Celebrating Black History Month: Recommendations for Youth and Families

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Since 1976, February has been celebrated as Black History Month in the United States. Then-President Gerald Ford urged the American public to take February as their time to "seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout history."

The recommendations below both honor exceptional Black individuals from history as well as the everyday lives of Black children and families. 

For resources on talking with your children about how race, ethnicity, and culture impact our experience of the world around us, visit Sesame Street in Communities.


Black is a Rainbow Color by Angela Joy; illustrated by Ekua Holmes

A child reflects on the meaning of being Black in this anthem about a people, a culture, a history, and a legacy that lives on.


Bedtime Bonnet by Nancy Redd; illustrated by Nneka Myers

As family members braid, brush, twirl, roll, and tighten their hair before bedtime, putting on kerchiefs, wave caps, and other protective items, the little sister cannot find her bonnet.


We Are Here by Tami Charles; illustrated by Bryan Collier

Lyrical, affirmational, and bursting with love, We Are Here is a poignant story about Black and brown heritage and community. Full of assurance, tenderness, and triumph, this much-anticipated follow-up to the New York Times bestselling picture book All Because You Matter offers an equally inspirational and arresting ode to all of the Black women and men throughout history who have made momentous contributions from the beginning of time.


The ABCs of Black History by Rio Cortez; illustrated by Lauren Semmer

B is for Beautiful, Brave, and Bright! And for a Book that takes a Bold journey through the alphabet of Black history and culture. Letter by letter, The ABCs of Black History celebrates a story that spans continents and centuries, triumph and heartbreak, creativity and joy.


Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre by Carole Boston Weatherford; illustrated by Floyd Cooper

On May 31 and June 1, 1921, an armed mob looted homes and businesses as Black families fled. The police did nothing to protect Greenwood, and as many as three hundred African Americans were killed, most buried in unmarked graves. Thousands were left homeless. No official investigation occurred until seventy-five years later. Unspeakable helps young readers understand the events of the Tulsa, Oklahoma race massacre, one of the worst incidents of racial violence in our nation's history.


Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes

After seventh-grader Jerome is shot by a white police officer, he observes the aftermath of his death and meets the ghosts of other fallen black boys including historical figure Emmett Till.


What Is Black Lives Matter? by Lakita Wilson

The history and importance of the Black Lives Matter movement is discussed.


King and the Dragonflies by Karen Callender

King is sure that his brother, Khalid, has turned into a dragonfly. After Khalid unexpectedly passed away, he shed his first skin for another and found refuge in the backwaters of their small Louisiana town. Khalid still visits in dreams, a secret King must keep to himself -- that, and the fact that he might be gay. As King watches grief transform his family, he comes to understand the beauty and redemption of learning to fly past the secrets that keep him from rising to his truest self.


Stamped (For Kids): Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X. Kendi, adapted by Jason Reynolds and Sonja Chery-Paul

RACE. Uh-oh. The R-word. But actually talking about race is one of the most important things to learn how to do. Adapted from the groundbreaking bestseller Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You.


Black Boy Joy by Kwame Mbalia, et al.

From seventeen acclaimed Black male and nonbinary authors comes a vibrant collection of stories, comics, and poems about the power of joy and the wonders of Black boyhood.


Note: Summaries are publisher-provided.

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