Children's Books for Black History Month

Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

By: Doreen Rappaport
Illustrated by: Bryan Collier
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Martin Luther King Jr. grew up fascinated by big words. He would later go on to use these words to inspire a nation and call people to action. In this award-winning book, powerful portraits of King show how he used words, not weapons, to fight injustice.


Through My Eyes

By: Ruby Bridges
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Six-year-old Ruby Bridges became the first African American to integrate an elementary school. Her memories of that year, when so much hatred was directed at her, makes for a powerful memoir. A 1999 Parents' Choice Gold Award Winner.


Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer

By: Carole Boston Weatherford
Illustrated by: Ekua Holmes
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography, Poetry
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Stirring poems and vibrant collage illustrations combine to celebrate the life of Fannie Lou Hamer, a champion of the Civil Rights and voting rights movements during the 1950s through the 1970s. Born in the Mississippi delta, the youngest of 20 children, Hamer had to drop out of school after sixth grade to work in the cotton fields before she became a powerful voice for her people. The book vividly brings to life Hamer’s legacy with a message of hope, determination, and strength.


The Dream Keeper and Other Poems

By: Langston Hughes
Illustrated by: Brian Pinkney
Genre: Poetry
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

The great American poet Langston Hughes chose the poems in this classic collection, originally published for young people in 1932.


Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt

By: Deborah Hopkinson
Illustrated by: James Ransome
Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Clara is born into slavery but learns an important skill when she becomes a seamstress. Her quilting ability allows Clara to put together directions to escape north to freedom when she overhears a conversation about a route to Canada.


Two Friends

Two Friends

by Dean Robbins
Illustrated by Selina Alko, Sean Qualls
Ages Level: 7-10
Genre: Historical Fiction
Some people had rights, while others had none. Why shouldn't they have them, too?Two friends, Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass, get together for tea and conversation. They recount their similar stories fighting to win rights for women and African Americans. The premise of this particular exchange between the two is based on a statue in their hometown of Rochester, New York, which shows the two friends having tea.The text by award-winning writer Dean Robbins teaches about the fight for women's and African Americans' rights in an accessible, engaging manner for young children.

Minty: A Story Of Young Harriet Tubman

Minty: A Story Of Young Harriet Tubman

by Alan Schroeder
Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
Age Level: 5-7
Genre: Biography and Autobiography

Many people know about Harriet Tubman's adult life — how she helped hundreds of slaves escape to freedom along the Underground Railroad. But how many know about Harriet Tubman's life as a child on the Brodas plantation in the late 1820s? As a young slave, nicknamed "Minty," Harriet Tubman was a feisty and stubborn girl with a dream of escape, and whose rebellious spirit often got her into trouble. Pinkney's expressive illustrations bring every emotion to brilliant life — from troubled sorrow to spirited hope for freedom.


Dad, Jackie, And Me

Dad, Jackie, And Me

by Myron Uhlberg
Illustrated by Colin Bootman
Age Level: 8-10
Genre:Historical Fiction

An inspiring and sentimental tale of one famous summer in Brooklyn in 1947. It is the summer of 1947 and a highly-charged baseball season is underway in New York. Jackie Robinson is the new first baseman for the Brooklyn Dodgers — and the first black player in major league baseball. A young boy shares the excitement of Robinson's rookie season with his deaf father. Each day he listens eagerly to the Brooklyn Dodgers games on the radio. When his father arrives home from work, the boy uses sign language to tell him about the Dodgers. His father begins to keep a scrapbook, clipping photos and articles about Jackie. Finally one day the father delivers some big news: they are going to Ebbets Field to watch Jackie play in person!


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What Color Is My World?: The Lost History of African-American Inventors

By Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Raymond Obstfeld

Recommended ages: 8 and up

Did you know that African-American inventors had a hand in everything from the ice-cream scoop and the refrigerated food truck to cortisone cream and open-heart surgery? In this book co-authored by NBA star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, kids can learn about the great minds behind important inventions, product improvements, and scientific and medical discoveries that we take for granted.