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black history month
Ten children’s books to read for Black History Month
BY DONNA DUARTE-LADD
Th is month, February, is Black History
Month, a time to honor Black America.
And while we do this, it is also an opportunity
to remind ourselves that educating
our children on what it means to be
Black, and what better way than by learning
Here are 10 books for the kids and
family to read this month and every
month aft erward.
“Ambitious Girl” by
Meena Harris, illustrated
by Marissa Valdez
Author Meena Harris (yes, niece of Vice
President Harris) shares on an “ambitious
girl” and her journey of discovering what
girls and women have faced in the past
and present challenges and what they may
face in the future obstacles. An incredible
story for girls to read about the positivity
of being ambitious and reframing
what it means to be ambitious and proud.
Ages 4 to 8.
“Don’t Touch My Hair”
by Sharee Miller
In this sweet book (a follow up
to “Princess Hair”), we learn
what Aria loves about her hair,
which compliments are OK,
but touching her hair without
asking? Not OK. Beautifully
and creatively illustrated, the
reader follows Aria on her
adventures and learns how
she skillfully demands boundaries.
Ages 4 to 8.
“Shirley Chisholm Is A
Verb” by Veronica Chambers,
illustrated by Rachelle Baker
A picture biography book on pioneering
woman Shirley Chisholm. Authored
by bestselling author Veronica Chambers
and vividly illustrated by Rachelle Baker,
kids will learn about this amazing woman
and her life.
For starters, she was the fi rst Black
woman to campaign for the Democratic
nomination for the United States’ presidency.
And there is more for children
to learn about, including her
childhood in Barbados to attending
Brooklyn College. I didn’t learn
about this icon until college; start
them young and teach your child about
Shirley Chisholm. Ages 4 to 8.
“Black Music Greats: 40 inspiring
icons” by Olivier Cachin,
illustrated by Jérôme Masi
Kids will learn from some of the greatest
Black music icons of all time in this
artfully and detailed book. Learn about
Prince, Nina Simone and other music legends’
backgrounds, hit songs and other
fun facts like nicknames and their signature
An eclectic array of music icons from
Marvin Gaye to N.W.A. is featured in this
cool book. Kids will learn how these Black
artists changed the music scene, defi ned
an era with their sound, and in some
instances changed the musical landscape
with their sound. Ages 7 to 10.
“Cocoa, Tea & Honey” by
A lovely read for your toddler, this
book shares how to celebrate all shades
of brown complexions. It is about looking
beyond all skin colors and accepting
friends for who they are, not what they
look like. Vividly illustrated, this book
makes for a lovely morning or bedtime
storytime. Ages infant to 12.
“The Other Side” by
Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated
by E.B Lewis
Brooklyn author andNew York Times
bestseller Jacqueline Woodson shares a
story on an interracial friendship that the
reader can experience through the eyes of
a child. A great book to discuss with your
child about race, friendships, segregation
and more. Ages 5 to 8.
“Young, Gifted and Black: Meet
52 Black Heroes from Past
and Present” by Jamia Wilson,
illustrated by Andrea Pippins
Kids can learn about 52 Black
heroes such as Toni Morrison, Nelson
Mandela,Maurice Ashley and 49 other
incredible leaders, icons and innovators.
Geared toward kids ages 7 to though 10,
I can also see reading this book to my
younger child as each hero lends a powerful
While we celebrate a book such as this
for Black History Month, it is a book
that can be cherished and learned from
forever. Ages 7 to 10.
“Little Leaders: Bold Women in
Black History” by Vashti Harrison
What started as a personal project for
Black History Month turned into a sweetly
illustrated book on strong and, yes, bold
Black women. Author Vashti Harrison
shares profi les on iconic women that are
both informative and educational. An
essential read for kids to understand bravery
and empowerment. Ages 8 to 12.
“All the Days Past, All the Days
to Come” by Mildred D. Taylor
Th e young reader in your family is most
likely obsessed with the Logan family
(“Song of the Trees”and “Roll of Th under,
Hear My Cry”), the last book in the family
saga. Th e civil rights movement, like
the books before, is woven into this story.
Without giving too much away, read how
Cassie grows from a teen to a strong black
woman. Young adult.
“We Are Not Yet Equal” by Carol
Anderson with Tonya Bolden
Teens have seen that we as a nation and
world have much work to do. Th is antiracist
book should be required reading for
all young adults as well as adults.
Well researched and chock-full of history,
the book is a helpful refresher of civil
injustices that are part of our past and
present and may serve as a motivator of
change for teens. Ages 12 and up.
Photo via Getty Images