Children’s Books to Explore During Black History Month

by Lauren Precker

Black History Month is a time for us to recognize the rich history of the Black community and the many ways they have, and continue to, contribute to the fabric of American society. This February, and every day, we should all commit to creating a more inclusive and anti-racist future. One way to do this is by educating the next generation about racial justice through reading.

HRC Foundation’s Welcoming Schools booklists offer a variety of books that are appropriate for children ranging from Pre-K to middle school. Many of the following books represent the work of Black authors, which gives us all the opportunity to learn from their authentic voices and experiences. The books are broken down by category for folks to consider including on their reading list this month at home with children, or in a group setting such as a classroom.

Black History

  • “Ghost Boys,” Jewell Parker Rhodes
  • “Juneteenth For Mazie,” Floyd Cooper
  • “Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History and Little Legends: Exceptional
    Men in Black History,” Vashti Harrison
  • “March (Trilogy),” John Lewis
  • “Ruth and the Green Book,” Calvin Alexander Ramsey
  • “Sit In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down,” Andrea Davis Pinkney
  • “The Undefeated,” Kwame Alexander
  • “We March,” Shane W. Evans

Anti-Black Racism

  • “Freedom Summer,” Deborah Wiles
  • “Let’s Talk About Race,” Julius Lester
  • “The Other Side,” Jacqueline Woodson
  • “A Good Kind of Trouble,” Lisa Moore Ramée
  • “The Parker Inheritance,” Varian Johnson

Looking at Skin Color

  • “The Skin I'm In,” Sharon G Flake
  • “Skin Like Mine,” LaTashia M. Perry
  • “Sulwe,” Lupita Nyong'o

In addition to the booklists, the Welcoming Schools team has also created a variety of lesson prompts, that include questions and activities, for many of the books listed above.

Reading books such as these offer parents, educators and other adults the opportunity to start the necessary, and sometimes difficult, conversations about the role racism has played in American history, and how everyone can play a role in creating an inclusive future, in an age appropriate way. When children see themselves reflected in books, they feel affirmed and accepted, and it also provides them with opportunities to become educated about the diverse world around them.

To view the full set booklists and to learn more about HRC Foundation’s Welcoming Schools program, visit