Why do we celebrate/appreciate Black History Month? Because Black History is American History. End of story. So for Black History Month, I’ve picked up a few new books and compiled a list of books for when P gets older.
is one of my FAVORITE books on Penny’s shelf right now. Vashti Harrison’s illustrations are so sweet, and the biographies of the women in black history included range from the well known to ones even mom and dad will learn about while reading. The biographies themselves are geared towards an age group slightly only than Penelope, but she loves looking at the illustrations and sits through a few biographies at a time. This book will definitely grow with her, and be well loved as she ages.
is a book that focuses on the Birmingham Children’s Crusade in 1963. It is told in the first person, and will definitely spark conversations between parents and children.
It doesn’t shy around the details of the violent reception to the peaceful demonstration, but the book’s message of unity and perseverance and the amazing things that kids can accomplish is one of my favorite aspects. This is a book that will resonate with a wide age range for kids and adults.
is recommended for ages 4-8, and isn’t strictly about African American women, but includes Ruby Bridges, and Mae Jemison. So while I wouldn’t suggest this as a primary book for Black History Month, it’s a great lesson in girl power throughout history.
Chances are, you’ve already seen the movie HIDDEN FIGURES, the story of NASA’s female computers. Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race tells the story of Mary Jackson, Dorothy Vaughan, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden. Again, the illustrations are gorgeous, and this book is a must for any house interested in STEM topics. If your kids are older, check out the Hidden Figures Young Readers’ Edition!
Sticking with women in science, Mae Among the Stars tells the story of Mae Jemison, the first African American woman to travel in space, and someone on whom I have a major science-lady crush. lol. The illustrations are colorful and adorable (seriously, I want prints by Stasia Burrington, the illustrator for Penny’s bedroom and playroom).
This book focuses on Mae’s early life and reiterates the importance of pursuing your dreams.
is a great book for kids of all ages. It opens up conversations about inequality and how to honor Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy by the choices you make every day.
tells the story of the Greensboro Sit-Ins from the first person perspective of an 8-year-old girl. It covers the unfair situations before the sit-in, the sit-in itself, and the struggle and changes after. The illustrations aren’t as captivating as some of the others in this post, but the story is compelling and sparks discussion. Because it’s from the perspective of a child, kids can connect with the material.
Great Books for Older Kids/Homeschoolers
28 Days: Moments in Black History that Changed the World is a great book for reading throughout the month of February, and breaking down into more detailed history lessons. I really appreciate this book because the moments included range from 1770 (with the death of Crispus Attucks) to present day. Black History and achievements of African Americans are so much more than JUST the Civil Rights Movement. The 50’s and 60’s tend to get a lot of the “attention” when it comes to popular culture and black history. It’s important for kids to have a well-rounded knowledge of black history.
Each day is set up a little differently with a poem or quote, and then more detailed information immediately after. This book is a bit too old for Penny, but an awesome addition to a library for older children or homeschoolers.
Similar to above, but geared towards an older age range, 100 African-Americans Who Shaped American History (100 Series) has biographies of 100 different African Americans and lists their contributions. Another great one for month-long reading.
Do you have any favorites I left off the list? Let me know!