Books for Black History
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An African saying goes, "every man dies two deaths; the first when the body dies, and the second when the last person who remembers him dies." These incredible children's books will ensure that black history lives on in the hearts and minds of families and classrooms for generations! There are plenty more stories than days of Black History Month, so please use these titles to discover the heritage and heroes of African-Americans year round!

America: The Harsh Homeland

Ajeema and His Son by James Berry
The Underground Railroad by Raymond Bial
The Middle Passage by Tom Feelings
Bound for the North Star: True Stories of Fugitive Slaves by Dennis Brindell Fradin
The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales by Virginia Hamilton
I Thought My Soul Would Rise and Fly: The Diary of Patsy, A Freed Girl by Joyce Hansen
Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt
Virgie Goes to School with Us Boys by Elizabeth Fitzgerald Howard
Letters from a Slave Girl: The Story of Harriet Jacobs by Mary E. Lyons
In the Hollow of Your Hand: Slave Lullabies by Alice McGill(comes with CD sung by author)
Black, Blue and Gray: African Americans in the Civil War by Jim Haskins
Dear Ellen Bee: A Civil War Scrapbook of Two Union Spies by Mary Lyons and Muriel Branch
Big Jabe by Jerdine Nolen
Trouble Don't Last by Shelley Pearsall
Meet Addy: An American Girl by Connie Porter
Freedom River by Doreen Rappaport
No More! Stories and Songs of Slave Resistance by Doreen Rappaport
My Folks Don't Want Me to Talk About Slavery by Belinda Hurmence
Forty Acres and Maybe a Mule by Harriette Gillem Robinet
Only Passing Through: The Story of Sojourner Truth by Anne Rockwell
Minty: A Story of Young Harriet Tubman by Alan Schroeder
Freedom's Gifts: A Juneteenth Story by Valerie Wesley
Working Cotton by Shirley Anne Williams
Talkin' About Bessie by Nikki Grimes
When Marian Sang by Pam Munoz Ryan
Words with Wings: A Treasury of African-American Poetry and Art selected by Belinda Rochelle
Follow the Drinking Gourd by Jeannette Williams
Love to Langston by Tony Medina
Through My Eyes by Ruby Bridges
First in the Field: Baseball Hero Jackie Robinson by Derek T. Dingle
Francie by Karen English
My Brother Martin: A Sister Remembers by Christine King Farris
Separate but Not Equal: The Dream and the Struggle by Jim Haskins
(outstanding non-fiction, a must-read for grown-ups, too!)
Witness by Karen Hesse
Belle Teal by Ann Martin
How They Got Over: African Americans and the Call of the Sea by Eloise Greenfield
Heaven's All-Star Jazz Band by Don Carter
Leon's Story by Leon Walter Tillage
Richard Wright and the Library Card by William Miller
Let It Shine: Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters by Andrea Davis Pinkney
Martin's Big Words by Doreen Rappaport
A School for Pompey Walker by Michael Rosen
Words By Heart by Ouida Sebestyn
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by MildredTaylor
Pink and Say by Patricia Polacco
If a Bus Could Talk: The Story of Rosa Parks by Fath Ringgold
Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold
Now Is Your Time! The African American Struggle for Freedom by Walter Dean Myers
Freedom Summer by Deborah Wiles
Goin' Someplace Special by Patricia McKissack
The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson
Teammates by Peter Golenbock
Take a Walk in Their Shoes by Glenette Tilley Turner
Visions of Beauty: The Story of Sarah Breedlove Walker by Kathryn Lasky
The Blues Singers: Ten Who Rocked the World by Julius Lester
Lift Every Voice and Sing by James Weldon Johnson
Freedom School, Yes! by Amy Littlesugar

Africa: The Motherland

A is for Africa by Ifeotoma Onyefulu
Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions by Margaret Musgrove
Bimwili and the Zimwi by Verna Aardema
Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain by Verna Aardema
Misoso: Once Upon a Time Tales from Africa by Verna Aardema
What's So Funny, Ketu? by Verna Aardema
Why Mosquitos Buzz in People's Ears
(Aardema is the African story master! Check out all of her books.)
The Fortune Teller by Lloyd Alexander
Ashley Bryan's African Tales, Uh-Huh by Ashley Bryan
A Story, A Story by Gail Haley.
Mansa Musa: Lion of Mali by Kephra Burns.
The Hunterman and the Crocodile by Baba Waqué Diakité
Jamela's Dress by Niki Daly
Mandela: From the Life of a South African Statesman by Floyd Cooper
This Our Dark Country: The American Settlers of Liberia by Catherine Reef
Why the Sun and Moon Live in the Sky by Dayrell Elphinstone
Bintou's Braids by Sylviane Douf
Bury My Bones But Keep my Words: African Tales for Retelling by Tony Fairman
Jambo Means Hello: A Swahili Alphabet Book by Muriel Feelings
Moja Means One: A Swahili Counting Book by Muriel Feelings
Zzzng! Zzng! Zzng! A Yoruba Tale by Phyllis Gershator
Why the Sky is Far Away by Mary Joan Gerson
Darkness and the Butterfly by Ann Grifalconi
The Village of Round and Square Houses by Ann Grifalconi
The Girl Who Spun Gold by Virginia Hamilton
The First Bear in Africa by Satomi Ichikawa
Anansi and the Talking Melon by Robert Kimmell
What the Animals Were Waiting For by Jonathan London
Zomo the Rabbit: A Trickster Tale from Africa by Gerald McDermott
Peaceful Protest: The Life of Nelson Mandela by Yona Zeldis McDonough
Rhinos for Lunch and Elephants for Supper! A Maasai Tale byTololwa Mollel
Orphan Boy by Tololwa Mollel
My Rows and Piles of Coins by Tololwa Mollel
The Spider Weaver, A Legend of Kente Cloth by Margaret Musgrave
Head, Body, Legs: A Story from Liberia by Won-Ldy Paye and Margaret H. Lippert
Master Man: A Tall Tale of Nigeria by Aaron Shepherd
A Girl Named Disaster by Nancy Farmer (novel for mature readers)
Gugu's House by Catherine Stock
Elizabeti's Doll by StephanieStuve-Bodeen
Sense Pass King: A Story from Cameroon by Katrin Tchana
Peaceful Protest: The Life of Nelson Mandela by Yona Zeldis McDonough
Off to the Sweet Shores of Africa and Other Talking Drum Rhymes by Uzo Unobagha

More books from Africa, including a link to Anansi "trickster" tales, may be found at's Trip Around the World .

The books in these lists focus on black history and achievement, but if you are also looking for books that feature black characters in contemporary, everyday situations, a few resources that will help you find the best of the best are Black Books Galore's Guide to Great African American Children's Books by Donna Rand (the author has also written Black Books Galore! Guide to Great African American Children's Books about Boys and Black Books Galore! Guide to Great African American Children's Books about Girls) and Great Books for African-American Children by Pamela Toussaint. Children will also enjoy the trivia found in Black Heritage Brain Quest Extra: African American History in 850 Questions & Answers by Veronica Robertson.

Recipients of the Coretta Scott King Award are authors and illustrators of African descent whose distinguished books promote an understanding and appreciation of the "American Dream." Black is indeed beautiful, and your students will see it every time you use share the award winners!

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