Black History Month Books for Kids: Staff Picks of 18 Children's Books

Explore our curated selection of Black history children's books recommended by our B.L.A.C.K. Employee Affinity Group (EAG) members. From Black History Month to Juneteenth and beyond, these meaningful reads teach, engage, and empower young readers. Save the Children is dedicated to fostering learning at home for children of all ages, whether they're toddlers, kindergartners, or independent readers. Discover inspiring stories that celebrate Black history and culture!
 

Updated February 2024

 

 

I Am Be by Jennifer Francis Book Cover

1. I Am Me

By Jennifer Francis (Encourage You Today)

Every little Black girl deserves to know how amazing she truly is. In every beautiful brown hue, the magic each little girls possess is beyond measure when they are encouraged, loved, and heralded as queens, princesses, lawyers, doctors, but most of all, gorgeous human beings. I Am Me is the children's book of empowerment for every little black girl who sees beauty in herself, her world, and her heart. 

"The book was a quick read but very uplifting and motivating! It allowed me to take a  deeper look at who I am and understanding  self-esteem is a combination of believing in oneself and believing in one's self-worth. It was so powerful I shared with my children and grandchildren." 
    — Yolanda Minor, Save the Children Staff and B.L.A.C.K. EAG Member

To stay current and receive more tools and tips from our experts, sign up here. 

   Please leave this field empty
In Daddy's Arms I am Tall by Folami Abiade and Dinah Johnson book cover

2. In Daddy's Arms I Am Tall: African Americans Celebrating Fathers

By Folami Abiade and Dinah Johnson (Lee & Low Books)

In Daddy's Arms I Am Tall testifies to the powerful bond between father and child, recognizing family as our greatest gift, and identifying fathers as being among our most influential heroes.

“What a refreshing book to read, as often times images and characteristics of black men in the media are portrayed negatively. This book showcases the importance of black fathers and the positive influence and confidence they give to their children.”
    —B.L.A.C.K. EAG Member

Malcolm Little by Ilyasah Shabazz book cover

3. Malcolm Little: The Boy Who Grew Up to Become Malcolm X

by Ilyasah Shabazz (Atheneum Books for Young Readers)

A unique glimpse into the childhood of her father, Malcolm X’s daughter and author Ilyasah Shabazz delivers a lyrical story that carries a message that resonates still today—that we must all strive to live to our highest potential.

“Most schools teach children about Martin Luther King Jr. I always thought it was important to show other strong leaders during the civil rights movement. Malcolm X gets left out of the mainstream narrative. Malcolm Little tells our children that it’s okay to be curious, outspoken and expect respect for all beings.”    
        —Jennifer Saunders, Save the Children Staff and B.L.A.C.K. EAG Member

Brown Boy Brown Boy What Can you Be? by Ameshia Arthur Book Cover

4. Brown Boy Brown Boy What Can You Be?

By Ameshia Arthur (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform)

A story about a boy named Matthew who who asks himself a very simple but powerful question: Brown Boy Brown Boy, What Can You Be? From a scientist who studies bumblebees to a meteorologist who predicts the weather, the sky is the limit for Matthew and all children.

“As a mom of four courageous brown boys, this book is one of my favorites to read to my sons and they love reading about Matthew and most importantly they love that Matthew looks like them!”
        —B.L.A.C.K. EAG Member

I am Enough	by Grace Byers book cover

5. I Am Enough

By Grace Byers (Balzer + Bray)

Empire actor and activist Grace Byers along with artist Keturah A. Bobo have written a lyrical ode to loving who you are, respecting others, and being kind to one another.

“While we enjoy the graphics and words in this book, the best part has been getting to learn more about the lives of Grace Byers and Keturah Bobo. Hearing how they came to write and draw has been inspirational for my budding cartoonist and actress.”
    —B.L.A.C.K. EAG Member

Skin Like Mine by LaTashia Perry book cover

6. Skin Like Mine

By LaTashia Perry (G Publishing)

An entertaining yet creative way to address and celebrate diversity among young children.

“My 7-year old son and 4-year old daughter are intrigued by how different even our own family members’ skin tones are so they enjoy ‘finding’ us, their cousins, friends, and others in this book and shouting, ‘Beautiful!’”!
    —B.L.A.C.K. EAG Member

Antiracist Baby by Ibram X. Kendi book cover

7. Antiracist Baby

By Ibram X. Kendi (Kokila)

With bold art and thoughtful yet playful text, Antiracist Baby introduces the youngest readers and the grown-ups in their lives to the concept and power of antiracism. Providing the language necessary to begin critical conversations at the earliest age, Antiracist Baby is the perfect gift for readers of all ages dedicated to forming a just society.

"I gifted this book to a friend who gave it to their grandson, and he loves it! They appreciate the book as an adult because it teaches kids at a young age how to view and accept people that are different from you. Kids are usually taught to treat people differently based on race or ethnicity, but my hope is that books like these will begin to change how kids themselves see people regardless of what they are taught."
    —Nikki Payne, Save the Children Staff and B.L.A.C.K. EAG Member            

Sulwe by Lupita Nyong'o book cover

8. Sulwe

By Lupita Nyong'o (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)

A whimsical and heartwarming story to inspire children to see their own unique beauty.

“Lupita Nyongo shows that in addition to being an Oscar-winning actress, she is also an outstanding children’s author! She is a role model for generations of Black women and girls.”  
    — B.L.A.C.K. EAG Member

The Night is Yours by Abdul-Razak Zachariah book cover

9. The Night Is Yours

By Abdul-Razak Zachariah (Dial Books)

A lyrical and empowering bedtime story of family love and community, and most of all feeling great in your own skin.

“I want my kids to have the opportunity to celebrate and be proud of their beautiful features and culture since they are not always represented well in children’s literature in the U.S. I want other children to be able to have the same exposure and to experience the delight I see on my little ones’ faces (or hear in their excited questions) when we read these books. These books can also help guide parents when having difficult conversations with their kids about their culture, racism, societal discrimination and other interactions.”
    — B.L.A.C.K. EAG Member

Goin’ Somewhere Special by Patricia C. McKissack book cover

10. Goin’ Somewhere Special

By Patricia C. McKissack (Aladdin)

Through moving prose and beautiful watercolors, award-winning author-illustrator duo collaborate to tell the poignant tale of a spirited young girl who comes face to face with segregation in her southern town.

“This is a book that sits on the bookshelf in my home because I shared it with my children when they were young. This book is a child-friendly way to talk about the subject of segregation. Children get to see how the main character takes her grandmother’s positive affirmations along with her on this interesting journey to someplace special. All of our children need someplace special that they can go to, especially in these trying times.”
    —Sharonda Burison-Harris, Save the Children Staff and B.L.A.C.K. EAG Member

Lessons by Nature Joshua’s Learning Exploration in the Wild by Anthony Broughton book cover

11. Lessons by Nature Joshua’s Learning Exploration in the Wild

By Anthony Broughton (Anthony Broughton)

While Joshua explores the wild, he encounters animals who speaks and empowers him with life-long lessons. He listens carefully to the messages of the animals, and learns from them; even when others say that "animals can't talk." A book of empowerment, inspiration, and child-friendly wisdom! Journey with Joshua!

“This is a great books that allows children to escape into a world where animals have a way of speaking and teaching Joshua important lessons about life. What children haven’t learned from humans, they will surely learn from these friendly creatures.”
    —Sharonda Burison-Harris, Save the Children Staff and B.L.A.C.K. EAG Member

Something Beautiful by Shsaron Dennis Wyeth book cover

12. Something Beautiful

By Sharon Dennis Wyeth (Dragonfly Books)

A little girl longs to see beyond the scary sights on the sidewalk and the angry scribbling in the halls of her building. When her teacher writes the word beautiful on the blackboard, the girl decides to look for something beautiful in her neighborhood. Her neighbors tell her about their own beautiful things. Miss Delphine serves her a “beautiful” fried fish sandwich at her diner. At Mr. Lee’s “beautiful” fruit store, he offers her an apple. Old Mr. Sims invites her to touch a smooth stone he always carries. Beautiful means “something that when you have it, your heart is happy,” the girl thinks. Her search for “something beautiful” leaves her feeling much happier. She has experienced the beauty of friendship and the power of hope.

"This books is a perfect example of looking beyond your current circumstance or environment and finding something beautiful in everything. Now, more than ever, children need something to inspire them to see the beauty in things beyond the negativity and challenges of our current world.”  
    —Sharonda Burison-Harris, Save the Children Staff and B.L.A.C.K. EAG Member

Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold book cover

13. Tar Beach

By Faith Ringgold (Dragonfly Books)

Ringgold recounts the dream adventure of eight-year-old Cassie Louise Lightfoot, who flies above her apartment-building rooftop, the 'tar beach' of the title, looking down on 1939 Harlem. Part autobiographical, part fictional, this allegorical tale sparkles with symbolic and historical references central to African-American culture. The spectacular artwork resonates with color and texture. Children will delight in the universal dream of mastering one's world by flying over it. A practical and stunningly beautiful book

"Who doesn’t love the beach? This one is a tar beach where the main character flies throughout the city to places she would normally not be able to go. This books inspires children to be imaginative and travel without limits. The pictures are amazing, too.” 
     —Sharonda Burison-Harris, Save the Children Staff and B.L.A.C.K. EAG Member

Miss Tizzy by Libba Moore Gray book cover

14. Miss Tizzy

By Libba Moore Gray (Aladdin)

The neighbors may think Miss Tizzy quite peculiar, but the children love her. They love her colorful house and her colorful clothes, but most of all they love the special attention she pays to them all.

Together, they bake cookies, make pictures full of sunshine and butterflies for folks who have stopped smiling, play dress-up, put on puppet shows and parades, or stretch out on bright quilts in Miss Tizzy's backyard of an evening to sing moon songs.

When Miss Tizzy becomes ill and takes to her bed, the children know just what to do to let her know she is missed and loved. Here's a picture book certain to touch the hearts of children of any age.

"This is another book that I read to my own children when they were young. I love the idea of having that elder in the community who children love and learn from. Ms. Tizzy is that person. When she becomes ill, she sees the impact that she has on all of the children in the neighborhood. This is a great lesson in bonding with those elders in our neighborhood and allowing them to pass down wisdom to the youngest of us.”
     —Sharonda Burison-Harris, Save the Children Staff and B.L.A.C.K. EAG Member

Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford book cover

15. Moses When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom

By Carole Boston Weatherford (Hyperion Book CH)

In this award-winning book, acclaimed author Carole Boston Weatherford and bestselling artist Kadir Nelson offer a resounding, reverent tribute to Harriet Tubman, the woman who earned the name Moses for her heroic role in the Underground Railroad.

"I am fortunate to have five nieces, and we spend a lot of time talking about strong and brilliant female role models. I can never downplay the grit and determination of Harriet Tubman, the woman who challenged an unjust system as an abolitionist and helped change the course of history.”
    —B.L.A.C.K. EAG Member

Heart and Soul by Kadir Nelson book cover

16. Heart and Soul

By Kadir Nelson (Balzer + Bray)

The story of America and African Americans is a story of hope and inspiration and unwavering courage. In Heart and Soul, Kadir Nelson's stirring paintings and words grace 100-plus pages of a gorgeous picture book—a beautiful gift for readers of all ages, a treasure to share across generations at home or in the classroom.

"As a young girl and avid reader, I was always eager to learn more about my Black American roots, and I wish this book was around when I was growing up! Kadir Nelson brings our history to life in stunning illustrations and a beautiful narrative that is real and raw – depicting not only heartbreak and racial prejudice, but also courage, bravery, hope, and black excellence.”
     —B.L.A.C.K. EAG Member

Hair Love, by Matthew A. Cherry book cover

17. Hair Love

By Matthew A. Cherry (Kokila)

Zuri's hair has a mind of its own. It kinks, coils, and curls every which way. Zuri knows it's beautiful. When Daddy steps in to style it for an extra special occasion, he has a lot to learn. But he LOVES his Zuri, and he'll do anything to make her -- and her hair -- happy.

Tender and empowering, Hair Love is an ode to loving your natural hair -- and a celebration of daddies and daughters everywhere.

"I wish this book was around when I was a little girl. I love how this book portrays a little girl that loves her hair and knows how absolutely magical it is. Even as an adult this book has contributed to my own hair love. Also be sure to check out the Oscar winning animated short based on the book, it’s everything!”
    —Janel Noblin, Save the Children Staff and  B.L.A.C.K. EAG Member

My Very Favorite Book in the Whole Wide World by Malcolm Mitchell book cover

18. My Very Favorite Book in the Whole Wide World

By Malcolm Mitchell (Scholastic)

Meet Henley, an all-around good kid, who hates to read. When he's supposed to be reading, he would rather do anything else. But one day, he gets the scariest homework assignment in the world: find your favorite book to share with the class tomorrow.

“It’s hard to get my nieces away from their iPad and cell phones, so it was a nice to get them to settle down and read this book with me! I hope they’ll be inspired, like Henley, to read and write their own stories.”
    —B.L.A.C.K. EAG Member

Pin this post to save our Black History Month Booklist!

Thumbnail to pin this page to pinterest

Other Resources for Children

Welcome!

Thank you for signing up! Now, you’ll be among the first to know how Save the Children is responding to the most urgent needs of children, every day and in times of crisis—and how your support can make a difference. You may opt-out at any time by clicking "unsubscribe" at the bottom of any email.

By providing my mobile phone number, I agree to receive recurring text messages from Save the Children (48188) and phone calls with opportunities to donate and ways to engage in our mission to support children around the world. Text STOP to opt-out, HELP for info. Message & data rates may apply. View our Privacy Policy at savethechildren.org/privacy.