While teaching I always was on the hunt for new books to use as a tool for starting open decisions about every topic under the sun. So, in this weeks blog post, I wanted to create a diverse collection of books everyone can refer back to gather inspiration to teach our children about black history and be allies to the black community. It is crucial to start this conversation with our child to allow equality and harmony to unfold for generations to come. Each children’s book included in this post is special and unique and they all deserve to be shared.
Reading these books I have learned so much. I am grateful for all of the authors and illustrators included, giving these inspirational people a way to sharing their stories with young children today. Without further ado, here is 20 Books That Teach Children About Black History!
*This post contains affiliate links
“All Because You Matter” is a phenomenal book for many reasons. From the unique and beautiful illustrations to the powerful and poetic words with an important message to all. I believe that every child growing up in 2021 must-read or own this book. It is necessary and extremely important for children who listen to the news, who experiences racism or have asked questions about all of the hateful things that have happened in the past few years. It can also start meaningful conversations and awareness to the Black Lives Matter movement and create an open discussion on the senseless killings of innocent black boys and men like Treyvon Martin, Tamir Rice, and Philando Castile. In addition, it shines a light on how important their stories are and that they will never be forgotten.
“A Place To Land” is a book about such a historic day, August 27, 1963, the night before “The March On Washington” and American Civil Rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. and his process of writing his famous speech. This book mentions many important people like his advisors, all the past heroes like Rosa Parks, Fannie Lou, and so many more. Also included are all of the horrible things they endured while fighting for equality, justice, peace, and what’s right. After his speech, John F Kennedy invites him to the White House, and I teared up because it is such a powerful moment in history.
“The ABC’s Of Black History” is one of my favourites on this list. It has such beautiful and unique illustrations through-out the book. It is an informative, inspirational, and educational book that is fantastic for children to learn about Black History. It breaks down various topics, including civil rights, celebrations, and groundbreaking individuals who stood up for their rights. Each letter in the alphabet has fantastic poetry-toned words on each page that provide excellent examples of words starting with that letter. Each letter has such inspirational language, affirmations of strength and unity, and tells people’s truths so that children to listen, learn, and understand. I know I learned a lot from letters T, U, X, and Y. Comment down below if you agree with me.
“Jabari Tries” shares four significant and important black inventors that created items that we use to this very day. Jabari uses them for inspiration to create a toy that flies. His dad provides him with some fantastic advice and shows him a perfect way for Jabari to refocus after getting frustrated. He also suggests he and his sister work together to collaborate with and learn from each other. I enjoyed the playfulness of the words on some pages, and the illustrations were perfect! This is an excellent book for supporting and teaching your child how to manage and overcome their stress.
I created 3 worksheets for children to learn the names of some truly brilliant and innovative black inventors. Their helpful inventions have made life easier for all and I can’t wait for you to learn all about them.
*hint: We all use these inventions every day!
Click here to purchase them from my Etsy Store.
“Let Them Play” is a true story based on the segregation that occurred in baseball in Charleston, South Carolina, in the ’50s. These 14 boys were determined to be baseball players like their hero Jackie Robinson, but in 1955, most baseball teams in South Carolina only had white players. So, The Charleston Cannon Street YMCA All-Stars formed. This is an excellent story of hope, encouragement, teamwork, and creating your path. My favourite part of this book is when everyone in the crowd of 5,000 people chanted “Let Them Play,” it was so powerful and made the boys feel like they belonged. This book is perfect for children in grades 2-5+. It is truly a special book and story.
“The Story Of Ruby Bridges” is a beautifully written biography-style children’s book that shares Ruby’s journey as the first black child in an all-white school in segregated New Orlando in the 1960’s. I admire Ruby for her bravery, determination, and strength for focusing on her education despite angry screaming mobs every morning while walking into her school. The author did a fantastic job describing the events, and the illustrations paint the picture. My favourite part of this book was when she shared her prayers for all of those in the mobs of screaming parents loitering outside of the school every morning. This book was inspirational, and I hope we can all learn something from Ruby Bridges and her family.
“Mae Among The Stars” is a beautiful story about the first African American woman to travel to space, astronaut Mae Jemison. This book shares Mae’s dream of dancing in space and how she longed to be an astronaut. Despite comments from her teacher, she has her family’s support. In Mae’s adult life, she made her dreams come true and became an astronaut at NASA. She visited space in 1992 and made history! The illustrations of this book are beautiful. This book’s message is to dream big, work hard and believe in yourself no matter what and it is a must-read for children everywhere.
“The Book Itch” has so many rich lessons throughout the book on various topics such as equality, freedom, truth, and so much more. The illustrations are prenominal and create the perfect background for the story. This story is all about The National Memorial African Bookstore located in Harlem Square. Many visitors like Muhamad Ali spent time there, and Malcolm X was good friends with Louis Micho or “The Professor,” who owned the store. He managed to create a safe and peaceful place for everyone in the community to learn and read.
“The Youngest Marcher” is about 9-year-old Audrey Faye Hendricks and her role in the civil rights movement in Birmingham, Alabama, in the early 1960s. This book paints a picture of the horrible segregation laws and how far everyone was from equally. If you want to find out how far she went to fight to end all segregation laws, then you’ll have to read this fantastic book.
“Bedtime Inspirational Stories” is a collection of 50 influential black musicians, actors, and history makers that have left their mark on the world in so many different ways. I bought this book last February and have enjoyed reading about each person to the girls. This book has more words than pictures so keep that in mind if your child is younger.
“I Am Enough” has fantastic illustrations that are simple but so detailed. This book has such a great message that even though we all look different, all of us deserve to live a life of love, not fear and hate. This book has beautiful but straightforward words that are perfect for even young children to understand.
“Mama Panya’s Pancakes” has my favourite illustrations on this list. They are vibrant, and the colours in the patterns used for everyone’s clothing are beautiful. I love the sense of community throughout this book. It is so sweet how Adika, her son, wants to invite all of his friends to eat pancakes for dinner. At the end of the story, there is some facts about life in Kenya.
“Skin Like Mine” I love the cartoon style of illustrations throughout this book. My favourite quote from this book is, “Colour should never keep two people from being close.” This book talks about so many important messages about inclusion, self-confidence, anti-racism, and so much more.
“Hair Like Mine” being unique is the main subject through this book, and I enjoyed this young girl is on a mission to find someone with the same hair that she has, but she discovers that everyone is different. I love when she saw identical twins, and she noticed that if she looked close, they also had differences. Being a mother of identical twins, I agree there are differences.
“Sulwe” is a magical story about finding your inner beauty and loving yourself for who you are. Sulwe is seeking ways to change her skin colour because people are not kind to her, and she wanted to look like other children to find friends. Sulwe’s mom helps her navigate, finding beauty in her uniqueness and feeling happy inside and out. The illustrations are magnificent and help tie in space, the night sky, and the stars in the sky. Did you know Sulwe means star in Luo, the language that the author speaks?
“Who Is Michelle Obama” is an excellent story about the one-of-a-kind Michelle Obama. She is such a kind, funny, and intelligent person, and this is an excellent biography of her and her life. I loved the part when she met Barak Obama, and it was so interesting to hear about their life before becoming the President and First Lady.
“All Are Welcome” has beautiful illustrations that are so diverse with many people from different. Feeling safe and excepted at school is such an important topic for children starting school. I believe that the last quotes of the book sum it up best,
“You have a place here.”
“You have space here.”
“You are welcomed here.”
“The Colors Of Us” has such a fantastic approach to learning about colours and how unique and beautiful everyone’s skin tones are. I love how Lena describes everyone’s skin tones by using foods like cinnamon, coffee, and french toast. I love how the illustrations are filled with patterns and vibrate colours.
“The Other Side” is about a young black girl named Clover who one morning saw a little white girl with a pink dress named Annie on the other side of the fence in her backyard. Their parents told them not to go beyond the fence, but a unique friendship grows between these girls and Clover’s friends one summer.
“Who Was Harriet Tubman? ” is an excellent biography on such a strong, influential woman who helped save many families during the underground railroad. It talks about the history of slavery, plantations, and slave cabins. This book is a small chapter book with little pictures meant for level four readers.
I thoroughly enjoyed creating this special list of books to inspire a new generation to learn, reflect, and have meaningful discussions about racism, equality, and how we treat others that may be different than us. Please direct message me on Instagram (@mauve.mumlife) if you are a black author and want to be a feature on my book corner located on my website!
My answer: Honestly, I learned so much from each book, but Mae Among The Stars is one of my favourite.
If you would like to request topics related to parenting, teaching or children, that I should write about please let us know by on our Instagram or in the comments below.