Must-Read Kids’ Books for Black History Month
February is Black History Month, and books are an easy and fun way to introduce your kids to African American historical events and figures. Check out some of our favorite releases.
The Story of Rap by Editors of Caterpillar Books and Lindsey Sagar
This baby book introduces little ones to the rappers who started it all and gives an interactive look at the history of music. For ages newborn-2.
I Look Up To…Oprah Winfrey by Anna Membrino and Fatti Burke
This board book highlights important traits of the impressive powerhouse, along with inspiring quotes. Other books in the I Look Up To…series includes Michelle Obama, Serena Williams and Misty Copeland. For ages newborn-3.
Martin Luther King Jr. by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara and Mai Ly Degnan
From the Little People, BIG DREAMS series, read about the life of Martin Luther King Jr., the inspiring minister and civil rights activist, accompanied by illustrations, facts and a biographical timeline. Other books in the series about African Americans include Maya Angelou, Ella Fitzgerald, Harriet Tubman and more. For ages 4-7.
Flying High: The Story of Gymnastics Champion Simone Biles by Michelle Meadows and Ebony Glenn
This lyrical picture book details the life of Simone Biles, a gymnastics champion and Olympic superstar. Part of the Who Did It First series, you can also read about important scientists, artists, mathematicians and more with the other books. For ages 4-8.
The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read by Rita Lorraine Hubbard and Oge Mora
Mary Walker was born into slavery in 1848, and her life spanned from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement. At 116, she learned to read. For ages 4-8.
Mae Among the Stars by Roda Ahmed and Stasia Burrington
Mae Jemison became the first African American woman to travel in space, and this picture book will help readers believe they can also reach for the stars. For ages 4-8.
Brave Ballerina: The Story of Janet Collins by Michelle Meadows and Ebony Glenn
Janet Collins was the first African American principal dancer at the Metropolitan Opera House, pursuing her dreams at a time when racial segregation tried to prevent her from succeeding. Kids will love this inspiring story of never giving up. For ages 4-8.
Dream Builder: The Story of Architect Philip Freelon by Kelly Lyons and Laura Freeman
In 2009, Philip Freelon’s team won a commission that let him use his personal history in service to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. Learn more about the life of this contemporary Black STEAM role model. For ages 4-9.
Fearless Mary: Mary Fields, American Stagecoach Driver by Tami Charles and Claire Almon
A little-known figure in history, Mary Fields became the first female African American stagecoach driver in 1895, traveling the badlands with her pet eagle and protecting mail from outlaws and wild animals. Kids will love this fascinating tale of a trail-blazing woman. For ages 5-7.
HBCU Proud by Yvette Manns and Catarina Neto
During spring break, Q’s aunt takes him to tour an HBCU (historically black college and university), where he learns about the importance, legacy, people and culture of HBCUs. Fun fact: Author Manns is an alumna of Clark Atlanta University. For ages 5-9.
The ABCs of Black History by Rio Cortez and Lauren Semmer
Use the alphabet to explore Black history, iconic figures, ideas and significant moments. Young readers will learn about the Great Migration, Zora Neale Hurston, Malcolm X and more through rhymes and illustrations. For ages 5 and older.
She Persisted: Harriet Tubman by Andrea Davis Pinkney, Chelsea Clinton, Alexandra Boiger and Gillian Flint
Harriet Tubman became one of the most successful, determined and well-known conductors of the Underground Railroad, and this chapter book biography details her life from slavery to freedom. For ages 6-9.
A Ride to Remember: A Civil Rights Story by Sharon Langley, Amy Nathan and Floyd Cooper
The true story of how a community came together to change segregated amusement parks. Co-author Sharon Langley was the first African American child to ride the carousel at Gwynn Oak Amusement Park, and older children will appreciate the photos, timeline and more at the back of the book. For ages 6-9.
Carter Reads the Newspaper by Deborah Hopkinson and Don Tate
Read about the father of Black History Month, Carter G. Woodson. As a child, he read the newspaper to his father every day to help him be an informed citizen. His interests lead him to traveling the world to research people and history. For ages 6-10.
Texting with Black History by Bobby Basil
Curious Alex has the opportunity to text with Martin Luther King Jr., Sojourner Truth and Aretha Franklin, and he learns about strong people who stand up for what they believe in this three-book collection. For ages 8-12.
A Black Woman Did That! by Malaika Adero and Chanté Timothy
Learn about more than 40 historical women and modern-day heroines who are pushing boundaries, including Harriet Tubman, Madam CJ Walker and Serena Williams. With illustrations, biographies and storytelling, kids will be inspired to follow in these women’s footsteps to pursue their own dreams. For ages 8-12.
Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library by Carole Boston Weatherford and Eric Velasquez
Afro-Puerto Rican Arturo Schomburg collected books, letters, music and art from Africa and the African diaspora. His groundbreaking collection, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, has created an impact for scholars all over the world. For ages 8-12.
A Child’s Introduction to African American History: The Experiences, People and Events That Shaped Our Country by Jabari Asim and Lynn Gaines
This fact-filled book of history discusses politics, activism, sports, entertainment and more. Readers will follow the slave trade, the Civil War, the Civil Rights Movement and more, along with learning about important trailblazers.
For ages 8-12.
Little Legends: Exceptional Men in Black History by Vashti Harrison and Kwesi Johnson
Read about black men in this beautifully illustrated book, including civil rights leader John Lewis, writer James Baldwin, dancer Alvin Ailey and more. Companion book, “Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History,” looks at important African American women throughout history. For ages 8-12.
Be inspired by amazing Black women who have shattered the glass ceiling as computer scientists, doctors, inventors and physicists and become pioneers in their field. Readers will learn more about these women and the field of STEM. For ages 10-14.