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28 Books to Kickoff Black History Month

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

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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

All Good In the Hood

Author: Dwayne Reed

Illustrator: Gladys Jose

With the backdrop of a neighborhood Juneteenth celebration, this book is all about the love and support of brothers.  While the hood can feel like a scary place sometimes, there is always someone there to tell you that nothing can hurt you.  

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

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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: $13.99

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Boys Like Me

Author: Valerie Tompkins

Illustrator: Vera Sysolina

Boys Like Me dream BIG. Follow the journey of a little boy as he explores a new career role on every page, gaining the self-confidence to become a future history-maker. 

Ages: 3-7

Price: $17.99

$17.99Add to cart

I Absolutely, Positively Love My Spots

Author: Lid’ya C. Rivera

Illustrator: Niña Mata

This lyrical celebration of self-esteem, perseverance, and loving the skin you’re in will inspire all children to appreciate their spots or what makes them different.

Ages: 4-8

Price: $18.99

$18.99Add 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

The Green Piano: How Little Me Found Music

Author: Roberta Flack

Illustrator: Hayden Goodman

This autobiographical picture book by the multiple Grammy Award-winning singer Roberta Flack recounts her childhood in a home surrounded by music and love: it all started with a beat-up piano that her father found in a junkyard, repaired, and painted green.

Ages: 4-8

Price: $18.99

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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

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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

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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

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Trombone Shorty

Author: Troy Andrews

Illustrator: Bryan Collier

Hailing from the Tremé neighborhood of New Orleans, where music always floated in the air, Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews didn’t always have the money to buy an instrument, but he did have the dream to play music. This is the story of how he made his dream take flight.

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: $17.99

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I Love Being Me!

Author: Mechal Renee Roe

Celebrate diversity with this bright, joyful level 1 Step Into Reading book that will have girls everywhere repeating the book’s chorus: “I love being me!”

Ages: 4-6

Price: $4.99

$4.99Add 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

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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: 4-6

Price: $4.99

$4.99Add 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

Miles Lewis: King of the Ice

Author: Kelly Starling Lyons

Illustrator: Wayne Spencer

Miles Lewis loves science and sports. But when his teacher announces a class field trip to an ice skating rink to learn about physics, he isn’t so excited. He’s never ice skated before, and his friend RJ won’t let him forget it. RJ even challenges him to a bet: If Miles skates without falling, RJ will put a “Miles is the man” sign on his backpack. But if Miles falls, he has to put one on his that says the same about RJ. Miles can barely focus on the bet, though, because he suspects his beloved Nana has plans to move out of his family’s house—and that’s just too much to bear. Can he keep his cool with all the pressure from RJ while finding a way to make his grandma stay?

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

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Fast Pitch

Author: Nic Stone

Shenice Lockwood, captain of the Fulton Firebirds, is hyper-focused when she steps up to the plate. Nothing can stop her from leading her team to the U12 fast-pitch softball regional championship. But life has thrown some curveballs her way.

Strike one: As the sole team of all-brown faces, Shenice and the Firebirds have to work twice as hard to prove that Black girls belong at bat.

Strike two: Shenice’s focus gets shaken when her great-uncle Jack reveals that a career-ending—and family-name-ruining—crime may have been a setup.

Strike three: Broken focus means mistakes on the field. And Shenice’s teammates are beginning to wonder if she’s captain-qualified.

It’s up to Shenice to discover the truth about her family’s past—and fast—before secrets take the Firebirds out of the game forever.

Ages: 9-12

Price: $8.99

$8.99Add 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. 

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