The Best Books to Read During Black History Month for Kids

From books for littles to older kiddos, these titles celebrate diversity

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Established in 1976, Black History Month is held every February and is an annual celebration and recognition of the sacrifices and contributions of African Americans. Black History Month is the perfect time to introduce your children to the important people and events that have helped to shape America. Books about people, including the leaders of the civil rights movement and our first Black president, are an accessible way for children to learn about the artists, activists, and pioneers who acted as catalysts for change. 

Reviewed & Approved

The ABCs of Black History explores important moments in a playful way that your little one will love. For older children, we recommend the The Story of Ruby Bridges.

Pick a book that will pique your child’s interest but still contains historically accurate and up-to-date information about Black culture and history. We carefully considered age recommendations, kids' appeal, historical and cultural accuracy, and empowerment when reviewing products.

Here are the best books to read with kids during Black History Month (and anytime you want to celebrate Black bravery, achievement, and innovation). 

ABCs of Black History

ABCs of Black History by Rio Cortez

Courtesy of Amazon

The "ABCs of Black History" ranks high on our list because as a colorful and vibrant celebration of Black history, this upbeat title explores important moments in a playful way that your little one will love. Highlighting incredible historic figures like Zora Neale Hurston and Malcolm X as well as important moments like the Great Migration, your kiddo will be learning about Black history alongside their ABC’s. The rhythmic theme gives this title an alluring beat that will make it a home library essential. 

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History

Courtesy of Amazon

Introduce your kids to some of the most inspirational, trailblazing women in Black history. From renowned scientist Alice Ball to fearless revolutionary Rosa Parks, kids will learn more about some familiar faces and discover new leaders they never knew existed. The charming illustrations and delightful pastel colors make this title perfect for little ones. 

The Story of Ruby Bridges

The Story of Ruby Bridges

Courtesy of Amazon

At the start of the fall back-to-school season, little 6-year-old Ruby Bridges is standing on the steps of her new school. But, unlike typical school drop-offs, this day is quite different. Ruby is the first Black student to be integrated into the all-white William Frantz Elementary School under the order of a judge in 1960. This title takes readers through the journey of Ruby’s momentous first day of school and illustrates what her brave act means for children today.

Henry's Freedom Box: A True Story From the Underground Railroad

A True Story From the Underground Railroad

Courtesy of Amazon

When freedom was seemingly out of reach, Henry Brown was willing to do anything to achieve it. In this harrowing true story, your child will be on the edge of their seat as they follow Henry’s journey from enslavement to freedom as he discovers an uncharted path to the north.

Hidden Figures: The Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race

Hidden Figures: The Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race

Courtesy of Amazon

During a time when being Black and a woman automatically created insurmountable barriers to success, four young Black women completely changed history. Deemed natural math superstars, Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden became household names in NASA helping to successfully route America’s first expedition into space. Your own little STEM enthusiast will truly appreciate this beautifully illustrated picture book.

If You Were a Kid During the Civil Rights Movement

If You Were a Kid During the Civil Rights Movement

Courtesy of Amazon

Your child might have a hard time imagining themselves living through the Civil Rights Movement that propelled the United States into social change. This book, suitable for big kids between 7 and 9 years old, features two girls who have found themselves smack in the middle of a civil rights demonstration. Through their experience, your kiddo will learn how peaceful marches and protests changed the country for the better. 

If a Bus Could Talk: The Story of Rosa Parks

The Story of Rosa Parks

Courtesy of Amazon

This title tells the story of Rosa Parks from the perspective of a bus. Written with a unique spin, the bus takes the main character, Marcie, on a magical ride through Rosa Parks' brave decision to take a stand. With themes of courage, bravery, and inspiration, your little one will be blown away by the story of how one woman sparked an incredible movement. 

Young, Gifted, and Black

Young, Gifted, and Black

Amazon

Filled with some of the most historical figures in Black history, this striking title is as captivating as it is informative. Profiling Black leaders, changemakers, pioneers, and intellectuals from both past and present, your kiddo will hold on to this book for years to come. Each page is exploding with vibrant colors that will instantly draw your little reader in to learn about each historical figure. From Barack and Michelle Obama to George Washington Carver, there are endless people to discover.

Final Verdict

Whether you are reading to your baby or your big kid, books are a great way to incorporate digestible history lessons. For younger kids, "The ABCs of Black History" is a colorful and engaging book that they will enjoy. For bigger kids, "Young, Gifted, and Black" will remind them that they can be whoever they want to be when they grow up, despite obstacles.

What to Look for in Black History Month Books for Kids

Age-Appropriateness

You’ll want to pick books that are suitable for your child’s age and developmental level. That will help ensure that your child can fully appreciate and absorb the books you are sharing with them. For younger children, consider books with bright, engaging illustrations. Elementary-aged children often still enjoy books with illustrations, but also have the ability to listen to longer, more detailed stories. Graphic novels are a win for this age as well. Older children may enjoy novels and historical fiction.

Kid Appeal

Pick a book that will pique your child’s interest. Besides offering insights about Black culture and history, many of these books have themes that children find interesting, from STEM to space to inspiring women leaders. Starting with a book containing themes that your child can easily latch onto is a great way to help them engage with the subject matter.

Historical and Cultural Accuracy

Make sure the books you purchase for your students are historically accurate, and contain up-to-date information about Black culture and history. If possible, purchase books by Black authors, or authors who are well versed in Black history. Look for books with inclusive and affirming themes and language. 


Empowerment

Black History Month isn’t just about education: it’s about inspiring us all to take actions in our lives so that we can all live in a more equitable world. Select books for your children that show what it means to stand up for one’s rights, and how to engage in positive social and cultural change. Look for books with specific ideas about how to celebrate Black History Month in meaningful ways.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why is reading important for children?

    Reading sharpens a child's comprehension and analytical skills. It also helps a child's vocabulary to grow. You can help to foster a love of reading in your child by reading to them even as they are learning. In fact, research shows that reading to children at a young age improves language and cognitive development.

  • How often should kids be reading?

    Experts say children should read every day. Reading for just 20 minutes outside of school can have a profound impact. Whether it's a page, a book, or a novel, kids should flex their mental muscles with daily reading. It can build confidence, improve memory retention, and even lead to better results in the classroom.

  • How do I encourage my child to read?

    Set a good example for your child to follow. Let your child see you reading and enjoying books. You can also visit the library and take part in summer reading programs. Seek out books on topics your child is interested in, from marine life to superheroes, and remember graphic novels and comic books are a great option. If you have a reluctant reader, consider offering a reward as an encouragement for spending time reading.

  • Why is Black History Month important?

    Black History Month is a celebration of the many contributions of African Americans throughout history. The focus of the month goes beyond stories of slavery and racism; it also highlights stories of excellence and achievement. It's important to bring awareness to Black history, because it's everyone's history.

Why Trust Verywell Family

Latifah Miles is the Parenting Commerce Editor for Verywell Family with years of experience as a freelance writer in the parenting space. She is a mom to a lively 9-year-old boy. Story time has always been a wonderful way of bonding with her son since toddlerhood. Books are a great way to incorporate lessons about Black History Month in a way that is fun and enjoyable.

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Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  4. World Economic Forum. Black History Month: What is it and why do we need it?.