12 Books About Black History for Kids of All Ages

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12 Books About Black History for Kids of All Ages

As Black History Month continues, now is a perfect time for kids to learn more about important figures and moments in Black history. Reading books is a great way to do this.

Here are 12 picks for books about Black history that children ages 3 and older will enjoy. These books are available at local libraries and in many community and online book stores. 

We’ve included picture books for younger kids that tell the stories of Black history through vibrant illustrations and words. Older kids will love reading the non-fiction books listed here that go into more depth about Black history, as well as fiction books that star Black protagonists.

Of course, as we continue to celebrate Black history in February, these books are also great reads for kids all year round. 

Psst… Check out these Mid-Winter Break activities!

Books About Black History for Kids: Ages 3 – 8 Years

1. Love is Loud: How Diane Nash Led the Civil Rights Movement

By Sandra Neil Wallace; illustrated by Bryan Collier
Ages 4 – 8 years

In this picture book for kids, young readers meet Diane Nash, a civil rights leader who worked at the side of Martin Luther King, Jr., and John Lewis. Diane grew up in 1940s Chicago.

As a student she visited a Tennessee State Fair, where she learned that segregation in the South went beyond schools. She fought back with words of truth and action, not anger or violence. 

2. On Her Wings: The Story of Toni Morrison

By Jerdine Nolen; illustrated by James E. Ransome
Ages 4 – 8 years

American novelist, Toni Morrison, worked at a library as a teenager and later became an editor for a New York publisher. Eventually it came time for her to write her own stories.

She knew she wanted to write about her people—Black people. In morning and night when her kids were asleep, she began work on what would become an acclaimed and trailblazing body of work. 

3. Ida B. Wells, Voice of Truth: Educator, Feminist and Anti-Lynching Civil Rights Leader

By Michelle Duster; illustrated by Laura Freeman
Ages 4 – 8 years

Ida B. Wells had many important roles. She was an educator, journalist, feminist, civil rights activist and more. Her great-granddaughter tells Wells’ extraordinary true story in this picture book for kids that celebrates Black history. 

4. Black Is a Rainbow Color 

By Angela Joy; illustrated by Ekua Holmes
Ages 4 – 8

In this picture book for kids, a child reflects on the meaning of being Black through poetry. 

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5. Mae Among the Stars

By Roda Ahmed; illustrated by Stasia Burrington
Ages 2 – 6 years

Kids will learn about Mae Jemison, the first African American woman to travel in space. 

6. I Am Ruby Bridges

By Ruby Bridges; illustrated by Nikkolas Smith
Ages 4 – 8 years

This kids’ book tells the story of American hero, Ruby Bridges, who became the first Black child to integrate the all-White William Frantz Elementary School in Louisiana. 

7. Stella and the Mystery of the Missing Tooth

By Clothilde Ewing; illustrated by Lynn Gaines
Ages 3 – 8 years

This fun kids’ book is a follow up to the author’s picture book, Stella Keeps the Sun Up. In this new picture book by Ewing, a former producer at Oprah’s Harpo Productions, Stella and her friends go on a hunt to find her friend’s missing tooth.

Adventures ensue as Stella investigates, realizing that the case might not be as complicated as she thought.  

Books About Black History for Kids Ages 9 and older

1. And We Rise

By Erica Martin 
Ages 12 years and older

This book for teens explores the Civil Rights Movement in 1950s and 1960s America. It offers important history lessons and is complete with historical photos interspersed throughout the pages. 

2. Black Boy Joy: 17 Stories Celebrating Black Boyhood

Edited by Kwame Mbalia
Ages 9 years and older

Kids will enjoy this book that celebrates the joys of Black boyhood. It includes stories from 17 best-selling critically acclaimed Black authors, including Jason Reynolds, Jerry Craft and Kwame Mbalia. 

3. The Cost of Knowing 

By Brittney Morris
Ages 12 years and older

This gripping novel for teens is about a Black teen who has the power to see into the future. His life turns upside down when he foresees his younger brother’s imminent death. 

4. New Kid

By Jerry Craft
Ages 9 – 12 years

This graphic novel is about starting over at a new school where diversity is low, and the struggle to fit in is real. 

5. Speculation

By Nisi Shawl
Ages 8-12

Young readers will love this debut novel by Shawl that explores Black families, hidden family history, family curses, a pair of magical spectacles and the power of a wish!

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Since its inception, Child's Play NY has touched the lives of hundreds of students, worked inside dozens of schools and is consistently ranked as among the top theater arts programs. </span></span></span><span style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; white-space: pre-wrap;">It is the 2019 winner of Brooklyn Family's Choice award for Best Performing Arts Class.</span></p> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; background-color: #ffffff; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"> </p> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; background-color: #ffffff; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"><span style="color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-position: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Fall/Winter 2020-21 Virtual Class Guide</span><span style="color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-position: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">:</span></span></p> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; background-color: #ffffff; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"> </p> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; background-color: #ffffff; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><strong><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-position: normal; text-decoration: underline; text-decoration-skip: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Make a Movie Class</span></strong></p> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; background-color: #ffffff; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-position: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Experience creative fulfillment and movie magic with Child’s Play NY! 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