Book Itch, The

Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, R. Gregory Christie (2015), Carolrhoda Books

Lewis Micheaux Sr. opened the National Memorial African Bookstore in Harlem in the 1930s. The bookstore was a cultural center for the community—a place where people of all colors could share ideas and make connections. Mohammad Ali and Malcolm X both visited the store and Lewis was there to meet them. Told through the eyes of Lewis Jr., this book describes the hope that the bookstore created in a community and the tragedy of the loss of Malcolm X. The story illustrates the perseverance Lewis and his dad exhibited to heal from this loss. Additionally, the story highlights the importance of reading and talking with others as ways to learn about oneself and the world.

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Talk with a child about this book

Can you think of spaces that we go that feel like the bookstore?

Who is a hero of yours that you’d like to meet and why?

What did you think about the reaction Lewis’s dad received from the banker when he needed a loan? Would you know how to react if someone talked to you like that?

Do you like to ask questions?

What ways do you learn?

Who exhibited determination in this story?