African-American History Through Picture Books
February is African-American History Month and it pays tribute to the generations of African-Americans who struggled with adversity to achieve full citizenship in American society. One way kids can empathize with the obstacles that African-Americans faced and continue to face is through books.
This year’s theme for African-American History Month is Black Women in American Culture and History. Please share any favorite picture books, chapter books or Young Adult books that you enjoy that teach us about the African-American Experience.
My daughter’s friend Devin told me about Chains and Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson. She just finished Forge and recommends them for ages 9 and up.
Fifty Cents and a Dream: Young Booker T. Washington by Jabari Asim, illustrated by Byran Collier
Slaves were denied an education and punished if they learned to read and write. Young Booker T. Washington lived during the transition from slavery to emancipation and was given the opportunity for education from an educated black man while also working a dangerous job in a coal mine. As a teenager, he dreamed of more. He journeyed over 500 miles by foot, working along the way, to attend Hampton Institute, a boarding school for African-Americans. To pay for his tuition, he worked as a janitor, and still, he continued to dream. Eventually, Booker T. Washington founds the Tuskegee Institute, becoming one of “the most famous and respected black men in America.” [advanced picture book, ages 6 and up]
p.s. I have more books for children on The Civil Rights Movement and Black History Month:
Top 10: African American Picture Books. If you read the 10 books in order, it covers the key periods and people in African American history through picture books.
Celebrating MLK Day with 3 Children’s Books. I selected two picture books and one chapter book to help tell the story of the impact Martin Luther King, Junior made.
As Fast As Words Could Fly: Picture Book of the Day. Ruby Bridges came to visit my elementary school and her story is contrasted with 14-year-old Mason Steele who used his typing skills both as a writer and a speed typist to prove that he had the right to attend a previously all-white school.
Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day with Children’s Books. I have seven books for kids including picture books, YA, non-fiction and chapter books.
Ten Chapter Books for Kids on the Civil Rights Movement. This list covers many genres including picture books, chapter books, Young Adult and non-fiction.
5th Grade Slavery Unit. I cover a little of the history of the Underground Railroad where I live, what life was like during this time and book list including picture books and chapter books.
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BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.