We should celebrate Black History Month every month, but February offers us the chance to focus on this important part of our history. Using children’s picture books is one great way to bring understanding and appreciation for the culture and history of African Americans. Here are eight inspiring books about African American history that you can use with your students during Black History Month.
- Coretta Scott King Award Winner, “The Other Side” by Jacqueline Woodson. This powerful story follows two girls from different sides of the fence, bridging the gap between black and white in the segregated south in a touching way.
- “The Story Of Ruby Bridges” by Robert Coles tells the true story of Ruby Bridges, who was one of the first black children to attend an all-white elementary school in New Orleans in 1960. This powerful book includes pictures of Ruby taken at the time, making it an even more poignant read for young readers.
- “Rosa” by Nikki Giovanni, art and poetry come together as readers learn about Rosa Parks and her pivotal role in sparking a movement against racial segregation on public transportation in Montgomery, Alabama.
- “Martin’s Big Words” by Doreen Rappaport is an inspiring biography about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., focusing on his message and how he used his words to bring people together and fight for justice and equality for all people regardless of race or color.
- “Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down” is a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the momentous Woolworth’s lunch counter sit-in, when four college students staged a peaceful protest that became a defining moment in the struggle for racial equality and the growing civil rights movement.
- “We March” By Shane W Evans looks at how Dr King led a peaceful march for civil rights in 1963 featuring captivating illustrations depicting crowds of protesters moving towards Washington DC demanding freedom and equality for all citizens regardless of race or color!
- “My Name Is Truth: The Life Of Sojourner Truth” By Ann Turner shows how Sojourner Truth went from being a slave to becoming an advocate for civil rights and women’s rights, standing up against injustice wherever she found it!
- “Freedom In Congo Square” By Carole Boston Weatherford tells the story of how on Sunday afternoons, African Americans were allowed free time in New Orleans’ Congo Square – where they played music, danced, sang and celebrated their African heritage!
These eight picture books are perfect for introducing your students to African American culture during Black History Month—or any time throughout the year! Encourage them to explore these stories so they can gain deeper understanding into this important piece of our nation’s history while also learning valuable lessons about resilience, courage, perseverance, justice, freedom, hope, community & self-expression!
You can find all of the books listed above and more here.
What other books would you recommend?