Celebrating Black History with Children’s Books

28 Feb Celebrating Black History with Children’s Books

By Juliana Avery

In 1976, President Gerald Ford designated February as Black History Month, chosen because it coincided with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.

He called it an, “opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” We encourage our community to celebrate the accomplishments, culture, and spirit of African Americans by sharing these books with their children.


rosaparksI Am Rosa Parks by Brad Meltzer.

This title is part of the author’s “Ordinary People Change the World” series. “Kids always search for heroes, so we might as well have a say in it,” said Meltzer. Told in a relatable way, the story of Rosa Parks’ heroism aboard a Montgomery, Alabama bus is revived for today’s kids with colorful illustrations and characters who speak with comic-like speech bubbles. The book is complete with photos of Rosa Parks from 1955.

Recommended for ages 3-5.





This Jazz Man by Karen Ehrhardtjazzman

In this musical and colorful tribute to jazz legends Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong, children are introduced to their stories and music while practicing counting to the tune of the familiar nursery favorite “This Old Man.”

Recommended for ages 3 and up.







rubybridgesThe Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles

This beautiful picture book tells the true story of six-year-old Ruby Bridges, one of the first children to integrate an whites-only school in the 1960s. Ruby’s story is one of courage and perseverance in the face of prejudice.

Recommended for ages 3-5.







mosquitosbuzzWhy Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears: A West-African Tale by Verna Aardema

This Caldecott Award winner is presented in the format of a traditional African story which explains the way things are – in this case why mosquitoes bother humans. Husband-and-wife team Leo and Diane Dillon’s illustrations mimic the movement and color of the African landscape.

Recommended for ages 5 and up.






wangari'streesWangari’s Trees of Peace by Jeanette Winter

The true story of a girl who grew up in Kenya and returned years later to find the forests of her childhood being destroyed and decided to make a difference by planting trees in her own yard. An everyday hero who earned the Nobel Peace Prize for her work, Wangari teaches a new generation of children that they can change the world through small and simple ways by noticing what’s going on around them.

Recommended for ages 3-7.






martin'sbigwordsMartin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Doreen Rappaport

Highlighting quotes from the leader of the Civil Rights Movement, this picture-book autobiography introduces children to Dr. King and his ideals in a simple, engaging way. The work also includes a timeline of important dates for the Civil Rights movement.

Recommended for ages 5-8.


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