Monday, April 16, 2018

Black Doll Story Books and Other Favorite Doll Tales

Several years ago, I received a list of Black doll storybooks. I am not sure who compiled the list; therefore, I cannot extend credit. I wanted to share these titles here for others who might be interested in purchasing these books for themselves or (with the exception of two titles*) for children you know or educate.

Chalk Doll, The by Charlotte Pomerantz (Harpy Trophy, 1989).  Mother tells Rose about growing up in Jamaica and making her own rag doll because she couldn't afford a store-bought chalk doll.

Daisy and the Doll by Michael Medearis and Angela S. Medearis (The Vermont Folklife Center, 2000).  Daisy, an eight-year-old Black girl living in rural Vermont in the 1890s is given a Black doll by her teacher.  She becomes uncomfortable that her skin is a different color than her classmates.  She then finds the courage to speak from her heart.

Elizabeti's Doll by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen (Scholastic Inc., 1998).  A young Black girl watched her mother care for her new baby brother.  She wanted to care for her own baby.  She searches until she finds an object that she can use as her very own doll baby to care for.

Minnie Saves the Day (The Adventures of Minnie by Melodye Benson Rosales (Little, Brown and Company, 2001).  Hester Merriweather's grandmother gives her a handmade doll that proves to be very special.  Includes historical background on Chicago's African American community during the 1930s.

Nettie Joe's Friends by Patricia C. McKissack (Alfred A. Knopf, 1989).  Mama won't let Nettie Jo Take her scraggly old doll to cousin Willadeen's wedding unless she has a new dress.  The story is in a rich southern storytelling tradition.

Sitting Pretty a Celebration of Black Dolls by Diane Johnson (Henry Holt and Company, 2000).  In poetry and photographs Black dolls, most, simply made cloth, from around the world are used to illustrate the author's original writings.

Additional Black doll storybooks not included in the above list:

The All-I’ll-Ever-Want Christmas Doll by Patricia C. McKissack (Schwartz and Wade Books, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, 2007).  The Christmas holiday season of the Great Depression provides the setting for this delightful, thought-provoking story.  Because of their meager circumstances, “Santy” rarely visited Nella’s house with gifts for her and her two sisters, Eddy Bernice and Dessa.  This year was different.  Santy brought the beautiful chocolate-brown, Baby Betty doll that Nella longed to receive.  Events occur after the doll’s arrival resulting in Nella learning a valuable lesson.

Almost to Freedom by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson (Scholastic Inc., 2003).  Sally, a Black rag doll, recants the story of a slave family’s escape to freedom via the Underground Railroad.  

Becky by Julia Wilson (Ty Crowell Company, 1966).  Becky sets out on a shopping trip to find a doll that looks like her. She does, but due to its cost, is unable to purchase the doll until something magical happens!

Beloved Belindy by Johnny Gruelle (P. F. Volland, 1926).  The Beloved Belindy book contains several short stories about the goings on in the make-believe Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy doll nursery. [In this 1920s American storybook, Beloved Belindy serves as mammy to doll characters Raggedy Ann and Andy.]

My Doll, Keshia by Eloise Greenfield (Black Butterfly Children’s Books, 1991).  This baby board book is a story about a little girl who, with the help of her big brother, and through imaginative play, teaches her doll to walk, dance, wave, sing and talk.  

Rag Doll Tales by Yvonne Augustin (Mindstar Media, 2012).  A young slave mother sews a rag doll to give her daughter.  Even though the doll was a girl, she named it Eugene, after the child's father so the daughter, who was sold away, would remember her roots.  The doll would be passed down for generations that span from slavery to the Civil Rights Movement.

Topsy Turvy’s Pigtails by Bernice G. Anderson (Rand McNally  & Company, 1938).  Topsy Turvy lives in the Comical Doll House down by the Crooked Lane with Mr. and Mrs. Turvy.  Topsy is a Black-stocking doll.  She has four pigtails of which she is very proud.  After the prim and proper Mrs. Turvy threatens to cut off Topsy’s pigtails, Topsy decides to run away.  During her run, Topsy encounters four different animals who take things away from her! 

*Note:  Beloved Belindy and Topsy Turvy's images might be considered derogatory and not recommended for today's children.  


Other Favorite Doll Storybooks (none of these books are about Black Dolls):

Best Loved Doll by Rebecca Caudill (Henry Holt and Company, 1992).  For a doll contest at a party, a girl chooses to enter a doll that seems least likely to win a prize.

Doll Lady, (The by H. Elizabeth Collins-Varni (Illumination Arts, 2001).  An inspiring story about a woman who spends her life making dolls to give to the children she loved.

Elisabeth by Claire A. Nivola (Frances Foster Books, 1997).  Forced to flee the Nazis, a young girl and her family eventually end up in the United States where years later, with a young daughter of her own, she is reunited with the beloved doll she left behind in Germany.

Gingerbread Doll, (The) by Susan Tews (Clarion Books, 1993).  The year is 1930 and Rebecca and her family are celebrating their first Christmas on their Wisconsin farm.  Rebecca wants a porcelain doll she's seen in the store window but she knows her family has no money for fancy toys.

Little Oh by Laura Krauss Melmed (Lothrop, Lee and Shepard Books, 1997). A lonely woman folds a little doll from origami paper then places it in a box.  The origami paper doll springs from the box exclaiming, "Good Morning Mother!"

Paper Princess Finds Her Way Home, (The) by Elisa Kleven (Puffin Books, 1994).  A little girl makes a picture of a paper doll princess that comes to life and is carried off by the wind.  With luck, she finds her way home.

Scrap Doll, (The) by Liz Rosenberg (Charlotte Zolotow Books, 1991).  A little girl fixes up her mother's old doll and learns that something made at home with love can be much better than most beautiful store-bought presents.

The Kingfisher Book of Toy Stories
-Raggedy Ann Rescues Fido
-The Steadfast Tin Soldier
-Adventure in the Garden
-The Little Girl and the Tiny Doll, etc.  A collection of eight stories about toys and childhood by authors such as Johnny Gruell and Russell Hoban.  Compiled by Laura Cecil (Kingfisher, 2002).

William's Doll by Charlotte Zolotow (Harper Trophy, 1972).  More than anything, William wants a doll. Silly, says his brother.  Sissy, says the boy next door.  Finally, someone understands William's wish and makes it easy for others to understand, too.

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