10 Children’s Books That Celebrate Black History Month

These staff favorites make for excellent reads all year long and especially during the month of February when we celebrate Black History Month.

Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman and Caroline Binch (Scholastic)
Amazing Grace is an old school favorite about a young girl named Grace who loves stories, movies and plays. When she fights for the chance to play the lead role in Peter Pan, Grace's fierce determination and love of words lets young readers know they too can be anything they aspire to be!

“I remember reading this book with my mom growing up. The protagonist’s dream of playing Peter Pan was one of my first exposures to gender role limitations. I loved reading about a young black girl pursuing her dreams, despite how others categorized her!” – Morgan Moran, Save the Children Action Network (SCAN)

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.” --Shikitta Tavares, Save the Children

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

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!” – Shikitta Tavares, Save the Children

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.” – Nana Dagadu, Save the Children

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!’”! – Nana Dagadu, Save the Children

Dream Big, Little One by Vashti Harrison (LB Kids)
This book showcases women who changed the world and is the perfect goodnight book to inspire big dreams.

“We have a cult following for Vashti Harrison and cannot recommend her books enough. Boys and girls who are young in age and young at heart will love them.” – Nana Dagadu, Save the Children

I Love My Hair by Natasha Tarpley (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
A girl named Keyana discovers the beauty and magic of her special hair, encouraging black children to be proud of their heritage and enhancing self-confidence.

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.” – Morgan Moran, Save the Children Action Network (SCAN)

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.” – Nana Dagadu, Save the Children

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