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Sharp Health News

10 kids’ books to read for Black History Month

Feb. 23, 2021

Family sitting on sofa reading book together
February is Black History Month, a celebration of achievements by Black Americans and their valuable role in our country’s history. Understanding the importance of Black history is vital for children of all ages and races. It leads to greater empathy and understanding; helps to end racism and inequity; and honors the contributions of Black Americans in all areas of life, from science and art to society, politics and medicine.

What’s more, reading is good for everyone, even babies. It can relieve stress, spark the imagination, increase brain connectivity, decrease depression, improve relationships and help build language skills.

While teachers and students in classrooms — both on campuses across the country and online — might mark the month with lectures and worksheets, parents can learn alongside their kids at home and experience the joy of reading with these top 10 Black History Month books.

10 Books to Read for Black History Month

  1. Antiracist Baby by Ibram X. Kendi
    This is a bold and bright picture book created to empower parents and children to uproot racism in our society and in ourselves. (Ages 0 to 3)

  2. I Am Rosa Parks by Brad Meltzer
    A friendly, fun approach to learning about Rosa Parks, an American icon who helped end public bus segregation and launch the civil rights movement. (Ages 3 to 4)

  3. Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters by Barack Obama
    Former President Barack Obama offers a moving tribute to 13 groundbreaking Americans and the ideals that have shaped our nation. (Ages 4 to 7)

  4. Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by Doreen Rappaport
    This picture book biography of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. brings his life and message to young children through his own words. (Ages 5 and up)

  5. Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly and Laura Freeman
    This beautiful picture book explores the story of four female African American mathematicians at NASA and how they overcame gender and racial barriers to succeed. (Ages 6 to 8)

  6. If You Were a Kid During the Civil Rights Movement by Gwendolyn Hooks
    In this book for young readers, follow two girls as they find themselves in the middle of a civil rights demonstration, and find out how the fight for equality changed our country. (Ages 7 to 9)

  7. Little Legends: Exceptional Men in Black History and Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison
    These two beautifully illustrated books bring to life true stories of Black women and men in history, including aviators, artists, politicians, scientists and more. (Ages 8 to 12)

  8. Black Heroes: A Black History Book for Kids: 51 Inspiring People from Ancient Africa to Modern-Day U.S.A. by Arlisha Norwood
    Meet 51 inspirational trailblazers, learn about the obstacles they faced and see how they created lasting change in this book on Black heroes. (Ages 9 to 12)

  9. Never Caught, the Story of Ona Judge: George and Martha Washington's Courageous Slave Who Dared to Run Away by Erica Armstrong Dunbar and Kathleen Van Cleve
    In this young readers’ edition, get a behind-the-scenes look at the Washingtons when they were the first family and their slave, Ona Judge, who dared to escape. (Ages 10 and up)

  10. Harlem Stomp! A Cultural History of the Harlem Renaissance by Laban Carrick Hill
    In this exploration of a fascinating era, learn about the African Americans of Harlem, New York, during a time of intellectual, artistic, literary and political blossoming. (Ages 12 and up)

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