Black History Month celebrates and honors all Black people from all periods of US history. I’m honored to share some of the books in nightly rotation in our home centering historical black figures. Reading these books with my children has sparked conversations about how we treat others with kindness and respect and introduced them to big ideas and dreams for their futures. 

By Bianca Barela & Cecelia Romero Likes

 

Dream Big, Little One by Vashti Harrison

Recommended Age, 2 – 5

This beautiful board-book highlights the accomplishments of 18 trailblazing black women throughout US history. It prompted us to do further research on them and their stories. This book is also available in an extended version titled 

Harlem’s Little Blackbird by Renée Watson and Christian Robinson

Recommended Age, 4 – 8

Florence Mills is a lesser known figure from the Harlem Renaissance who made a big impact on the history of Jazz music. The artfully crafted illustrations paired with the musicality and action of the text, brings the story of Florence’s voice to life and highlights her dedication to helping others. 

 

Child of the Civil Rights Movement by Paula Young Shelton and Raul Colon

Recommended Age, 4 – 8

Told from a four-year-old child’s point of view, author Paula Young Shelton shares what it was like for her growing up in the South as the daughter of Civil Rights activist Andrew Young. This story provides examples young children can relate to and is both moving and hopeful. 

I am Rosa Parks by Brad Meltzer and Christopher Eliopoulos 

Recommended Age, 4 – 8

Part of a larger picture book series titled Ordinary People Change the World, this biography of Rosa Parks uses childhood moments and conversational language paired with comic-book style illustrations to demonstrate the courage that Rosa Parks embodied when she stood up for herself and helped launch the US Civil Rights Movement. 

Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly and Winifred Conkling

Recommended Age, 5 – 9

Beautifully illustrated, this book highlights the story of four female African American mathematicians at NASA and how they overcame gender and racial bias to contribute to some of NASA’s greatest successes. Their genius and persistence will inspire readers of all ages.

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison

Recommended Age, 6 – 10

A true classic, perfect for the toddler who loves repitition, silly noises, and the alphabet! You will definitely find yourself humming the words of this tale to yourself throughout your day, and your little one will too!

Antiracist Baby by Ibram X. Kendi 

Inspired by the author’s 4-year-old daughter, this book was conceived as a tool for discussing racism with young children. The book proposes nine steps for discussing racism, with the ultimate goal of teaching children to be antiracist.

This Book is Antiracist by Tiffany Jewell

Organized in four sections—identity, history, taking action, and working in solidarity—each chapter of this book builds on the lessons of the previous section. The clear title and bold, colorful illustrations will immediately draw attention to this book, designed to guide young teenage readers on a personal journey to work to dismantle racism.  

 

Stamped (for Kids): Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi

Adapted from the groundbreaking bestseller Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, this book takes readers on a journey from present to past and back again. Kids will discover where racist ideas came from, identify how they impact America today, and meet those who have fought racism with antiracism. Along the way, they’ll learn how to identify and stamp out racist thoughts in their own lives. 

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