As we celebrate Black History Month this February, stock up on popular Black History Month books to share in your classroom, book club, or library. Below are eight titles about leading African Americans that have shaped our society — and some who continue to do so today.
Celebrate Black History Month with these 8 Books:
1. I am Martin Luther King, Jr. by Brad Meltzer
This inspiring biography made especially for kids tells the story of America’s great Civil Rights activist. As a child, Martin Luther King, Jr. was shocked by the terrible way African Americans were treated. As he became an adult, he made a vow to speak up for racial equality in a peaceful way. This is the perfect title for The 50th Anniversary of MLK Jr.!
2. Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
Award-winning author Jacqueline Woodson tells a moving story of her childhood through this collection of vivid poems. She shares what it was like growing up as an African American woman in the 1960s and 1970s in South Carolina. Woodson’s poems shed a light on the struggles of the time as well as the joy of finding her voice through writing.
3. Poetry for Young People: Langston Hughes by Langston Hughes
This collection of 26 poems from acclaimed poet Langston Hughes features exquisite illustrations, making it a great introduction for elementary students. It features some of Hughes’s most popular poems, including “The Negro Speaks of Rivers,” “My People,” “Words Like Freedom,” “Harlem,” and “I, Too”.
4. Barack Obama: Quotable Wisdom by Carol Kelly-Gangi
Revisit the powerful insights from America’s 44th president in this collection of quotes drawn from Barack Obama’s speeches, interviews, essays, books, social media posts, and other writings. Arranged by theme, they reveal his thoughts on important issues from universal healthcare and same-sex equality to racial equality and the threat of terrorism.
5. Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes
Author Derrick Barnes effectively captures the confidence, pride, and magic black boys feel the moment they get a new haircut. This rhythmic, read-aloud title celebrates the self-esteem, confidence, and swagger boys feel when they leave the barber’s chair.
6. Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan
Through beautiful paintings and expansive poetry, Ashley Bryan imagines and interprets the lives of eleven slaves, using original slave auction and plantation estate documents as a reference. This moving and powerful picture book contrasts the monetary value of a slave with the priceless value of life experiences and dreams that a slave owner can never take away.
7. Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison
Readers of all ages are sure to find their next hero among the 40 trailblazing black women featured in this book. With both iconic and lesser-known female figures of black history, Little Leaders describes the true stories of bold women whose actions and beliefs contributed to making the world better for generations of girls and women to come.
8. When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and asha bandele
This strikingly honest memoir comes from one of the co-founders of the Black Lives Matter movement. Patrisse Khan-Cullors has been called a terrorist and a threat to America. In truth, she is a loving woman whose life experiences have led her to seek justice for those victimized by the powerful. With the help of co-author asha bandele, this book seeks to change the culture that declares innocent black life expendable.
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This post was written by Megan Habel, the marketing associate at BookPal. She is currently reading The Power of Moments by Chip Heath and Dan Heath.