Children's Books for Celebrating African American History Month

Seira Wilson on January 31, 2018

YoungGiftedBlack200.jpgFebruary is African American History Month and there are many wonderful new books out for kids that celebrate not only the widely known heroes like Martin Luther King Jr. and Harriet Tubman, but also those who fought for freedom and broke barriers but until now have gone mostly unheralded. 

One of my favorites is Young, Gifted and Black because it also includes modern day trailblazers throughout our culture, from Stevie Wonder and Serena Williams to Oprah Winfrey and Nelson Mandela.  Below are a handful of other new children's books that shine the spotlight on remarkable African Americans throughout our history and our world.

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Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison

Meet 40 women who made their mark on our world, including figures like pilot Bessie Coleman and poet Maya Angelou.  The illustrations accompanying each bio are wonderfully rendered in this simple and elegant picture book for older readers. Ages 8 to 12

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Facing Frederick: The Life of Frederick Douglass, a Monumental American Man by Tonya Bolden

Commemorating Douglas' 200th birthday, this biography of the great abolitionist draws on new research to tell his story as never before. Ages 10 to 14

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The United States v. Jackie Robinson by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen

Jackie Robinson is already well known for his place in history as the first African American player in Major League baseball, but this picture book biography brings to light his time as a soldier during World War II.  Before he took the field of baseball Robinson fought injustice in our military system and stood for what was right no matter what.  Ages 4 to 8

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Let the Children March by Monica Clark-Robinson

Kids can make a difference, and that is never more evident than when we look at the children of Birmingham, Alabama in 1963 who took to the streets in protest.  Thousands of kids marched for civil rights--in spite of the violence they'd seen, and in spite of the fear of what could happen to them.  Their story is beautifully illustrated and inspiring.  Ages 6 to 9

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March Forward, Girl: From Young Warrior to Little Rock Nine by Melba Pattillo Beals

A first person account from one of the first children to attend school in the wake of desegregation, Melba Pattillo Beals.  In her memoir of childhood growing up in the Jim Crow South Beals recounts the daily injustices she and her community suffered, and the warrior spirit that led her to face adversity time and again.  Ages 10 and up.

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