Books to Read During Black History Month

February is Black History Month and the perfect time to read books about Black people that made history. Here are some of our favorite picks.

Introducing children to culturally diverse books helps them begin to understand concepts like race and ethnicity. These books help kids learn about Black history through mini-biographies, stories based on historical events and relatable fiction.

Some of these books teach kids about life as a slave, or what it was like to experience civil rights movements through the eyes of youngsters. Kids of all ages and backgrounds will love the stories and learn something new.

Parker Looks Up: An Extraordinary Moment by Parker Curry and Jessica Curry

Photo courtesy of Amazon
  • Best for ages: 4-8

Parker is visiting a museum with her family when she discovers Amy Sherald’s portrait of First Lady Michelle Obama. But to Parker, she sees a queen. Find out how this painting encounter becomes an impactful moment for this young girl.

Bedtime Inspirational Stories: 50 Amazing Black People Who Changed The World by L. A. Amber

Courtesy of Amazon

  • Best for ages: 4-8

Short stories make easy reading for parents or young learners. Each tale contains questions — like “Have you ever heard of a place called Haiti?” or “Are you courageous?” — that kids can answer and learn about historical figures. From Thomas L. Jennings (the inventor of dry cleaning) to Jackie Joyner-Kersee, kids have a chance to see themselves in each story.

The ABC’s of Black History Coloring Book by Albina Ann

Courtesy of Amazon

  • Best for ages: 3-8

This 116-page coloring book features important African Americans who shaped the history of our country. Young children will enjoy coloring the pictures of Black heroes, and older kids can learn a bit about prominent civil rights leaders, athletes and professionals who changed history through the captions and scenes on each page.

Texting With Black History by Bobby Basil

Courtesy of Amazon

  • Best for ages: 4-8

Using cues that a screen-adept generation is used to, young readers can learn history through conversations with Martin Luther King Jr., Sojourner Truth and Aretha Franklin. Curious Alex “texts” conversations with each person, picking up biographical information along the way.

The ABCs of Black History by Rio Cortez

Photo courtesy of Amazon
  • Best for ages: 5-10

Kids can go through the alphabet as they learn about the achievements throughout Black History like H is for Harlem and M is for Matter. At the back of the book, you can even read more facts about what’s represented for each letter.

You Come from Greatness: A Celebration of Black History by Sarah Chinakwe and Ken Daley

Courtesy of Amazon

  • Best for ages: 3-7

History comes to life in this picture book that features a young boy who learns he comes from a powerful line of Black heroes — and discovers he has that same potential and greatness in himself! Beautiful illustrations tell stories of Black history that children of all backgrounds can learn from.

Ride to Remember: A Civil Rights Story by Sharon Langley and Amy Nathan

Photo courtesy of Amazon
  • Best for ages: 6-9

Based on a true story, A Ride to Remember shares a civil rights story where a community worked together to peacefully fight integration for the Gwynn Oak Amusement Park in Maryland. Co-author Sharon Langley was the first African-American child to ride the carousel.

If You Were A Kid During The Civil Rights Movement, by Gwendolyn Hooks and Kelly Kennedy

Photo courtesy of Amazon
  • Best for ages: 6-10

Kids get a primer on segregation as a youngster starts a new school and another is trying to learn about demonstrations through her older brothers. By using characters the same age as the reader, youngsters can put themselves in the shoes of a segregated student.

The Bell Rang by James E. Ransome

Photo courtesy of Amazon
  • Best for ages: 6-10

Written through the voice of a young slave girl who details an eventful week with her family, parents should be cautious that some events — such as hitting or whipping — could be difficult for youngest readers. The author explains in a note at the end that he wanted young readers to understand the choices of enslaved people and the impact on slavery and families.

Civil Rights Then and Now: A Timeline of the Fight for Equality in America by Kristina Brooke Daniele

Photo courtesy of Amazon
  • Best for ages: 8-12

From biographies of historical figures to the background on landmark cases that shaped the Civil Rights Movement, kids will start in the South after the Civil War and advance to leaders in the modern era.

Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre by Carole Boston Weatherford

Photo courtesy of Amazon
  • Best for ages: 8-12

Considered as one the worst incidents of racial violence in U.S. history, the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921 is retold when a white mob attacked the Black community. Weatherford tells the tragic tale in such a powerful way to help children understand what happened and how it was largely omitted from history until decades later. 

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison

Photo courtesy of Amazon
  • Best for ages: 8-12

From Phyllis Wheatley (poet) to Dominique Dawes (gymnast), kids can learn about the women who wrote the history books. A short bio of each woman and her accomplishments accompanies the adorable portrait that the Little Dreamers books are known for. There is also an accompanied book called Little Legends: Exceptional Men in Black History.

A Child’s Introduction to African American History by Jabari Asim

Photo courtesy of Amazon
  • Best for ages: 8-12

Kids will learn beyond the classroom with info on speeches, marches and profiles of Civil Rights leaders, athletes to remember, authors to read and political heroes. Illustrations by Lynn Gaines add beauty to the book and a removable timeline is something parents can return to year after year to remind kids of all ages of history.

The Watsons Go To Birmingham – 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis

  • Best for ages: 8-12

Winner of the Newberry and Coretta Scott King awards, this is the tale of a summer trip from Michigan to Alabama in the midst of the Civil Rights Movement. The family happens to be in Birmingham when Grandma’s church is blown up. 

Finding Langston by Lesa Cline-Ransome

  • Best for ages: 8-13
Photo courtesy of Amazon

Chicago kids will appreciate Langston’s view of the city, as it comes after he and his father move from Alabama. Langston finds the Chicago Public Library in 1946 and learns about Langston Hughes. Kids who love the library will quickly appreciate what Langston the reader learns.

Changing the Equation: 50+ US Black Women in STEM by Tonya Bolden

Photo courtesy of Amazon
  • Best for ages: 10-14

There are so many Black women in the United States that have changed the STEM world. Now you can read about more than 50 of these extraordinary women in this inspiring book celebrating their accomplishments.

Civil Rights Then and Now: A Timeline of Past and Present Social Justice Issues in America by Kristina Brooke Danielle and Lindsey Bailey

Courtesy of Amazon

  • Best for ages: 8-12

Present day social issues are connected to their historical roots in this book for youth who are curious about past and current civil rights movements. This crash course in history connects biographies of historical Black people to modern Black activists, and landmark supreme court cases and other historical events to the present-day Black Lives Matter movement. 


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Metro Parent Editorial Team
Metro Parent Editorial Team
Since 1986, the Metro Parent editorial team is trained to be the go-to source for metro Detroit families, offering a rich blend of expert advice, compelling stories, and the top local activities for kids. Renowned for their award-winning content, the team of editors and writers are dedicated to enriching family life by connecting parents with the finest resources and experiences our community has to offer.

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