Black History Month: A Book List


Since 1976, every United States president has designated the month of February as Black History Month — a time for us to celebrate the achievements of black Americans and recognize their role in history.

I’m working on expanding my kids’ library to reflect the influential history and achievements of African Americans. In honor of Black History Month, and as a participatory blog in the Multicultural Kids Blog Hop, I thought I would share some of our favorites. (This post contains affiliate links.)

harriettubman1. My First Biography: Harriet Tubman by Marion Dane Bauer 

We’re big fans of the “My First Biography” series by Scholastic at our house. We started reading a lot of books from this series when Yaya was just about three. The language is simple and easy for kids to understand, and I love teaching Yaya about courageous women in history who helped others.


2. I Have a Dream by Martin Luther King, Jr.

This book pairs excerpts from Dr. King’s famous speech with beautiful paintings by Kadir Nelson. It is one of our family’s favorites, and we read it often! (Bonus: It comes with an audio CD of the entire speech.)


3. Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom by Chris van Wyk

So I know Nelson Mandela wasn’t American, but he was incredibly influential over American politicians and activism, and he is a great man who I want my children to know about! This book is very detailed and there were parts that were over my 4-year-old’s head, but she still learned quite a bit from it. Because of its in-depth content, it will be a valuable book at our house for many years to come.slavery

3. If You Lived When There Was Slavery in America by Anne Kamma

Scholastic’s “If You Lived” series are another favorite in our home. These books are longer and contain a substantial amount of information, so we usually read them over the course of a couple of days. This book answers every potential question children might have about slavery — whether it’s what slaves ate, where they came from or how they were treated. I love that these books treat difficult subjects with compassion and respect.


4. I, Too, Am America by Langston Hughes

I love me some Langston Hughes, so pair his incredible poem about the Pullman porters with breathtaking illustrations and I’m sold.


5. Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman

While this book isn’t a non-fiction piece, I think it tells an important and relevant story. When Grace’s class plans a production of Peter Pan, she is told that she can’t be Peter Pan because she is black. Grace’s grandma encourages her to be anything that she wants to be, and takes her to see a ballet performed with a famous leading ballerina who is also black. When you read this book, you’ll understand why former First Lady Laura Bush said it was one of her five favorite picture books.


6. Visiting Langston by Willie Perdomo

This is an amazing picture book. The story is short and sweet — a rhythmic telling of a little girl who loves to write poetry and is excited to visit the home of poet Langston Hughes. What Yaya and I really enjoy about this books are the fabulous pictures. They are perfect for a book about this Harlem Renaissance hero.


7. Martin’s Big Words by Doreen Rappaport

We’ve read our share of books about Martin Luther King, Jr., and this one is one of our favorites. Dr. King’s power was in his words, and I just love the way the author weaves some of his words — and their importance — into this biography.


8. Of Thee I Sing by Barack Obama

While this children’s book isn’t strictly about African American history, it is written by the first African American president, so that definitely earns it a place on this list. Aside from the fact that I love the message and find it such a dear book, it also shares inspiring stories of important historical figures such as Jackie Robinson, Martin Luther King, Cesar Chavez and Helen Keller. I absolutely adore the diversity represented.

Are there any books in your collection that you would add to my list? Please share in the comments!

Multicultural Kid Blogs is sponsoring a blog hop in honor of Black History Month. Please visit the participating blogs below to learn a bit more about the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement worldwide.MKBbuttons-002_zps20f1b0de

Join the discussion in our Google+ community, and follow our Black History board on Pinterest! You can also share your own posts about Black History below.

Participating Blogs

Crafty Moms Share

Multicultural Kid Blogs

Africa to America

Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes

Kid World Citizen


All Done Monkey




  1. Thanks for these recommendations! We have only read a few of these, and am excited to borrow the rest from the library to explore with my kids!

  2. Thank you for sharing this! I am always looking for books for my son. Pinning this also! Visiting from Welcome Party Wednesday.

  3. What an incredible list! A few I had heard of but many I had not. Thank you so much for participating in MKB’s Black History Blog Hop!

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