10 Inspiring Children’s Books to Read in Honor of Black History Month

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February is Black History Month, an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history. Teaching children about Black History Month and the many important contributions and accomplishments of African Americans can be done through the art of storytime! From the time children begin to develop an interest in books, it’s important to expose them to multicultural images to understand and celebrate diversity. We would like to share with you some of our favorite books that will teach children the history of African Americans in our country. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. often talked in his speeches about the ‘urgency of now,’ and that it is vital to read as much about the past as the present. During the month of February and beyond, we hope this Black History Month Children’s Book list will aid you in teaching your young readers. 

10 Inspiring Children’s Books to Read in Honor of Black History Month

Little Legends: Exceptional Men In Black History 

Vashti Harrison 

Artists, pop stars, politicians, and aviators are just a few of the biographies found in author-illustrator Vashti Harrison’s book Little Legends: Exceptional Men In Black History. This vibrantly illustrated book highlights the true stories of the amazing impact black men have made throughout history. This book will educate and inspire the young readers in your life to always reach for their dreams no matter what obstacles may stand in their way. 

Little Leaders: Bold Women In Black History 

Vashti Harrison 

Author-Illustrator Vashti Harrison introduces young readers to 40 trailblazing black women in Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History. Harrison’s illustrations bring to life the iconic female figures of black history. The biographies in Little Leaders show young readers the impact that these women have made in the world to create better opportunities for girls and women. 

TAKE IT FURTHER: In celebration of Black History Month, the New York Historical Society presented a Special Story Time with Vashti Harrison. Watch with your little legends and be inspired together!

The ABC’s of Black History 

Rio Cortez

In the New York Times Bestseller, The ABC’s of Black History, Rio Cortez takes readers on a journey using the alphabet of Black heritage and history. The book includes information on the places, events, and people of black history. This story celebrates the men and women who helped to pave the way for so many African Americans. 

 TAKE IT FURTHER: Join author Rio Cortez for a virtual storytime as she reads The ABC’s of Black History to readers! 

A Computer Called Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Helped Put America on the Moon

Suzanne Slade  

The award-winning biography, A Computer Called Katherine by Suzanne Slade, chronicles the life of Katherine Johnson, a NASA mathematician who was behind the launch of Apollo 13. Johnson was frustrated by the lack of opportunities available to women in her era and was determined to be the change and make the change for women.

TAKE IT FURTHER: Join Suzanne Slade for a Q and A about the book A Computer Called Katherine where she shares some fun facts about the writing process of the book. 

Colorfull: Celebrating the Colors God Gave Us

Dorena Williamson

Colorfull is a joyful story that takes a new approach to discussing race: instead of being colorblind, we can choose to celebrate each color God gave us and be colorFULL instead.  

The Story of Ruby Bridges

Robert Coles

Told with Robert Coles’ powerful narrative and dramatically illustrated by George Ford, The Story of Ruby Bridges, a story of courage, faith, and hope, continues to resonate more than 60 years later.

The Power of Her Pen: The Story of the Groundbreaking Journalist  Ethel L. Payne 

Lesa Cline-Ransome 

Justice, equality, and truth. As a journalist, Ethel L. Payne always sought after those virtues even in the face of opposition and adversity. In this beautifully illustrated biography, The Power of Her Pen, author Lesa Cline-Ransome introduces readers to Ethel Payne, known as the ‘First Lady of Black Press.’  Ethel Payne broke many barriers in the world of journalism and wasn’t afraid to ask hard questions to elected officials, presidents, or anyone in a high ranking office. Ethel Payne worked tirelessly to seek the answers that mattered to the civil rights movement. 

TAKE IT FURTHER: Author Lesa Cline-Ransomec created a free PDF Curriculum guide for parents and teachers to use with the book.

A Ride To Remember: A Civil Right Story 

Amy Nathan and Sharon Langley  

A Ride To Remember is a biography that takes readers on a journey back to the 1960’s where many amusement parks were segregated and African American families were not allowed to enter. However in 1963, after many public protests Gweynn Oak Amusement Park in Maryland became the first desegregated amusement park to open. Sharon Langley became the first African-American child to ride the carousel. Author Amy Nathan also includes a timeline, pictures and a bibliography in this powerful story.

TAKE IT FURTHER: Join authors Sharon Langley and Amy Nathan for an author talk—available until May 30, 2020. Or listen in to this author interview on WNYC.

Henry’s Freedom Box

Ellen Levine

Henry’s Freedom Box is a stirring, dramatic story of a slave who mails himself to freedom by a Jane Addams Peace Award-winning author and a Coretta Scott King Award-winning artist.

Creative God, Colorful Us

Trillia Newbell

In the short, colorful book, Creative God, Colorful Us, Trillian Newbell shares the truth of God’s Word . . . the truth about how we were made with differences, how we sinned, how God rescued us, and how—if we understand that God’s diverse creation will be together in Heaven—it should motivate us to love one another on earth! Reading this book along with others that celebrate black leaders in history, will help kids understand God’s glorious plans for all people.

TAKE IT FURTHER: Join author, Trillia Newbell on February 11, 2021 as she hosts conversations with some of today’s prominent Christian thought leaders about how to talk to the next generation about race, ethnicity, and the gospel. You’ll hear from those in every stage of parenting sharing key insights and ‘aha’ moments.