African American History Month, African American picture book, Civil Rights picture books, African American history for kids,

Picture Book of the Day: Booker T Washington

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 an 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.

To view more closely at Amazon, please click on image of book or go here to view at Barnes and Noble. 

African American History Month, African American picture book, Civil Rights picture books, African American history for kids,


By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. I love that Booker T. Washington really fought for his education. We tend to take it for granted! Great review and the suggestions for older kids sound good too!
    Jackie Higgins recently posted…Tips for Learning Letters in Meaningful WaysMy Profile

  2. Most of the books that I have seen on Booker T. Washington emphasize his achievements rather than his determination in early life. That is why I think this book makes a valuable contribution.

  3. Jeanette Nyberg

    I’ll have to grab this book- I realized when I saw the title to this post that I knew absolutely nothing about Booker except for his name. I love advanced picture books- They’re just about the right speed for me to learn little blips about people I want to know more about but don’t have the patience for a whole biography on.
    Jeanette Nyberg recently posted…iTooch Elementary School AppMy Profile

    • Hi Jeanette,
      I love the illustrations too! You don’t get that in adult biographies and it totally makes the experience richer! Yep, I am the same. Getting my biographies from picture books! I do love advanced picture books too because it works for all ages kids — there is something appealing for everyone and I can read it aloud and everyone is happy!
      Pragmatic Mom recently posted…In Mad Pursuit of Sharon CreechMy Profile

  4. So glad you are part of picture book of the day! This is such a good book. Thanks for sharing at The Children’s Bookshelf.

  5. Ann

    Definitely checking out this one! Sounds so inspirational!
    The Escape of Oney Judge is a good one.
    Ann recently posted…TiptoeMy Profile

  6. Download a free lesson for teaching this book at I fell in love with this book when I visited the Reginald F. Lewis Museum in Baltimore, MD. The illustrator, Bryan Collier was opening his exhibit and the pictures immediately drew me in. I loved the inspirational theme in the book!

    • Hi Sherece,
      Thanks so much for the heads up on the TeachersPayTeachers unit for the Booker T. Washington picture book. It is nice to know that his story is coming to life. He’s such an admirable role model for kids. I wish I lived near the Reginald F. Lewis museum but hopefully the exhibit will swing by Boston soon because I would love to see the Brian Collier exhibit!!!
      Pragmatic Mom recently posted…Kitchen on Fire and Fire SafetyMy Profile


Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge