News & Media

Read Black History All Year Round

Black History Month may take place in February, but Black History should be taught and read all year round. Each book in this list tells the inspiring stories of Black individuals, both big and small, from a self-taught attorney to a mixed-race couple fighting their right to be married. Young readers will learn all about some of the strong Black men and women who paved the way so kids today can follow their passions and change the world. This list also highlights Black authors and illustrators to celebrate during Black History Month and beyond.

Garvey in the Dark by Nikki Grimes

Capturing the shock and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic through the eyes of Garvey, a beloved character, Nikki Grimes’s newest novel in verse shows readers how to find hope in difficult times.

Mermaid Kenzie: Protector of the Deeps by Charlotte Watson Sherman, illustrated by Geneva Bowers

Beautifully written in African American Vernacular English, this poetic picture book includes back matter with information about how plastic winds up in our oceans and examples of people–some of them kids, like Kenzie–who have worked to protect the sea. Mermaid Kenzie celebrates the ways that all of us, no matter how small, can make a difference.

Seeking Freedom: The Untold Story of Fortress Monroe and the Ending of Slavery in America by Selene Castrovilla, illustrated by E. B. Lewis

In this dramatic Civil War story, a courageous enslaved fugitive teams with a cunning Union general to save a Union fort from the Confederates–and triggers the end of slavery in the United States. This is the first children’s nonfiction book about a Black unsung hero who remains relevant today and to the Black Lives Matter movement. 

You Are My Pride: A Love Letter from Your Motherland by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by E. B. Lewis

In this powerfully written and beautifully illustrated picture book by award-winning author and illustrator team Carole Boston Weatherford and E. B. Lewis, Mother Africa addresses her offspring of all colors in all corners of the earth, reminding us of our timeless bond.

Race Against Time by Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace

In this starred Booklist title, Scipio Africanus Jones—a self-taught attorney who was born enslaved—leads a momentous series of court cases to save twelve Black men who’d been unjustly sentenced to death.

Sing and Shout: The Mighty Voice of Paul Robeson by Susan Goldman Rubin

A Chicago Public Library Best Informational Book for Older Readers. This comprehensive biography explores the tumultuous and passionate life of activist, singer, and actor Paul Robeson.

Ordinary Hazards by Nikki Grimes

Lizzie Demands a Seat by Beth Anderson, illustrated by E.B. Lewis

In 1854, Elizabeth “Lizzie” Jennings, an African American schoolteacher, fought back when she was unjustly denied entry to a New York City streetcar, sparking the beginnings of the long struggle to gain equal rights on public transportation.

Ordinary Hazards by Nikki Grimes

In her own voice, acclaimed author and poet Nikki Grimes explores the truth of a harrowing childhood in a compelling and moving memoir in verse. “Ordinary Hazards is a gorgeous piece of writing that also serves as powerful inspiration for any reader who has struggled and sought grace. ” —Shelf Awareness, starred review

Finding a Way Home by Larry Dane Brimner

When Mildred and Richard Loving are arrested, jailed, and exiled from their home simply because of their mixed-race marriage, they must challenge the courts and the country in order to secure their civil rights.

Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop by Alice Faye Duncan, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie

This award-winning book will help kids understand the life and legacy of Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “(A)n inspiring account in which a heroic campaign lost its leader but nevertheless marched on to victory.” —Shelf Awareness, starred review

The Teachers March! by Sandra Neil Wallace

Buzzing with Questions by Janice N. Harrington, illustrated by Theodore Taylor, III

Author Janice Harrington and artist Theodore Taylor III capture the life of scientist and educator Charles Henry Turner in this nonfiction picture book.

The Teachers March! by Sandra Neil Wallace

Demonstrating the power of protest and standing up for a just cause, here is an exciting tribute to the educators who participated in the 1965 Selma Teachers’ March.