42 Picture Books Celebrating Black History and Identity
These picture books celebrate black history, and black characters living their lives, fighting for change and equal rights, and improving life for everyone.
Celebrating Black History and Identity
If you are interested in children’s picture books as I am, you will have noticed the increase (thankfully) in titles about black history and identity.
No matter the cultural makeup of your school, your students need access to books that educate and counter racism and prejudice. Black children need to see themselves represented in books, and other children need to read about the experiences and lives of other cultures.
There are over 40 picture book recommendations in the list below. The books explore many aspects of black history and culture, including:
- Role models who fought for change and equal rights.
- Scientists and inventors who improved all our lives.
- People who experience racism, prejudice, and intolerance.
- Positive relationships that inspire and empower.
Black History Month
Books with black characters like the ones below need to be accessible to students all year round. Black History Month, observed in America during February and in the UK in October offers the opportunity to celebrate the history, art and culture of people often under-represented in literacy and media.
You will find resources below the suggested books which provide ways to teach and discuss racism, slavery, and prejudice in the classroom.
Children’s Books Embracing Black History and Identity
The Book Itch: Freedom, Truth & Harlem's Greatest Bookstore by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson
Coming to England: An Inspiring True Story Celebrating the Windrush by Floella Benjamin
Counting on Katherine by Helaine Becker
A Dance Like Starlight: One Ballerina’s Dream by Kristy Dempsey
Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah by Laurie Ann Thompson
Fannie Lou Hamer by Carole Boston Weatherford
Freedom Summer by Deborah Wiles
Henry’s Freedom Box by Ellen Levine
The Herd Boy by Niki Daly
Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
Islandborn by Junot Díaz
Kamala Harris: Rooted in Justice by Nikki Grimes
Let the Children March by Monica Clark-Robinson
Libba: The Magnificent Musical Life of Elizabeth Cotten by Laura Veirs
Lillian's Right to Vote by Jonah Winter
Malcolm Little: The Boy Who Grew Up to Become Malcolm X by Ilyasah Shabazz
Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Doreen Rappaport
My Two Grannies by Floella Benjamin
Parker Looks Up: An Extraordinary Moment by Parker Curry
Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library by Carole Boston Weatherford
Something Beautiful by Sharon Dennis Wyeth
The Teachers March! by Sandra Neil Wallace
The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander
Unspoken: A Story from the Underground Railroad by Henry Cole
White Water by Michael S. Bandy
The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a Young Civil Rights Activist by Cynthia Levinson
Babcock: Black History Resources
BBC: Black and British: A Forgotten History
BBC Teach: Black History Month – Teacher Resources (Primary & Secondary)
The Children’s University of Manchester: Black History
Edmentum: Black History Month Resource Pack
GCHQ: Black History Month Schools Resource Pack
National Education Union: Black History Matters
Scholastic: Black History Month Lesson Plans and Teaching Resources
Stonewall Scotland: Black History Month – lesson plans for primary schools
TeacherVision: Black History Month Activities
TeachWire: Black History Month UK 2020 – KS2 lesson plan, posters, resources & ideas for primary schools
Teaching Tolerance: Black History Month: Teaching the Complete History
These videos can be used in the classroom for different ages and understanding. Some are videos have watched recently and learned from. Take the time to watch the videos, whether in your classroom or for yourself.
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