14 Must-Read Black History Books for Kids

From colorful stories to inspirational tales, these Black history books for kids showcase diversity, celebrate Black culture, and inspire positive change.

father reads to child
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There are many ways to teach your children and family about the lived experiences of Black people. Books provide an excellent pathway into the hearts and minds of others, and many celebrate Black history, showcase diverse representation, and inspire positive change, particularly for kids. Children's books on Black history are important and prevalent. There's an overabundance of opportunity to engage readers at every stage about the history and culture of others.

Gabrielle Davenport, co-founder of the Black bookstore BEM in Brooklyn, New York, believes that "many Black bookstores share a commitment to inviting readers of all ages to learn the Black histories that are rarely taught in mainstream schooling in the U.S. Supporting neighborhood institutions like Black-owned bookstores, not just during Black History month but every month, helps to maintain an educational ecosystem that extends beyond the classroom."

Below you will find 14 Black history books for kids, tweens, and teens that educate and inspire.

Black History Books for Children

Change Sings: A Children's Anthem

Change Sings is a colorful and melodic picture book, written by Amanda Gorman, with an empowering message for kids on change and a "call to action."

All Different Now, Juneteenth: The First Day of Freedom

All Different Now is a beautifully illustrated picture book that tells the story of the first day of Juneteenth from the perspective of a young girl.

The ABCs of Black History

The ABCs of Black History is a vibrant picture book that uses the letters of the alphabet to teach themes in Black history as well as share the historical and cultural contributions of changemakers like Malcolm X, Mae Jemison, and many others.

Little Leaders: Bold Women In Black History

In the inspirational children's book and New York Times bestseller Little Leaders: Bold Women In Black History, 40 women who have made a great impact in American history are showcased through the lovely illustrations of Vashti Harrison, who also authored the book. This book's counterpart Little Legends: Exceptional Men in Black History similarly features Black men and changemakers who have made an influence.

Free At Last: A Juneteenth Poem

Free At Last: A Juneteenth Poem pays an honorable tribute to the legacy of the Juneteenth holiday. Written by poet and activist Sojourner Kincaid Rolle. Bonus: In this book, the illustrations are equally as powerful as the words.

Freedom's a-Callin Me

Written by Ntozake Shange, author of the Nappy Edges, Sassafrass, Cypress and Indigo and For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When The Rainbow Is Enuf, Freedom's A-Callin Me details the harrowing experiences of those who traveled on the Underground Railroad.

Black History Books for Tweens

Betty Before X

Betty Before X follows the story of Dr. Betty Shabazz during her middle school days in the 1940s, before she played a large role in the Civil Rights Movement as Malcom X's wife.

The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks Adapted For Young People

The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks Adapted For Young People is about Rosa Parks' life before and after her historic life-changing experience in Montgomery, Alabama. The book also delves into many untold aspects of Parks' life story.

Black Boy Joy: 17 Stories Celebrating Black Boyhood

Black Boy Joy: 17 Stories Celebrating Black Boyhood is a book about life as a Black boy, and includes stories from 17 different writers about the variety of things that Black boys go through—as well as Black boy joy. These stories provide a diverse range of experiences that truly support the reality that being Black and a boy (or man) is definitely not a homogenous experience.

Black History Books for Teenagers and Young Adults

My Beautiful Black Hair: 101 Stories from the Sisterhood

The history of Black people and descendants of the African diaspora can be found in our hair. Curated with great care, My Beautiful Black Hair is an ode to Black women and their hair. Not only does this book include a brief history on Black hair and the newly passed Crown Act, it shares real and intimate stories from Black women of various ethnicities and cultures and their connection to their hair.

Wake: The Hidden History of Women-Led Slave Revolts

Rebecca Hall's Wake highlights women warriors and trailblazers who have "been left out of historical records," and boldly delves into the history of women-led revolts.

W. E. B. Dubois: Black Reconstruction in America, 1860-1880

Written by social activist, historian, and PhD scholar, W. E. B. Dubois, who graduated with his doctorate from Harvard in 1895, Black Reconstruction delves into the very important time period after the Civil war when Black Americans were very prosperous in building their own cities, businesses, and contributed to American society in unprecedented ways.

By Her Own Design: A Novel of Ann Lowe, Fashion Designer to the Social Register

By Her Own Design tells the real-life story of Ann Lowe and how she became the fashion designer to America's elite, including the likes of Jacqueline Kennedy. Raised in the Jim Crow south, she was one of the most popular designers from the 1920s—and all the way to and through the 1960s. Once a hidden figure in American history, By Her Own Design shares Lowe's story while paying homage to her legacy.

High on the Hog: A Culinary Journey From Africa to America

Written by culinary historian Jessica B. Harris, High on the Hog takes a comprehensive look at the history of African American cuisine and its impact in Black culture. Harris' work, as well as much of the information in her book, are also documented in a Netflix documentary of the same name.

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