Black history month is special in American history. It was created by a group of African Americans to celebrate their heritage and culture.
The first black history celebration took place in 1926. It was an effort to recognize the contributions that African-Americans have made to the United States.
Ever since, there has been a religious observation of the same. Children need and deserve to know and understand their heritage in depth.
This deep understanding helps them develop, own and defend their identity.
There is no better way to pass knowledge from one generation to another than through literature materials.
Are you wondering what to gift your kids this season? Below is a list of incredible children’s books for black history month.
Table of Contents
- 1. I have a Dream
- 2. The Black Stallion
- 3. Henry’s Freedom Box
- 4. Be a King
- 5. The Other Side
- 6. Of Thee I Sing
- 7. Malcolm Little: The Boy Who Grew Up To Be Malcolm X
- 8. Game Changers
- 9. Book of Black Heroes from A to Z
- 10. Champion
- 11. The undefeated
- 12. John Henry
1. I have a Dream
Written by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., illustrated by Kadir Nelson
This book tells the story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who led the Civil Rights Movement during the 1960s. He fought against racial segregation and discrimination.
His dream was to see a day when all people would be treated equally regardless of race or religion.
Your children need inspiration from a person of color who went against the grain and left a mark. Luther’s impact has lived through generations.
2. The Black Stallion
Written by Walter Farley
This book series tells the tale of a young boy named Alec who falls in love with a wild stallion, The Black.
Alec and his stallion friend go on various adventures, some sweet, others are bitter, but all the same interesting.
Alec is a determined black teenager who is determined to master horse racing and even compete.
He trains hard and finally starts winning races. Then some people come after his stallion, and Alec unleashes his black power to protect his friend.
Your teenagers will love this read because first, the two main characters are black and also because they both keep winning.
3. Henry’s Freedom Box
Written by Ellen Levin, illustrated by Kadir Nelson
This one is based on the true story of a boy who tries to save himself from slavery by hiding in a shipment box. The courage exhibited by Henry is highly commendable.
Being a slave, he risked getting caught and killed or serving the worst of punishments. However, his quest for freedom pushes him to the unthinkable.
This is a great read for any child who needs a push to fight for what they deserve regardless of the risks involved.
Your kids will enjoy the adventure, and the thrill in this book as Henry tries his best not to get caught.
4. Be a King
Written by Martin Luther King Jr., illustrated by James E. Ransome
Your children can learn how to be kings in their own rights even when the world around them doesn’t recognize them as such.
Martin Luther King Jr. lived a revolutionary life that exposed him to numerous challenges, but he never gave up hope. In fact, he used his faith to inspire others to do the same.
Be a king is a wonderful book for your kids to read about a black person who stood tall against injustice and oppression.
They will learn how to stand up for what they believe in despite opposition.
5. The Other Side
Written by Jacqueline Woodson
The Other Side is the story of an African American girl named Clover. Her mother warns her not to cross the fence that separates them from the white community.
The white children on the other side have also received the same warning. One day Clover sees a lonely white girl and decides to reach out.
Since they’re both not allowed to go over the fence, they sit on it together and start bonding.
6. Of Thee I Sing
Written by Barack Obama, illustrations by Loren Long
This beautiful book is an illustration of Barack Obama’s letter to his daughters. It will encourage at least one young black woman and remind them of their worth.
Barack Obama gushes over his two daughters in the letter.
This book is a must-have for every parent who wishes to raise confident daughters who will take the world by storm.
It is a joy to see a father so proud of his girls and encouraging them to dream big.
It’s an emotional-packed read that will leave you and your daughters in tears, yet greatly encouraged.
7. Malcolm Little: The Boy Who Grew Up To Be Malcolm X
Written by Ilyasah Shabazz, illustrated by A.G. Ford
Malcolm’s daughter wrote this great piece of literature to show the challenges his father went through to become the great Malcolm X.
Even though the latter was a born leader, he went through some tough times before becoming the man we know today.
Malcolm had to overcome a lot of obstacles to become the leader he did.
Black children need this book to remind them that a great destiny is birthed in greater pain and that their dreams remain valid as long as they don’t give up.
8. Game Changers
Written by Lesa Cline-Ransom, illustrated by James E. Ransome
The book tells the incredible story of Serena Williams and her sister Venus Williams.
Both sisters are tennis champions and were ranked number 1 at different points in their careers.
Their parents divorced when they were very young, but they still managed to stay close.
These women have been called “the greatest female players ever.” They’ve faced each other in several matches and have always come out victorious.
Your children need inspiration from these black American women who have continued to grace the world’s tennis field with color and talent.
9. Book of Black Heroes from A to Z
Written by Wade Hudson, illustrated by Valerie Wilson
This one tells inspiring stories of different black people who left a mark and others who continue to do so.
It discusses Barack Obama, the first black president of the US, Jackie Robinson, Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, and many more.
It’s a great way to teach your kids about heroes and how important it is to be yourself.
It’s also a good reminder that no matter what race or gender you may belong to, you can make a difference in the world if you believe in yourself.
Written by Jim Haskins, illustrated by Eric Velasquez
This book is about the great boxer Muhammad Ali. It talks about his life and his journey to becoming the most famous athlete in the world.
Children will learn about his childhood, his boxing career, and his legacy.
Ali became known as “The Greatest” because of his skills in boxing and his ability to inspire people all around the world.
His message of peace and love has touched millions of hearts.
11. The undefeated
Written by Kwame Alexander, illustrated by Kadir Nelson
The undefeated is a poetic book that describes the African American people’s painful journey in the quest for freedom and equality.
This book is a great introduction to the civil rights movement and its impact on our lives.
It teaches children about the sacrifices made by those who came before them. The book also encourages the young ones to keep fighting for better because it exists.
12. John Henry
Written by Julius Lester, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
This is a humorous yet inspiring tale by Julius Lester. It tells the story of John Henry, an ordinary African American man with extraordinary strength.
The story will challenge your children to start identifying with strength and victory and not weakness and defeat.
The books and authors mentioned above are just but a fraction of the many. Writers like Margot Lee Shetterly, Brad Meltzer, Bryan Collier, Brian Pinkney, and Jabari Asim have done fantastic work for the black child.
In a society where the minority suffer injustices of all kinds, these inspiring stories will bring a message of hope to the black kid’s community.
Reading about ordinary people who became trendsetters in the face of opposition and hostility is uplifting, to say the least.
These black history books also have colorful illustrations that your kids will enjoy.