For centuries, Africans brought to America as slaves and their descendents who were born into slavery were forced to keep their stories alive by telling them aloud. If slaves were caught writing–or teaching others–they were punished by law. Going to school was illegal. This Black History Month (February), in honor of African American storytellers of the past, celebrate today’s black authors whose words create powerful and beautiful literature. At the same time, be sure to take a closer look at the work of black illustrators whose art enhances the printed page. In this column, you’ll find a selection of newly published books and old favorites, written and/or illustrated by black authors and artists. These are only a sampling of titles to share with students. Look in your library for scores of others.