Children’s Classes Celebrating Black History

The banner says "Black History Month in white against a brown background, with repeating patterns of lines, ovals, circles, and triangles bordering it above and below in a traditional African color palette of red, green, and gold.
Image by Freepik.

By Sylvia H.

For Black History Month, HCLS Miller Branch is collaborating with two local organizations, the African Art Museum of Maryland and Howard County Center of African American Culture, to bring the history and accomplishments of Black Americans to some of our youngest customers.

The museum logo says "African Art Museum of Maryland, Founded 1980," in an oval which surrounds a line drawing of a figurine.

The African Art Museum of Maryland (AAMM) presents their African Experience Tour, an interactive program incorporating hands-on art exploration, videos, and rich discussion. Mrs. Doris Ligon, director and co-founder of the museum, facilitates the event for children ages 8 – 11 on Wednesday, February 15.

AAMM was founded in 1980 as the first museum in Columbia, MD. It is one of only three museums of its kind in the United States devoted exclusively to the art of Africa, as well as the only one founded by an African American. With more than 40 years in operation, the museum has shared stunning pieces created by distinguished artists with the local community and beyond; many of the artists are internationally known. Visit to learn more about the museum.

The image shows three profiles in shades of black, grey, and white, against an open book as a background. The title "Howard County Center of African American Culture, Inc." and a date, "Established 1987," surround the logo in a circle.

Marcus ‘Sankofa’ Nicks, curator of the Howard County Center of African American Culture (HCCAAC), continues his work with us through a new educational program, Sankofa Children’s Academy. Two sessions about Dr. Carter G. Woodson and the creation of Black History Month through interactive discussion and hands-on activities are happening on Saturday, February 18: for ages 3 – 5 with adult and for ages 6 – 8.

Sankofa Children’s Academy, a new educational program, supports the holistic development of children socially, emotionally, intellectually, and culturally. Youth participants can learn in a multitude of ways to enhance confidence, self-esteem, and social skills.

Founded in 1987, HCCAAC works to preserve and share African American history and culture within Howard County. The museum exhibits a unique collection of artifacts, vintage clothing and materials, along with events that tell the story of African Americans within our community. Visit to learn more about the organization and its work.

African Experience Tour

Wednesday, Feb 15 4:30 pm & 7 pm, HCLS Miller Branch, Ages 8 – 11.
Tickets will be available at the children’s desk 15 minutes before class begins.

Sankofa Children’s Academy

Saturday, Feb 18 11 am HCLS Miller Branch, Ages 3 – 5 with adult; 12:30 pm, Ages 6 – 8.
Tickets will be available at the children’s desk 15 minutes before class begins.

Sessions continue at Miller Branch throughout the spring.

Saturday, March 18 11 am & 12:30 pm

Saturday, April 15 11 am & 12:30 pm

Saturday, May 13 11 am & 12:30 pm

We hope you are able to explore both the African Art Museum of Maryland and Howard County Center of African American Culture, as well as learn about other local points of knowledge!

Sylvia is a Children’s Instructor and Research Specialist at the Miller Branch. She enjoys crafting, listening to audiobooks, naps, and walks with her dogs in 75 degree-ish weather.

Made From Scratch Exhibit

Soft pink and beige rays appear behind "Made from Scratch: Creating the Howard County Jewish Community," witht he Jewish Federation logo beneath.

by Joel F.

We can’t move forward without knowing where we have been. This is the essence of why the Jewish Federation of Howard County took on the creation of the Howard County Jewish History Project. By looking back at how the rapid growth of Columbia impacted the evolution of the organized Jewish community in the area, we are better able to chart a path into the future that builds on the work that has been put in by the leaders of the past.

The Jewish Federation is the major instrument of Jewish philanthropy and engagement in Howard County. We are a community-driven organization committed to taking care of the needs of the Jewish people and building a vibrant Jewish future in Howard County, in Israel, and around the world. We are responsible for looking out for the entire Jewish community in the county, not just one demographic segment or one geographic pocket.

The Howard County History Project, “Made From Scratch: Creating the Howard County Jewish Community,” is the type of venture that only a communally-minded organization like ours could take on. We are so grateful to the wonderful historians who worked on this project with us, Deb Weiner and Karen Falk. Assembling this collection of artifacts and anecdotes took over three years, and their process was greatly impacted by the pandemic. Howard County’s Jewish history dates back to the 19th century, but the exhibit starts in the 1950s, when 12 Jewish families settled in the area. It takes viewers through the most important inflection points in the community’s history over the next 50 years then wraps up with an epilogue that gives an overview of what the local Jewish community looks like today.

We are thrilled that the the exhibit’s tour stops next at HCLS Central Branch in the Equity Resource Center from January 4 – February 10. HCLS is one of our most important community partners, and we are always excited to collaborate with them. And if you are wondering when might be a good time to check out the exhibit, maybe try to schedule your visit on January 19, when the Federation and the library partner on an event with local author Diane Tuckman to complement the exhibit.

Photo of a Joel Frankel, a dark haired man with a beard, wearing a blue suit and red tie.

Joel Frankel was appointed the executive director of The Jewish Federation of Howard County on July 1, 2021. He and his family moved from St. Louis, Missouri, where he spent almost 10 years working at the Jewish Federation of St. Louis. Joel and his wife Leah have two sons. As a family they love exploring everything this area has to offer, especially the tot lots, playgrounds, and all of the amazing trails.

Literary Day Trips with Kids

The cover illustration shows Benjamin Banneker with a timepiece in the palm of his hand; he has opened the cover of it and is examining its inner gears.

by Jean B.

Books can take you anywhere – you can discover all kinds of places and people from the comfort of home. But books can also lead you OUT into real life adventures. This summer, check out some of these children’s books with local connections then take a family excursion to live it yourself!

Interested in ingenuity? For an adventure in Howard County’s backyard, read TickTock Banneker’s Clock by Shana Keller. Learn about the African American colonial scientist Benjamin Banneker, then explore the Benjamin Banneker Historical Park in Oella. Tour his restored colonial cabin and gardens, hike woodland trails, and participate in fun summer programs with nature and colonial history themes.

The cover depicts the title character, author Parker Curry, looking up at the portrait of Michelle Obama that hangs in the National Portrait Gallery.

Fascinated by famous faces? Read Parker Looks Up by Parker and Jessica Curry. Visit the National Portrait Gallery to see the portrait of Michelle Obama for yourself, as well as those of many other interesting Americans of the past and present.

The cover is an illustration of baseball player and home run king Babe Ruth.

Seeking sports glory? One of baseball’s legends, Babe Ruth, grew up in Baltimore. Explore his childhood story and how he was introduced to the game – you may be surprised! – with the book Becoming Babe Ruth by Matt Tavares. Then visit the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum, or go to a baseball game at Camden Yards or Bowie.

The book cover depicts a boy carrying two lanterns and looking over his shoulder, with the masts of ships in the background and a knapsack slung over his back.

Intrigued by history’s mysteries? Take a drive to the Eastern Shore of Maryland and you’ll find the quaint waterfront town of St. Michael’s. Before your visit, check out the picture book by Lisa Papp, The Town that Fooled the British: A War of 1812 Story, to uncover the clever trick that saved St. Michael’s from destruction 200 years ago.

The book cover depicts a grinning skeleton in a blue wash, almost as if at the bottom of the sea.

For the ambitious, a trip to Jamestown, Virginia could be like a true crime investigation when combined with the award-winning nonfiction book, Written in Bone by Sally M. Walker. This fascinating (and sometimes gruesome) account shows how forensic scientists are studying skeletons found in Jamestown’s colonial ruins to decipher exactly who these bones belonged to, how they lived, and how they died.

Jean B. is a Children’s Instructor and Research Specialist at the Central Branch and loves reading books for all ages when she isn’t enjoying the outdoors.