Honoring Black History Month with these Children’s Books

Board Books

A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara; Recommended for ages 0-3. Although this isn’t overtly black history, it introduces concepts of marching, race equality and justice for all. I love the rhythm of this book and the cats hiding on each page made it a favorite of my toddlers.

Antiracist Baby by Ibram X Kendi; Recommended for ages 0-3. In this playful book, Kendi introduces anti-racism to young readers and their grownups. This board book doesn’t look at black history, but rather at forming a just future.

Our Legendary Ladies: Harriett Tubman by Megan Callea; Recommended for ages 0-3. What I love about this is the simple, beautiful illustrations with a simple overview of who Harriett Tubman was. This book introduces the youngest readers to this incredible woman from our history.

Picture Books

Malcolm Little: The Boy who Grew Up to be Malcolm X by Ilyasah Shabazz; recommended for ages 6-10; This book about Malcolm X as a child, written by his daughter, celebrates a vision of freedom and justice. It explores the theme of striving to do your best and how to actualize your dreams and hopes.

Hip Hop Speaks: 50 Inspiring Poems with a Beat  by Nikki Giovanni; Recommended for ages 7-11. From Tupac to Jay-Z, Queen Latifah to Maya Angelou, this book comes with a CD.  What could be more fun and inspiring than learning black history through music and poetry?

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison; Recommended for ages 8 – 12. Among these 18 women, you’ll find heroes, role models, and everyday women who did amazing things: bold women who contributed to making our world better. Check out the companion book Little Leaders: Bold Men in Black History.

Chapter Books & Young Adult Novels

The Only Black Girls in Town by Brandy Colbert; Recommended for ages 13+. On the surface, this is a contemporary novel about two girls struggling with fitting in to a small, mostly white, beach community. However, there is also a mystery the girls are trying to figure out about a recently deceased community member and these revelations lead them to learn some black history along the way. I found it to be a very interesting lens to explore this history through!

Stamped by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X Kendi; Recommended for ages 13+. This nonfiction book is a “remix” of Kendi’s history book Stamped from the Beginning. This YA book explores the history of racism in America with a  digestible and relatable tone for teens.

people of color sitting at a counter for whites; graphic novel illustration

NPR.org

March Book 1 (& 2 & 3!) by John Lewis; Recommended for ages 13+. These are the memoirs of John Lewis told in graphic novel format. The illustrations are beautiful and I learned a lot not only about the late Congressmen but also some aspects of the Civil Rights movement that I had not known before. Couldn’t recommend this series of books more highly for teens and adults alike.

Other resources: 

This website has a great list of books for kids ages 0-7 by black authors

Gale Free Library in Holden produced a wonderful list of Black History Month books with links to request them from their library.

I am enjoying thetututeacher on instagram who is featuring a beautiful picture book each day in February by a black author in honor of Black History Month.

Looking for more books to add to the rotation, the New York Times released their best books of 2020.

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