Black History Books for Kids

Teacher reading black history books for kids to preschoolers

One of the best ways to ensure that children grow up respecting and valuing others is by regularly exposing them to people from many ethnic, cultural, or socioeconomic backgrounds. Black History is one opportunity to increase children’s understanding of themselves and others, and reading picture books together is a simple, meaningful way to get started.  

At Bright Horizons, we use picture books to explore all people and cultures. In particular, we choose books that show children and families in natural, everyday settings having authentic experiences. We especially love stories that demonstrate people’s strengths and contributions, and we use books to spark conversations about a variety of topics – from kindness and belonging to character and resilience.  

In the spirit of Black History Month, our education experts have rounded up a list of age-appropriate books that embody these very concepts – and are sure to be loved by the entire family.   

Black History Books for Kids

Infants and Toddlers

  • Baby Goes to Market by Atinuke. Join Baby and his doting mama at a bustling southwest Nigerian marketplace for a bright read-aloud and gentle introduction to numbers.
  • My Hair is Beautiful by Shauntay Grant. A powerful message of self-love and embracing your natural hair. 
  • Whose Toes are Those? by Jibari Asim. Vibrant, playful verse celebrates a baby’s adorable toes.  

Preschool and Older

  • Daniel’s Good Day by Micha Archer. When his neighbors give a variety of answers to the question, “What is a good day?” Daniel writes a poem about the everyday experiences that give them joy.  
  • Lali’s Feather by Farhana Zia and Stephanie Fizer Coleman. This endearing story shows the rewards in looking closely and thinking imaginatively. 
  • Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena. A grandmother and her grandson take a bus to get across town. The grandson wonders why he does not have things that other children have; his grandmother’s reassuring and wise answers help him see the beauty in life. 

School-Age and Older

  • Althea Gibson by Megan Reid. Althea Gibson was the “quickest, tallest, most fearless girl Harlem had ever seen.” She began winning local tennis competitions when she was only twelve, but that wasn’t enough for her. She overcame racial segregation and prejudice to become the first black person to win at Wimbledon.  
  • Nana Akua Goes to School by Tricia Elam Walker and April Harrison. In this moving story, a shy girl brings her West African grandmother – whose face bears traditional tribal markings – to meet her classmates.  
  • From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks. 12-year-old Zoe Washington has a lot to think about: She’s auditioning for Food Network’s Kids Bake Challenge while trying to prove that her father, who was convicted of a terrible crime, is innocent. Janae Marks tackles a heavy topic with humor and hope.  

Reading Tips

As you read these books with your children, tie experiences back to something they already know. Point out similarities between your child and the people they read about in stories. 

Ask thoughtful questions to start conversations: “Was there ever a time when you wanted to help others?” or “Why do you think it’s important to work on something even when it’s hard?” or “Did you ever feel like something wasn’t fair?”  

Read these Black history books for kids with your children all year long, and help introduce topics of kindness, empathy, and inclusion early on.  

 

Teacher reading black history books for kids to preschoolers
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