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28 Books to Kickoff Black History Month

We are currently under a week away from the month of February, Black History Month. It seems unbelievable. February marks the start of our 28-day journey to highlight and explore Black history and culture. While we wholeheartedly appreciate the increased awareness that Black History Month provides, we also think that February should be a starting point for grounding your yearlong conversations around acceptance, equality, and the diverse culture of people around the African diaspora.

While many Black History Month recommendations are consumed with stories of oppression and struggle, we are very intentional about equally emphasizing the joy, love, and innovativeness that radiates through Black communities.  We’ve offered a few books off of our shelves to share for your Black History Month journey. This is by no means an exhaustive list,  these are just a few to start you off.  We encourage you to continue to add more options to your reading routines throughout the rest of the year. 

M is for Melanin

Author: Tiffany Rose

M is for Melanin
shining in every inch of your skin.
Every shade, every hue.
All beautiful and unique.

Each letter of the alphabet contains affirming, Black-positive messages, from A is for Afro, to F is for Fresh, to W is for Worthy. This book teaches children their ABCs while encouraging them to love the skin that they’re in.

Ages: 3-6

Price: $8.99

$8.99Add to cart

Dream Big Little One

Author: Vashti Harrison

Featuring 18 trailblazing black women in American history, Dream Big, Little One is the irresistible board book adaptation of Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History.  The leaders in this board book may be little, but they all did something big and amazing, inspiring generations to come.

As a companion to Follow Your Dreams, Little One, a beautifully illustrated board book highlights true stories of black men in history. The legends in this book span centuries and continents, but what they have in common is that each one has blazed a trail for generations to come.

Ages: 4+

Price: $7.99

$7.99Add to cart

One Love

Author: Cedella Marley

Illustrator: Vanessa Brantley-Newton

One love, one heart, let’s get together and feel all right.  Adapted from one of Bob Marley’s most beloved songs, One Love brings the joyful spirit and unforgettable lyrics to life for a new generation. Readers will delight in dancing to the beat and feeling the positive groove of change when one girl enlists her community to help transform her neighborhood for the better. It’s a testament to the amazing things that can happen when we all get together with one love in our hearts.

Ages: 3-5

Price: $9.99

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Glow

Author: Ruth Foreman

Illustrator: Geneva Bowers

A joyfully poetic board book that delivers an ode to the beautiful light of African American boys.

I shine night too
smooth brown
glow skin

Ages: 3-5

Price: $8.99

$8.99Add to cart

The Roots of Rap: 16 Bars on the 4 Pillars of Hip Hop

Author: Carole Boston Weatherford

Illustrator: Frank Morrison

Rooted in funk, jazz, folktales, and poetry, Carole Boston Weatherford takes readers on a journey to the roots of hip hop.  She pays homage to the art form and some of its iconic stars.  

Ages: 4-8

Price: $17.99

$17.99Add to cart

Stacey's Extraordinary Words

Author: Stacey Abrams 

Illustrator: Kitt Thomas

The debut picture book from iconic voting rights advocate and #1 New York Times bestselling author Stacey Abrams is an inspiring tale of determination, based on her own childhood.

Ages: 4-8

Price: $17.99

$17.99Add to cart

I Am Every Good Thing

Author: Derrick Barnes

illustrator: Gordon C. James

This empowering book is a love letter to Black boys.  It celebrates how dynamic they are and what they have the potential to become. 

Ages: 3-7

Price: $15.99

$15.99Add to cart

The Me I Choose to Be

Author: Natasha Anastacia Tarpley

Illustrator: Regis & Kahran Bethencourt

The possibilities are endless in this uplifting ode to the power of potential. With lyrical text by bestselling author Natasha Anastasia Tarpley and images by Regis and Kahran Bethencourt—the team behind CreativeSoul Photography—each page of The Me I Choose To Be is an immersive call for self-love that highlights the inherent beauty of all Black and brown children. 

Ages: 4-8

Price: $15.99

$15.99Add to cart

Black Boys Are

Author: Keaira Faña-Ruiz

Illustrator: TK Paigee

Black boys are loved. Black boys are valued.  Black boys are truly a gift.  Celebrate them with this inspirational book that tells the world how much we love Black boys. 

Ages: 4-8

Price: $11.99

$11.99Add to cart

Who Are Your People?

Author: Bakari Sellers

Illustrator: Reggie Brown

This inspiring picture book is a tribute to the family and community that help make us who we are.   Children are shaped by their ancestors, and this book celebrates the village it takes to raise a child.

Ages: 4-8

Price: $15.99

$17.99Add to cart

Cocoa, Tea and Honey

Author: Kimberly Davis-Peters

Despite the differences that set us apart, our shared experiences bring us together. Cocoa, Tea, And Honey celebrates all shades of beautiful brown complexions with inspirational encouragement of friendship, good character, and acceptance.

Ages: 4-7

Price: $12.99

$12.99Add to cart

I Am Smart, I Am Blessed, I Can Do Anything!

Author: Alissa Holder & Zulekha Holder-Young

Illustrator: Nneka Myers

It’s a new day and Ayaan has woken up on the wrong side of the bed, where nothing feels quite right. What if he doesn’t know the answer at school? What if he messes up? But as he sets out that morning, all it takes is a few reminders from his mom and some friends in the neighborhood to remind him that a new day is a good day because…

HE IS SMART,
HE IS BLESSED,
AND HE CAN DO ANYTHING!

Ages: 2-6

Price: $15.99

$15.99Add to cart

Parker Shines On: Another Extraordinary Moment

Author: Parker & Jessica Curry

Illustrator: Brittany Jackson

Parker Curry loves being a big sister. She gets to play dress-up with her little sister, Ava, and piano with her baby brother, Cash. And Parker loves to dance, twirling and leaping and spinning in joy.  But when a dancer joins her class and needs her help, Parker wonders if she has what it takes to be not only a real dancer but a real friend. This inspirational picture book has an afterword by prima ballerina and New York Times bestselling author Misty Copeland.

Ages: 4-8

Price: $15.99

$15.99Add to cart

The 1619 Project: Born on the Water

Author: Nikole Hannah Jones & Renee Watson

illustrator: Nikkolas Smith

The 1619 Project’s lyrical picture book in verse chronicles the consequences of slavery and the history of Black resistance in the United States, thoughtfully rendered by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones and Newbery honor-winning author Renée Watson.

Ages: 7-10

Price: $17.99

$17.99Add to cart

Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Real Life Tales of Black Girl Magic

Author: Jestine Ware, Sonja Thomas, Lilly Workneh, Cashawn Thomas

The latest installment in the New York Times bestselling Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls series, featuring 100 barrier-breaking Black women and girls who showcase the spirit of Black Girl Magic.

Ages: 6+

Price: $29.99

$29.99Read more

I Can Be Anything From A-Z

Author: Denere Postell

Illustrator: Dustin James

Zaina is a young girl with a big imagination. She takes her parents on a journey through all of the things that she wants to be. We hope to inspire young minds to find their purpose and to remember that they too can be anything from A to Z.

Ages: 4-7

Price: $14.99

$14.99Add to cart

Ellington Was Not a Street

Author: Ntozake Shange

Illustrator: Kadir Nelson

Kadir Nelson beautifully captures Ntozake Shange’s poem “Moon Indigo.”  A young girl recalls the countless innovators such as W.E.BDebois, Dizzy Gillespie, and Paul Robeson that gathered at her home.  

Ages: 5-11

Price: $17.99

$17.99Add to cart

The Afro-Latino Alphabet: El Alfabeto de Afro-Latino

Author: Keaira Faña-Ruiz & Jose Faña-Ruiz

Illustrator: TK Paigee

Celebrate with us as we pay homage to the Afro-Latino Culture. A culture full of rich history, champions, strength, variety, pride, and color. Every child should be able to see themselves when they gaze through the illustrations of a book as their stories are told.

Ages: 4-8

Price: $11.99

$11.99Read more

Marley and the Family Band

Author: Cedella Marley

Illustrator: Tracey Baptiste

When Marley and her family move from Jamaica to Delaware, she knows life is about to change in big ways. And she’s got the perfect plan to help her and her siblings make friends: an outdoor concert for the whole neighborhood!

But when weather ruins their plans, she discovers help in the most unlikely places as her new neighbors quickly become the kindest of friends.

Ages: 4-8

Price: $15.99

$15.99Add to cart

She Persisted: Claudette Colvin

Author: Lesa Cline-Ransome, Chelsea Clinton

Illustrator: Alexandra Boiger

We all know the name Rosa Parks. Did you know there was a young girl who refused to give up her seat and inspired Rosa Parks to do the same?  This biography tells the story of fifteen-year-old Claudette Colvin and her choice to stand up for equality and justice in Montgomery, Alabama.

Ages: 6-9

Price: $5.99

$5.99Add to cart

A Lesson For Martin Luther King Jr.

Author: Denise Lewis Patrick

Illustrator: Rodney S. Pate

Young Martin Luther King Jr. is having some problems with his best friend, Bobby. First, they are going to different schools this year. Next, Bobby’s dad is not letting his son play with Martin. When Martin learns why, he is confused and hurt–but he learns a lesson that he will never forget.

Ages: 6-9

Price: $4.99

$4.99Add to cart

She Persisted: Coretta Scott King

Author: Kelly Starling Lyons, Chelsea Clinton

Illustrator: Alexandra Boiger

Inspired by the #1 New York Times bestseller She Persisted by Chelsea Clinton and Alexandra Boiger comes a chapter book series about women who spoke up and rose up against the odds–including Coretta Scott King! Coretta Scott King is known for being the wife of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., but she was a civil rights activist and leader in her own right! She was a singer and an author too, and her work made a difference for Black Americans and for all women for decades to come.

Ages: 6-9

Price: $5.99

$5.99Add to cart

Ty’s Travels: Lab Magic (My First I Can Read)

Author: Kelly Starling Lyons

Illustrator: Nina Mata

Ty and Corey love to visit the museum. When they step through the doors, they become scientists. They study bugs and hunt for fossils. They catch the wind. When Ty can’t participate in a lab activity because of his age, he uses his big imagination at home. Discovering new things is so much fun!

Ages: 4-8

Price: $4.99

$9.99Add to cart

She Persisted: Wangari Maathai

Author: Eucabeth Odhiambo & Chelsea Clinton

Illustrator:Alexandra Boiger

Inspired by the #1 New York Times bestseller She Persisted by Chelsea Clinton and Alexandra Boiger comes a chapter book series about women who spoke up and rose up against the odds–including Wangari Maathai!  When Wangari Maathai learned about how many trees had been cut down in Kenya, where she was from, she was horrified. So she founded the Green Belt Movement and got friends, family, and even strangers to help her plant trees and respect the environment–and she received a Nobel Peace Prize for her work.

Ages: 6-9

Price: $9.99

$9.99Add to cart

Sky Watcher (Jada Jones #5)

Author: Kelly Starling Lyons

Jada is excited to do a school project about her hero Dr. Mae Jemison, a former NASA astronaut and the first Black woman to travel to outer space. She even gets to pretend to be her for the presentation in front of her teacher, parents, and friends! But when Jada’s research reminds her how accomplished her hero truly is, she suddenly feels like she’s made a mistake. How can she portray someone who seems to have everything together when she feels like she’s falling apart?

Ages: 6-8

Price: $6.99

$6.99Add to cart

VIP: Lewis Latimer: Engineering Wizard

Author: Denise Lewis Patrick

Illustrator: Daniel Duncan

If your child is a fan of the Who Was series, this will be a perfect book to add to their library.  This biography details the life of Lewis Latimer, one of the greatest inventors of his time. 

Ages: 8-12

Price: $5.99

$5.99Add to cart

Shuri: A Black Panther Novel

Author: Nic Stone

An original, upper-middle-grade series starring the break-out character from the Black Panther comics and films: T’Challa’s younger sister, Shuri! Crafted by New York Times bestselling author Nic Stone. Shuri is a skilled martial artist, a genius, and a master of science and technology. But, she’s also a teenager. And a princess.

This story follows Shuri as she sets out on a quest to save her homeland of Wakanda.For centuries, the Chieftain of Wakanda (the Black Panther) has gained his powers through the juices of the Heart-Shaped Herb. Much like Vibranium, the Heart-Shaped Herb is essential to the survival and prosperity of Wakanda. But something is wrong. The plants are dying. No matter what the people of Wakanda do, they can’t save them. And their supply is running short. It’s up to Shuri to travel from Wakanda in order to discover what is killing the Herb, and how she can save it, in the first volume of this all-new, original adventure.

Ages: 9-12

Price: $7.99

$7.99Add to cart

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky

Author: Kwame Mbalia

Seventh grader Tristan Strong feels anything but strong ever since he failed to save his best friend when they were in a bus accident together. All he has left of Eddie is the journal his friend wrote stories in. Tristan is dreading the month he’s going to spend on his grandparents’ farm in Alabama, where he’s being sent to heal from the tragedy.

But on his first night there, a sticky creature shows up in his bedroom and steals Eddie’s notebook. Tristan chases after it–is that a doll?–and a tug-of-war ensues between them underneath a Bottle Tree. In a last attempt to wrestle the journal out of the creature’s hands, Tristan punches the tree, accidentally ripping open a chasm into the MidPass, a volatile place with a burning sea, haunted bone ships, and iron monsters that are hunting the inhabitants of this world.

Tristan finds himself in the middle of a battle that has left Black American folk heroes John Henry and Brer Rabbit exhausted. In order to get back home, Tristan and these new allies will need to entice the god Anansi, the Weaver, to come out of hiding and seal the hole in the sky. But bartering with the trickster Anansi always comes at a price. Can Tristan save this world before he loses more of the things he loves?

Ages: 8-12

Price: $8.99

$8.99Add to cart

Anything catch your eye?  Let these be a starting point for stories centered in the Black experience.  Let us know your favorites.   

 

Tag us on social media reading your favorites. 

Instagram: @storiesofacolorfulwrld

TIKTOK: @storiesofacolorfulworld

 

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