Great Kids' Reads About Black History

Black Americans have always been an important part of the American story. Here are some of our favorite new kids’ books that focus on Black history and Black heroes, great for Black History Month and all year long.

 

General Nonfiction

Finding a Way Home

Finding a Way Home: Mildred and Richard Loving and the Fight for Marriage

By Larry Dane Brimner

Mildred was Black. Richard was white. That made their marriage illegal, until the brave couple fought to have laws against “mixed” marriages struck down. Suggested for grades 5–8.


Lifting as We Climb

Lifting as We Climb: Black Women’s Battle for the Ballot Box

By Evette Dionne

The long overdue story of Black women’s struggle for suffrage, and the obstacles they faced from white suffragettes. Suggested for grades 5–8.


Race Against Time

Race Against Time: The Untold Story of Scipio Jones and the Battle to Save Twelve Innocent Men

By Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace

An African American lawyer takes on the defense of a group of Black men who were unfairly sentenced to death. Suggested for grades 5–8.


Runaway: The Daring Escape of Ona Judge

Runaway: The Daring Escape of Ona Judge

By Ray Anthony Shepard

The true story of Ona Judge’s escape from slavery in the household of George Washington. Suggested for preschool–grade 4.


Stolen Justice

Stolen Justice: The Struggle for African American Voting Rights

By Lawrence Goldstone

Connects the dots between the suffrage struggles of Reconstruction and the voting rights struggles that Black Americans endure today. Suggested for grades 5–8.

 

The Teachers March!

The Teachers March! How Selma’s Teachers Changed History

By Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace

In 1965, a group of 104 teachers marched peacefully to the county courthouse in Selma, Alabama, to demand that Black citizens be allowed to register to vote. Suggested for grades K–4.

 

Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre

Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre

By Carole Boston Weatherford

Tulsa, Oklahoma, was home to a thriving district known as “Black Wall Street,” until 1921, when white mobs destroyed the district and killed many of its residents. Local officials and media covered up the attack, but the truth finally rose from the ashes. Suggested for grades 3–8.

Biographies

Baseball’s Leading Lady

Baseball’s Leading Lady: Effa Manley and the Rise and Fall of the Negro Leagues

By Andrea Williams

Effa Manley used her passion, personality, and smarts to build up the Negro Leagues at a time when Black players weren’t welcome in baseball. Suggested for grades 5–8.

 

Brave. Black. First.

Brave. Black. First. 50+ African American Women Who Changed the World

By Cheryl Willis Hudson

A tribute to each of the more than 50 African American women who changed the world for the better. Suggested for grades 3–6.

 

Changing the Equation

Changing the Equation: 50+ US Black Women in STEM

By Tonya Bolden

Profiles of more than 50 Black American women in STEM occupations. Suggested for grades 5–8.

 

Dream Builder

Dream Builder: The Story of Architect Philip Freelon

By Kelly Starling Lyons

Philip Freelon struggled to read as a child, but he grew up to become one of the country’s great architects. Suggested for grades 1–5.

 

The Highest Tribute

The Highest Tribute: Thurgood Marshall’s Life, Leadership, and Legacy

By Kekla Magoon

It was a fateful day when Thurgood Marshall was caught misbehaving in school and was punished by being forced to read the U.S. Constitution. That punishment developed his interest in the law. Marshall grew up to become a lawyer, then a judge, and finally a Supreme Court Justice renowned for his civil rights decisions. Suggested for grades K–4.

 

Jump at the Sun

Jump at the Sun: The True Life Tale of Unstoppable Storycatcher Zora Neale Hurston

By Alicia Williams

Zora Neale Hurston grew up loving the stories folks told, and so she began to tell stories herself. Her dad and her grandmother punished her for “telling lies,” but her mother encouraged her to “jump for the sun.” She did—and became one of the country’s great writers. Suggested for preschool–grade 3.

 

The Power of Her Pen

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

By Lesa Cline-Ransome

She started at her school newspaper in Chicago and took journalism all the way to Japan during World War II and to the White House briefing room, where she broke barriers as one of the first Black journalists. Suggested for grades 3–6.

 

She Was the First!

She Was the First! The Trailblazing Life of Shirley Chisholm

By Katheryn Russell-Brown

In 1968, Shirley Chisholm, became the first Black woman elected to Congress, and in 1972 she was the first Black candidate from a major political party (the Democratic party) to run for president. Suggested for grades 3–6.

 

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