Black History Month is a time dedicated to education and awareness on the experiences and achievements of notable Black figures throughout history. If you’re looking to educate your children with stories created by Black authors, here are five children’s books you can introduce them to this Black History Month!
Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly, Illustrated by Laura Freeman
Originally from Shetterly’s 2016 non-fiction “Hidden Figures” novel, the children’s book version provides for readers the same story for a more youthful audience. Set between the 1940s and 1960s, the book tells of four extraordinary African-American women mathematicians and their contributions to NASA, during a period of segregation.
Life Doesn’t Frighten Me by Maya Angelou, Illustrated by Jean-Michel Basquiat
What better way to celebrate Black exceptionalism than a book from one of the most iconic Black poets and one of the most notable Black artists? This children’s book was written in 1993, and contains Angelou’s poem “Life Doesn’t Frighten Me.” It is about the courage and fearlessness that we can find in each other. Paired with the artwork of Basquiat throughout the pages, this children’s book is a work of inspiration for every one of us.
Hair Love, by Matthew A. Cherry, Illustrated by Vashti Harrison
You might recognize this title from the viral animated short released in 2019, also directed by Cherry! Both the book and animation were released alongside each other, about the story of a father-daughter relationship. Specifically, a Black father who is learning how to do his daughter’s hair. Despite the difficulty he has in styling her curls for the first time, he is adamant on making his daughter happy. It’s a touching story about the bond between a father and his daughter, and I can attest (from personal experience!) that it is a story touching enough to make a grown adult cry.
Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem, by Amanda Gorman, Illustrated by Loren Long
You may recognize Gorman from her poem and speech about hope as the 2021 presidential inaugural poet, but Gorman’s children’s book proves that her abilities to inspire do not end there! Change Sings tells of a young Black girl who uses the power of music and her voice to inspire change with her friends throughout the world.
Little Leaders: Bold Black Women in History / Little Leaders: Exceptional Men in Black History by Vashti Harrison
I know these two options technically would count as 6 books total, but who’s really counting? Little Leaders is a children’s book series that educates children on notable figures throughout history and their accomplishments. From writers to activists to artists to politicians, your child will be able to learn more about just how impactful Black culture really is through history.