Black History 101: 10 Children's Books Perfect for Learning Black History All Year Long
Updated: Sep 11
Black History Month is February, but learning Black history is a year round activity. One of the best ways to learn Black history is with books. We've rounded up ten books that each contain multiple stories of Black people, culture, and events in history. These books are perfect for learning Black history all year long. Happy reading!
A comprehensive, entertaining look at heroes, heroines, and critical moments from African American history -- from the slave trade to the Black Lives Matter movement -- by award-winning author Jabari Asim.
Jabari Asim goes beyond what's taught in the classroom to reveal a fact-filled history of African American history through politics, activism, sports, entertainment, music, and much more. You'll follow the road to freedom beginning with the slave trade and the middle passage through the abolitionist movement and the Civil War where many African Americans fought as soldiers. You'll learn how slave songs often contained hidden messages and how a 15-year-old Jamaican-born young man named Clive Campbell helped to create hip-hop in the early 1970's.
You'll experience the passionate speeches, marches, and movements of the Civil Rights era along with and the sacrifices of Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Medgar Evers, and many others. Along the way there are dozens of profiles of political trailblazers like Shirley Chisholm, the first black women elected to Congress in 1968; dominants athletes like Tiger Woods who, in 1995, was only the second African American to play in a Master's Golf Tournament which he went on to win in 1997; popular musicians like Miles Davis, one the most influential artists of the twentieth century; and inspiring writers like Toni Morrison, the first African American to win the Nobel Prize in literature.
Filled with beautiful illustrations by Lynn Gaines that bring these figures and events to life, plus a removable historical timeline poster, A Child's Introduction to African American History is a fascinating and comprehensive guide to this often overlooked yet immensely important part of American history.
Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Real-Life Tales of Black Girl Magic, edited by award-winning journalist Lilly Workneh with a foreword by #BlackGirlMagic originator CaShawn Thompson, is dedicated to amplifying and celebrating the stories of Black women and girls from around the world; features the work of over 60 Black female and non-binary authors, illustrators, and editors; is designed to acknowledge, applaud, and amplify the incredible stories of Black women and girls from the past and present; and celebrates Black Girl Magic around the world.
Amongst the women featured from over 30 countries are tennis player Naomi Osaka, astronaut Jeanette Epps, author Toni Morrison, filmmaker Ava DuVernay; aviator Bessie Coleman, Empress Taytu Betul, journalist Ida B. Wells, and many other inspiring leaders, champions, innovators, and creators. Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Real-Life Tales of Black Girl Magic is the fourth volume of the New York Times bestselling Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls series which originally launched in 2016.
Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Real-Life Tales of Black Girl Magic is published by Rebel Girls, a global, multi-platform empowerment brand dedicated to helping raise the most inspired and confident global generation of girls through content, experiences, products, and community.
About Black Girl Magic
CaShawn Thompson, a proud third-generation native of Washington, DC, came up with the concept "Black Girls Are Magic" when she was a little girl growing up with her mother, grandmother, and aunts. It sprang forth fully formed from the mind of a poor little Black girl who didn't yet have the words to describe the brilliance she saw in the women in her family, but had heard countless tales of fairies, witches, and magicians. It was just magic to her. And it still is.
Black Girls Are Magic became wildly popular in 2013 after CaShawn began using the phrase online (it was later shortened to the hashtag #BlackGirlMagic) to uplift and praise the accomplishments, beauty, and other amazing qualities of Black women.
Erased. Ignored. Hidden. Lost. Underappreciated. No longer. Delve into the unique, inspiring, and world-changing history of Black people.
Black leaders, writers, civil rights activists, scientists, and more have influenced, inspired, and changed the societies we live in. This history book's pages are filled with the stories of these historical giants and their contributions to the world.
Grow Your Understanding of Black History
This children's book, prefaced by Mireille Harper, introduces children to prominent Black people in history such as Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Nelson Mandela, Rosa Parks, and Dr. Martin Luther King. The timelines have been individually commissioned, with the stunning visual designs reflecting the essence of that particular historical person.
This visual reflection from DK Books will compel children to investigate further and understand world history and the important roles Black people played in shaping it:
- Features an equal number of timelines about women and men
- Explores the amazing stories of incredible figures often ignored by European-focused history
- Covers key moments in European, Caribbean, North American and African history, taking readers from pre-colonial Africa through the Jim Crow Era and the Civil Rights Movement to today's Black Lives Matter movement
- Created, designed, written, and edited by a multicultural team from many different nations, heritages, communities, faiths, and no faiths
From Mansa Musa to Barack Obama; learn about more than 100 Black leaders and historical individuals, and discover the 30 timelines from throughout world history in this compelling children's Black history book. Learn about Lewis Latimer and his integral contributions to the lightbulb, of how Ethiopia avoided colonisation thanks to its brave queen, and many more important moments in world and Black history.
Pages of visual representations take children, adolescents, and adults on a trip through history. Stacked with facts and visually vibrant, Timelines From Black History: Leaders, Legacies, Legends is an unforgettable and accessible hive of information on the people and the issues that have shaped Black history.
Meet the little leaders. They're brave. They're bold. They changed the world.
Featuring 40 trailblazing black women in the world's history, this book educates and inspires as it relates true stories of women who broke boundaries and exceeded all expectations.
Debut author/illustrator Vashti Harrison pairs captivating text with stunning illustrations as she tells the stories of both iconic and lesser-known female figures of black history, including:
Nurse Mary Seacole
Politician Diane Abbott
Mathematician Katherine Johnson
Singer Shirley Bassey
Among these biographies, readers will find heroes, role models and everyday women who did extraordinary things.
Author-illustrator Vashti Harrison shines a bold, joyous light on black men through history in this #1 New York Times bestseller.
An important book for readers of all ages, this beautifully illustrated and engagingly written volume brings to life true stories of black men in history. Among these biographies, readers will find aviators and artists, politicians and pop stars, athletes and activists. The exceptional men featured include writer James Baldwin, artist Aaron Douglas, filmmaker Oscar Devereaux Micheaux, lawman Bass Reeves, civil rights leader John Lewis, dancer Alvin Ailey, and musician Prince.
The legends in Little Legends: Exceptional Men in Black History span centuries and continents, but each one has blazed a trail for generations to come.
Each day features a different influential figure in African-American history, from Crispus Attucks, the first man shot in the Boston Massacre, sparking the Revolutionary War, to Madame C. J. Walker, who after years of adversity became the wealthiest black woman in the country, as well as one of the wealthiest black Americans, to Barack Obama, the country's first African-American president.
With powerful illustrations by Shane Evans, this is a completely unique look at the importance and influence of African Americans on the history of this country.
Caldecott Honor artist Faith Ringgold takes readers on an unforgettable journey through the Harlem Renaissance.
Lonnie and his uncle go back to Harlem in the 1920s. Along the way, they meet famous writers, musicians, artists, and athletes, from Langston Hughes and W.E.B. Du Bois to Josephine Baker and Zora Neale Hurston and many more, who created this incredible period. And after an exciting day of walking with giants, Lonnie fully understands why the Harlem Renaissance is so important.
Faith Ringgold's bold and vibrant illustrations capture the song and dance of the Harlem Renaissance while her story will captivate young readers, teaching them all about this significant time in our history. A glossary and further reading list are included in the back of the book.
A Black Woman Did That! spotlights vibrant, inspiring Black women whose accomplishments have changed the world for the better.
A Black Woman Did That! is a celebration of strong, resilient, innovative, and inspiring women of color. Through vibrant illustrations and engaging storytelling, author Malaika Adero spotlights well-known historical figures including Ida B. Wells, Madam CJ Walker, Mae Jemison, and Shirley Chisholm, as well as contemporary stars including Stacey Abrams, Jesmyn Ward, Ava DuVernay, and Amy Sherald.
Readers will recognize some names in the book, but will also be introduced to many important Black women who have changed history or who are reshaping the cultural landscape. They'll learn:
*how Barbara Harris became the first female bishop of the Episcopal Church
*how Misty Copeland became the first Black principal dancer of the American Ballet Theater
*how the work and inventions of Dr. Patricia Bath have saved or restored the eyesight of people around the world
*how Shirley Chisolm changed the face of politics in America
*how Glory Edim has turned her passion for reading into a thriving online community
*and much more!
Discover the lives of 16 extraordinary Black Americans in this engaging collection from Coretta Scott King Honor Award winner Tonya Bolden (Rec ages 10 yrs and up)
Untold numbers of Black men and women in America have achieved great things against the odds. In this insightful book, award-winning author Tonya Bolden commemorates the lives of sixteen Black individuals who dared to dream, take risks, and chart courses to success. They were Pathfinders.
In these pages you will meet Katherine Johnson, a mathematician who was instrumental in putting U.S. astronauts on the moon; Venture Smith, an African man who was enslaved in America but later bought his own freedom; Richard Potter, a magician whose methods paved the way for entertainers like Harry Houdini; Sissieretta Jones, an opera singer who captivated audiences all over the world with her enchanting voice; James Forten, a powder boy then prisoner of war during the Revolution who grew up to be one of Philadelphia's leading abolitionists and wealthiest citizens; James McCune Smith, the first Black university-trained physician in the United States; Mary Bowser, a spy during the Civil War; Allen Allensworth, town founder; Clara Brown, one of the first Black women to settle in what would become Colorado; Maggie Lena Walker, the first Black woman to run a bank; Charlie Wiggins, a race car driver; Eugene Bullard, a combat pilot in World War I; Oscar Micheaux, filmmaker; Jackie Ormes, cartoonist; Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander, an economist and attorney who fought for civil rights; and Paul R. Williams, architect of luxury homes and many iconic buildings in Los Angeles.
Powerful sound clips from twelve Black leaders amplified by bold illustrations and background facts illuminate pivotal moments of Black history in America.
With the touch of the button, hear impactful quotes spoken by inspiring Black Americans in primary source audio files. Aimed at children ages 7-12, a succinct profile of the speaker alongside an explanation of the significance of the quote and moment provide the context for each audio clip. A vibrant illustration of the speaker completes the picture.
Through the included quotes, kids gain an age-appropriate understanding of the strides made in the ongoing journey for equality, from the early days of sound recording to modern day.
Lift Every Voice and Change features the voices of:
Booker T. Washington
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr
Gladys Mae West
The voices chosen represent an equal number of men and women, historical and modern figures, across a variety of disciplines. Some are household names and others may very well be introduced to children for the first time! Inspire the next generation of leading voices by inviting them to listen to and learn from the Black leaders of yesterday and today. (Publishes January 2023)
Your turn! Which books would you add to this list? Let us know.
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VIDEO READ ALONG
Enjoy this live read-aloud/discussion of my book, 28 Days: Moments in Black History. Illustrations by Shane Evans. Published by Roaring Books Press/Macmillan.
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