One of the best ways to celebrate Black History Month with kids is by reading books that uplift black voices and stories. These stories can be based on the lives of real individuals or they can even be fictional stories that encourage Black children (and others) to see that there is no limit to what one can do.
While February is Black History Month, it shouldn’t be the only time that we read books that celebrate Black people and their accomplishments – main characters should represent our country as a whole and that means diversifying our book shelves.
Here are six books that you can add to your library today and why we recommend them.
In this book, the relationship between fathers and sons is celebrated. It is a child-centered book and the imagery that is provided is one that we wish all Black parents and their children could experience.
Stacey’s Extraordinary Words is the first children’s book by politician and activist Stacey Abrams. In this book, Stacey tells a fictionalized story of her first spelling bee and reminds readers that integrity and courtesy are more important than victory.
This book showcases the life of the first African American woman to travel in space, Mae Jemison. With Mae’s curiosity, intelligence and her parents’ encouragement, she was able to pave her way to NASA. This book is an inspiration for both bigs and littles.
Carrying on our theme of extraordinary Black women is this book based on the first nationally-known African American fashion designer. This picture book biography presents Ann’s life, including the racism she faces and how she prevailed as one of the premier designers of her time.
If you have an elementary-aged child, you’ve probably seen Netflix’s show based on this picture book. While this book is completely fictional, it offers a Black child as a main character without basing her story on her skin color. She is a scientist who just happens to be Black and that is noteworthy in itself.
This book is a must-read and read-aloud for parents and their children. In this memoir, Jacqueline recalls her childhood in a way that leaves readers feeling as if they’re part of her story. It recounts Jacqueline’s childhood in New York and South Carolina during the 60s and 70s when racism didn’t hide its ugly face. It is moving and inspirational and a must for families who are looking to understand more of Black stories.
Although February may be a short month, we encourage you to diversify your shelves throughout the year with stories of those who look nothing like you because there is beauty in learning about the struggles and success of others.