mom snuggling with her daughter while reading books
profile picture of Emily Platt
Emily Platt
Associate Editor

28 Inspiring Children's Books for Every Day of Black History Month

From educational biographies to beautiful picture books, these kid-friendly reads are a perfect way to celebrate Black History Month as a family.

Every February the United States celebrates Black History Month, a tribute to the achievements and contributions of African Americans and their role in shaping US history. If you’re looking for a way to involve your child in Black History Month this year, storytelling is a great place to start! Here, we’re sharing 28 days worth of inspiring and educational African American children’s books, from black history books for kids to children’s books by African American authors. No need to cram them all in, though—these stories are perfect for bedtime narrating or big-kid reading year-round.

Photo: Courtesy Dial Books

Uncle Remus: The Complete Tales

The beloved Brer Rabbit comes to life in this edition of the classic Uncle Remus Tales—the largest collection of African American folklore and a true family favorite.

Age: 8 to 12 years old
Buy it: Uncle Remus: The Complete Tales by Julius Lester, $29, Amazon.com

Photo: Courtesy HMH Books for Young Readers

This Jazz Man

Pay tribute to the Jazz Age with a book as lively as the music it celebrates. Set to the tune of the song “This Old Man,” it teaches kids about the genre all while helping them learn to count.

Age: 4 to 7 years old
Buy it: This Jazz Man by Karen Ehrhardt, starting from $8, Amazon.com

Photo: Courtesy Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History

This is one of the newer African American children’s books parents are loving. It packages black history and feminism into one amazing glossary of outstanding black women, from Sojourner Truth to Oprah Winfrey.

Age: 8 to 11 years old
Buy it: Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison, starting from $11, Amazon.com

Photo: Courtesy HarperCollins

Mae Among the Stars

Encourage your child to (literally) reach for the sky with the help of Mae Jemison, the first African American woman in space.

Age: 4 to 8 years old
Buy it: Mae Among the Stars by Roda Ahmed, $15, Amazon.com

Photo: Courtesy HMH Books for Young Readers

Lullaby (For a Black Mother)

Here, the work of renowned African American poet Langston Hughes (about the bond between a black mother and her child) appears in the form of a children’s book. Talk about a beautiful piece to read to your little one.

Age: 4 to 7 years old
Buy it: Lullaby (For a Black Mother) by Langston Hughes, $13, Amazon.com

Photo: Courtesy Scholastic Paperbacks

The Story Of Ruby Bridges

This powerful black history book for kids tells the story of Ruby Bridges, the first African American girl to attend an otherwise all-white school.

Age: 4 to 8 years old
Buy it: The Story Of Ruby Bridges: Special Anniversary Edition by Robert Coles, starting from $4, Amazon.com

Photo: Courtesy Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down

Looking for more African American children’s books about real historical events? Here’s another true-life tale about black students who made a major difference. This one recalls the famous Woolworth’s lunch counter sit-in, a major moment in the fight for equal rights, in prose that’s digestible for kids.

Age: 7 to 10 years old
Buy it: Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down by Andrea Davis Pinkney, starting from $12, Amazon.com

Photo: Courtesy Holiday House

Before She was Harriet

Learn about Harriet Tubman’s many different identities, from Underground Railroad hero to Union spy, in poetry form.

Age: 4 to 8 years old
Buy it: Before She was Harriet by Lesa Cline-Ransome, starting from $7, Amazon.com

Photo: Courtesy HarperCollins

Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race

Obssessed with the movie Hidden Figures? Here’s a black history book for kids that shares the same incredible story of four African American women who worked behind the scenes to help NASA launch men into space.

Age: 4 to 8 years old
Buy it: Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly, starting from $10, Amazon.com

Photo: Courtesy Alfred A. Knopf

Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters

This touching “letter” from Barack Obama to his daughters sends an inspiring message to all parents and their children: that our youth are the future of America.

Age: 6 years old+
Buy it: Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters by Barack Obama, starting from $5, Amazon.com

Photo: Courtesy HarperCollins

Brown Honey in Broomwheat Tea

Love poetry-driven African American children’s books? Add this award-winning picture book, which explores black identity, to your reading list.

Age: 4 to 8 years old
Buy it: Brown Honey in Broomwheat Tea by Joyce Carol Thomas, starting from $5, Amazon.com

Photo: Courtesy Hyperion Book CH

Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

This picture book about Martin Luther King Jr. is artfully infused with quotes by the man himself.

Age: 5 to 8 years old
Buy it: Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Doreen Rappaport, starting from $8, Amazon.com

Photo: Courtesy Dial Books

He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands

In this visual interpretation of the spiritual “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands,” illustrator Kadir Nelson shows a black child in scenes centered around family and community.

Age: 4 to 8 years old
Buy it: He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands by Kadir Nelson, starting from $4, Amazon.com

Photo: Courtesy Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat

It’s never too early to introduce baby to art. This colorful picture book biographies the groundbreaking black artist Basquiat.

Age: 6 to 9 years old
Buy it: Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe, starting from $7, Amazon.com

Photo: Courtesy Aladdin

If A Bus Could Talk: The Story of Rosa Parks

While there are plenty of black history books for kids about Rosa Parks, this one tells her story through the whimsical (read: especially kid-friendly) lens of the bus she rode.

Age: 5 to 9 years old
Buy it: If A Bus Could Talk: The Story of Rosa Parks by Faith Ringgold, starting from $8, Amazon.com

Photo: Courtesy Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Salt in His Shoes: Michael Jordan in Pursuit of a Dream

This children’s book is by two very special African American authors: Michael Jordan’s mom and sister. The mother-daughter duo recounts the basketball star’s journey to stardom.

Age: 4 to 8 years old
Buy it: Salt in His Shoes: Michael Jordan in Pursuit of a Dream by Deloris Jordan and Roslyn M. Jordan, starting from $7, Amazon.com

Photo: Courtesy Wide Eyed Editions

Young, Gifted and Black: Meet 52 Black Heroes from Past and Present

Here’s another anthology of black icons—and another great introduction to Black History Month for kids. The bright pages and easy-to-understand stories are sure to capture your child’s attention.

Age: 9 to 12 years old
Buy it: Young, Gifted and Black: Meet 52 Black Heroes from Past and Present by Jamia Wilson, $16, Amazon.com

Photo: Courtesy Harcourt Children's Books

Wangari’s Trees of Peace: A True Story from Africa

This inspiring black history book for kids follows Wangari Maathai, a Kenyan woman and applauded environmentalist. Not only does it encourage eco-friendly behavior, but it’s printed on eco-friendly recycled paper too.

Age: 4 to 7 years old
Buy it: Wangari’s Trees of Peace: A True Story from Africa by Jeanette Winter, starting from $8, Amazon.com

Photo: Courtesy HMH Books for Young Readers

Bring Me Some Apples and I’ll Make You a Pie: A Story About Edna Lewis

In the same sustainable vein, share the story of Edna Lewis, an African American woman who pioneered the farm-to-table movement. It’s a delightful tale about family, food and how they (deliciously) intersect.

Age: 4 to 7 years old
Buy it: Bring Me Some Apples and I’ll Make You a Pie: A Story About Edna Lewis by Robbin Gourley, starting from $7, Amazon.com

Photo: Courtesy Lee & Low Books

Little Melba and Her Big Trombone

This is the perfect picture book to pull out when your child’s reluctant about learning to play an instrument. It’s also an educational account of kid Jazz prodigy Melba Liston, who overcame obstacles of race and gender to become a famed musician.

Age: 6 to 10 years old
Buy it: Little Melba and Her Big Trombone by Katheryn Russell-Brown, starting from $19, Amazon.com

Photo: Courtesy Lee & Low Books

Catching the Moon: The Story of a Young Girl’s Baseball Dream

There are lots of African American children’s books sports fans will appreciate. This biography is about an African American girl who truly changed the game. Despite adversity, Marcenia Lyle became the first woman to join a professional baseball team. Kids will love the happy ending—and you’ll love how she broke gender norms.

Age: 6 to 10 years old
Buy it: Catching the Moon: The Story of a Young Girl’s Baseball Dream by Crystal Hubbard, starting from $11, Amazon.com

Photo: Courtesy G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers

Firebird

Raising a dancer? Even if you’re not, ballerina Misty Copeland—the first female African American principal dancer with the prestigious American Ballet theater—is an excellent role model. She shares her wisdom with young dreamers in this pretty picture book.

Age: 5 to 8 years old
Buy it: Firebird by Misty Copeland, starting from $11, Amazon.com

Photo: Courtesy Agate Bolden

Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut

There are few books as uplifting as this fun, fresh ode to black barbershop culture and the beauty and power of hair.

Age: 3 to 8 years old
Buy it: Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes, starting from $10, Amazon.com

Photo: Courtesy Balzer + Bray

I Am Enough

No kid should doubt themselves—a cause the book I Am Enough (by activist and Empire actress Grace Byers) fully stands behind. This wonderful read is all about being kind to others and, perhaps most importantly, yourself.

Age: 4 to 8 years old
Buy it: I Am Enough by Grace Byers, $15, Amazon.com

Photo: Courtesy Jump At The Sun

Skin Again

You may have read feminist author Bell Hooks in college, but did you know she also wrote for children? Her words are just as impactful in this kids’ book about race, identity and embracing diversity.

Age: 4 to 8 years old
Buy it: Skin Again by Bell Hooks, $10, Amazon.com

Photo: Courtesy Viking Books for Young Readers

The Snowy Day Board Book

Of course, black history books for kids and stories about race aren’t the only great reads for African American History Month. Representation is just as important, so pick books that portray African Americans as primary characters. This one is an endearing classic and perfectly suited for winter.

Age: 2 years old+
Buy it: The Snowy Day Board Book By Ezra Jack Keats, $4, Amazon.com

Photo: Courtesy Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Please, Puppy, Please

We’ve shared a bunch of children’s books by African American authors, but this writer might especially pique your interest: It’s movie director (and household-name) Spike Lee! The celebrity took a step away from the screen to pen a super-sweet book with his wife. The tale follows two adorable siblings and their new, feisty puppy.

Age: 2 to 8 years old
Buy it: Please, Puppy, Please by Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee, starting from $1, Amazon.com

Photo: Courtesy Dragonfly Books

Tar Beach

Kids are obsessed with the concept of flying, which makes this picture book a total treat. The protagonist is an African American child who gains the ability to soar above her neighborhood, allowing her to revel in the splendor of her community from a whole new angle. It’s also a picture book medal winner.

Age: 5 to 8 years old
Buy it: Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold, starting from $8, Amazon.com

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, some of which may be sponsored by paying vendors.

Published February 2019

Plus, more from The Bump:

Photo: iStock