Teaching kids about Black history is more important than ever - and this Black History Month we love the wide array of children's books that help little ones learn about and celebrate Black history in February and all year round.
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Childrens’ rights activist Marian Wright Edelman famously said, “You can't be what you can't see.”
And the books on our handy reading list of the best Black History Month books for kids are stories that truly inspire, illuminating Black history and achievement in subjects from civil rights and scientific discovery to art and sports.
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We've also included some of our favorite self-esteem-boosting kids' books - all to encourage children to be proud of themselves and to dream of being the next history maker during Black History Month... and beyond.
The ABCs of Black History
The ABCs of Black History by Rio Cortez, $6.49, Amazon
For ages: 5 years and up
This rhyming book by Award-winning poet and children’s book author Rio Cortez takes kids through Black history and popular culture letter by letter, including key moments in history like the Great Migration, and illustrious names such as WEB Du Bois, Fannie Lou Hamer, the Little Rock Nine and even the founder of hip hop, DJ Kool Herc. The book, which includes a section with more in-depth explanations of the themes explored, has earned 4.9 out of five stars on Amazon.
Opal Lee and What It Means to Be Free: The True Story of the Grandmother of Juneteenth
Opal Lee and What It Means to Be Free by Alice Faye Duncan, $14.39, Amazon
For ages: 4-8
Kids can learn the history of Juneteenth in a way that they can understand through the real-life story of Opal Lee. This book aimed for children ages 4 to 8 tells of Opal’s journey, going from a young girl in the 1930s experiencing a life-changing racist attack to a 21st century elder and activist leading the movement to make Juneteenth a federally recognized holiday.
Life Doesn't Frighten Me by Maya Angelou & Jean-Michel Basquiat
Life Doesn't Frighten Me by Maya Angelou, Jean-Michel Basquiat, edited by Sara Jane Boyers, $15.79, Amazon
For ages: 3+
Introduce children to two of the world’s most iconic Black American artists, poet Maya Angelou and painter Jean-Michel Basquiat, in this hardcover children’s book which matches Dr Angelou’s ode to courage, Life Doesn’t Frighten Me, with Basquiat’s stunning artwork. This book also makes a great gift for grown-ups, too.
Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History
Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison, $11.36, Amazon
For ages: 8-12
With a 4.9-star rating and over 10,000 five-star reviews, Little Leaders is Amazon’s #1 bestselling children’s book about 20th-century history. This New York Times bestseller tells the tales of 40 extraordinary Black women, including NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson and Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American woman elected to Congress.
Black Inventors: 15 Inventions that Changed the World
Black Inventors: 15 Inventions that Changed the World by Kathy Trusty, $9.17, Amazon
For ages: 8-12
Do you have a budding scientist in your life? They'll be inspired by these fascinating stories of Black inventors through the years, from George Washington Carver to IBM’s Mark Dean, co-creator of the first personal computer.
I Am Smart, I Am Blessed, I Can Do Anything!
I Am Smart, I Am Blessed, I Can Do Anything! by Alissa Holder & Zulekha Holder-Young, $13.48, Amazon
For ages: Preschool - 7
The message is as simple and uplifting in this tale of a little boy whose mom teaches him confidence on a school day where he’s feeling not-so-sure of himself. A sweet story of empowerment, managing emotions and self-confidence.
Born on the Water
Born on the Water by Nikole Hannah-Jones and Renée Watson, $13.41, Amazon
For ages: 7+
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones and Newbery honor-winning author Renée Watson are the minds behind Born on the Water from the groundbreaking 1619 Project. The Amazon #1 bestseller in Children’s American Revolution History reflects on the history, perseverance and legacy of enslaved Black people in the US, told through the eyes of a young Black girl in the present day who has to trace her root for a school project family tree.
Bedtime Inspirational Stories: 50 Amazing Black People Who Changed the World
50 Amazing Black People Who Changed the World by LA Amber, $24.50, Amazon
For ages: 5 to 18
This book includes not just the stories inspiring figures from the 18th century to today, but also 50 positive affirmations for your little one at bedtime. The book is the first of a series of Black History Books for Kids by LA Amber - you can complete the series with Bedtime Inspirational Stories - 50 Black Leaders who Made History and 2021’s Bedtime Inspirational Stories - 50 Trailblazing Black Heroes who Made History, which includes pioneers from Chadwick Boseman and Kamala Harris to Willie Mays and Langston Hughes.
Black Leaders in the Civil Rights Movement: A Black History Book for Kids
Black Leaders in the Civil Rights Movement by Glenda Armand, $9.19, Amazon
For ages: 8-12
The Civil Rights movement was a turning point in American history, and kids can learn about the men and women who were the movement’s key leaders with this children's Black history book, which features icons like Martin Luther King, Jr, Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, Claudette Colvin, and Medgar Evers.
Hair Love by Matthew A Cherry, $8.76, Amazon
For ages: 3 to 8
This New York Times bestseller about a loving Black dad and his beautiful daughter as he styles her natural hair, was inspired the Oscar-winning 2019 short film. The story highlighting father-daughter bonding, self-love and family is an Amazon pick for best books for ages 3-5.
HELLO!'s selection is editorial and independently chosen – we only feature items our editors love and approve of. HELLO! may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. To find out more visit our FAQ page.
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