celebration of harvesting fruits and vegetables. There are illustrations that allow patrons to create their own Mkeka-mat, Kwanzaa cup and candles. This would be a wonderful guidebook for those who are crafty and want to create holiday gifts for family and friends. All New Crafts for Kwanzaa continues the fun!

All New Crafts for Kwanzaa by Kathy Ross
Grades 1-6
Hoopla
Library Catalog

The Story Behind Kwanzaa by Melissa Rae Shofner
Grades K-3
OverDrive
Hoopla
This book explains the story behind the cultural and historical aspects of Kwanzaa. Patrons will read about the seven principles and the values for those days. The illustrations are wonderful depictions of African American families rejoicing in African clothing and symbolism. In one picture, a family stands around a bountiful table with corn, fruits, vegetables and traditional meals as they hold hands (similar to Thanksgiving). The book also includes a glossary at the end.

Categories: Authors & Books, Featured, Homepage Kids, Kids, and Library News.

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