In honor of Black History Month here is a list of many outstanding children’s non-fiction books that tell the amazing stories of so many amazing people; it is certainly not exhaustive, and it is not limited to the Civil Rights Movement or slavery. These titles are definitely worth seeking out regardless of the month.
Picture Books (For ALL Ages):
- A Splash of Red: the Life and Art of Horace Pippin by Jen Bryant and illustrated by Melissa Sweet.
- All Together Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom by Angela Johnson and illustrated by E. B. Lewis
- Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave by Laban Carrick Hill and illustrated by Bryan Collier.
- Freedom in Congo Square by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by R. Gregory Christie
- Henry’s Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad by Ellen Levine and illustrated by Kadir Nelson.
- Rosa by Nikki Giovanni and illustrated by Bryan Collier. (about Rosa Parks)
- Schomburg: the Man Who Built a Library by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by Eric Velasquez
- Steamboat School by Deborah Hopkinson and illustrated by Ron Husband
- Step Right Up by Donna Janell Bowman and illustrated by Daniel Mintner
- Swing Sisters: The Story of the International Sweethearts of Rhythm by Karen Deans and illustrated by Joe Cepeda
- Whoosh! Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions by Chris Barton and illustrated by Don Tate
Selections For Middle Grades and YA:
- Answering the Cry for Freedom: Stories of African Americans in the American Revolution by Gretchen Woelfle and illustrated by R. Gregory Christie (middle grades and YA)
- Courage Has No Color: The True Story of the Triple Nickels by Tanya Lee Stone (WWII) (upper middle grades and YA)
- Devotion by Adam Makos (Korean War) (YA)
- Facing Frederick: The Life of Frederick Douglass, A Monumental American Man by Tonya Bolden (middle grades and YA)
- Gabrielle Douglas: Grace, Gold, and (God’s) Glory (middle grades)
- Give Me Wings: How a Choir of Slaves Took on the World by Kathy Lowinger (upper middle grades and YA)
- Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans by Kadir Nelson (middle grades and YA)
- Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly (young readers edition) (middle grades and YA)
- March by John Lewis and Andrew Ayden, illustrated by Nate Powell. Series. (YA)
- One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance by Nikki Grimes (poetry) (middle grades and YA)
- Pathfinders: The Journeys of Sixteen Extraordinary Black Souls by Tonya Bolden (middle grades and YA)
- We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball by Kadir Nelson (middle grades and YA)
- We’ve Got a Job: the 1963 Birmingham Children’s March by Cynthia Levinson (middle grades and YA)
- Under Our Skin by Benjamin Watson (YA and Adult)
- Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: The Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by Ekua Holmes (note: a picture book, but this is best for older kids)
- You Can Fly by Carole Boston Weatherford (based on Tuskegee Airmen/WWII) (middle grades and YA)
This list was adapted from redeemedreader.com