Learning about history is a great way to help kids understand current events. Choosing a Black history book for children will provide them with some context to the current civil rights movement, highlighting the importance of love and respect. These books are a brilliant way, not only to teach children about racial inequality, but to celebrate Black accomplishments and joy!
In this article we've selected 10 of the best Black history books for kids. These colourful, illustrated books discuss a range of important topics in a way that's suitable and captivating for young minds, from the transatlantic slave trade to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, featuring the proud and inspiring tales of exemplary figures from Black history. All available in the UK on Amazon and eBay.
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Table of Contents
There are so many brilliant Black history books out there, that it can be tough to know which one best suits your child's learning style. To help you decide what topics you'd like to cover and identify the style of book your little one will respond to best, we've broken it down into handy segments so you can make a well-informed choice.
Have a think about the kind of Black history book you're after. When we think of a 'history book' we tend to think only of school reference books, in actuality, there are a wide range of types to choose from to help bring history to life!
When searching for non-fiction Black history books for kids, seek out ones packed with appealing images and accessible text. Bite-sized chunks of information will be easier for them to digest, providing youngsters with fascinating facts they can learn and repeat.
These types of books are perfect for teachers as well as parents, lending themselves well to group projects and fun activities.
Fiction based on real historical events is a brilliant choice for children. These allow children to contextualise particular themes, ideas or moments in history via a vivid narrative style.
An especially good choice for independent readers, kids follow an empathetic character through their adventures and struggles, learning about the lived experiences many Black people have, and continue to, face.
Many books are written in a biographical style, telling the stories of real people. These books are a great way for kids to become familiar with a variety of Black historical figures, both celebrated and 'ordinary'.
Children's versions of true stories often have a lyrical style, evocative descriptions and even poetry or rhyme, which can help children remember names, dates and historical events.
It's never too early to start introducing children to Black history. That said, certain themes or topics may be difficult for youngsters to grasp depending on their age and reading ability.
A simple story with lots of pictures will captivate little ones. Whereas, more complex texts and novels are better suited to older and stronger readers. We've provided a recommended age range for each of the books in our top 10 to help guide you in selecting one that fits their needs.
Black stories from around the world are valuable for children no matter where they live. Introducing children to Black history from other parts of the globe can help to broaden their understanding of other cultures and give a wider context to topics and events.
A lot of popular children's books on Black history focus on the USA as the Americas were a major hub of the transatlantic slave trade. North America is also the home of many exceptional Black figures throughout history and remains the epicentre of the civil rights movement today.
If you're hoping to educate your kid on issues closer to home, look for books which discuss moments and events from Black British history. Some books with a more global focus will also include inspiring stories of Black British leaders and achievers.
Take a look at the time period your Black history book focuses on. You might want to select one that discusses a time period that they are currently studying at school, such as the life of Black people in Tudor England.
It's good to include recent history, such as the effect of Hurricane Katrina on the Black community, as well as key events such as the abolition of the slave trade and the history of the civil rights movement.
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Young, Gifted and Black: Meet 52 Black Heroes from Past and Present
A Boldly Illustrated Celebration of Black Excellence
Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History
True Stories of Boundary-Breaking Black Women
Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race
The Inspiring Story of Four African-American NASA Mathematicians
Carole Boston Weatherford
Freedom in Congo Square
A Story of Hope Told Through Pictures and Rhyme
Laurie Halse Anderson
The Seeds of America Trilogy
A Brilliant Trilogy About the Fight for Freedom
Marvelous Cornelius: Hurricane Katrina and the Spirit of New Orleans
A Humble Man Who Made a Heroic Difference
How High the Moon
A Warm and Uplifting Tale of Finding Your Place in the World
A West African Girl in Elizabethan London
If You Were a Kid During the Civil Rights Movement
Two Friends Experience a Civil Rights March Together
L. A. Amber
Bedtime Inspirational Stories: 50 Amazing Black People Who Changed the World
Inspiring Tales of Important Figures in Black History
Our top pick for kids, this book celebrates the proud histories of Black communities worldwide, from activists who opposed apartheid and pushed for the abolition of slavery to jazz singers, scientists and politicians.
An uplifting and inspirational read, this book is ideal as a reference material for school projects and presentations. The illustrations are second to none with text delivered in an informative, yet accessible way that's suitable for primary school children and up.
We love this book's celebration of a diverse group of bold women in Black history, from way in the past up until the modern-day. The illustrations are fun and charming, perfectly illustrating the educational text.
This book includes Black heroines and change-makers from all over the world, including stories from Britain, such as those of Labour politician Diane Abbott and British Jamaican nurse Mary Seacole. There's also an accompanying book available that discusses bold men in Black history, so why not introduce your kids to both?
Now a major motion picture, this true story is powerful, inspiring and deeply moving. The story introduces kids to Christine Darden, Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson and Katherine Johnson whose mathematical prowess made an invaluable contribution to NASA's first journeys into space.
A serious tale filled with humour and warmth, this is an excellent choice for inspiring children to strive for academic success. Older readers will enjoy this story alone, while the gorgeous illustrations make this book a great pick for reading to younger child.
This beautiful book tells the story of slaves in Louisiana who would meet once a week in Congo Square, New Orleans to set up market stalls, play live music and briefly forget the hardship and pain of their daily lives.
Written in whimsical rhyme, this tale will stick in your child's mind and serve as a valuable lesson, not only on the unfair oppression of Black lives, but of the possibility of exuberance and hope in the face of adversity.
This deeply moving trilogy of young adult novels follows the story of Isabel, Curzon and Ruth, three youths born into slavery who become inspired through a turn of events to bravely make their escape.
This series is a favourite of Marley Dias, who in 2016 at the age of 11 years, launched the hashtag #1000blackgirlbooks to promote her search for more children's books featuring Black female characters. These are captivating books for confident readers that contain a very important history lesson.
If the delightful illustrations weren't enough, possibly the best thing about this book is that it's based on a true story. Through witty and dazzling prose, this book teaches your child about an impactful moment in the history of New Orleans.
While the story itself doesn't focus specifically on the social and racial injustice inherent in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, it introduces youngsters to the story and celebrates a Black hero who will inspire their admiration and love.
This book is set in 1944, between South Carolina and Boston, Massachusetts. It is a tenderly written coming-of-age story that depicts mother-daughter relationships as well as racial issues.
Author Karyn Parsons, once better known as Hilary Banks from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, has crafted a real work of art. Parsons paints a vivid and moving picture of the contradictions of African American life, lauded for one's talents one moment, shamed and marginalised the next.
This book is a great pick for children studying Elizabethan and Tudor England. Eve lives with her mother in the slums of Elizabethan Southwark, and when the two of them hear from a Mary Rose survivor that treasures from the wreck still remain, they go in search of the African diver who found them.
It's a charming tale that focuses on lived experiences so often left out of the history books, bringing racial issues to light without making them its primary focus. It's also based on fascinating real events, so it's sure to hook young readers.
This book introduces your child to Connie and Joyce, two young kids during the era of racial segregation in the USA. In this tale, they stumble upon a civil rights march and learn about the fight for integration and equality.
This book succeeds in detailing the important subject matter, written in a way that kids can clearly understand. Words like 'segregation' are highlighted and clearly explained, helping kids develop new ideas and expand their vocabulary too.
Bedtime is the perfect moment to spark your child's imagination. The stories are brief and beautifully illustrated, looking at 50 remarkable Black figures from around the world who have made a difference in sport, science, the arts and beyond.
This book also contains 50 positive affirmations for children to repeat to boost their confidence and feelings of self worth. Since the UK school curriculum still fails to adequately teach Black history, you can enrich their education with this uplifting collection of tales.
Black histories are a vital and important part of learning about the history of the world. Yet, despite the wonderful cultural and ethnic diversity within the UK, Black history is all too often left out of the school's curriculum.
It's our responsibility to ensure the next generations of kids grow up aware of the serious repercussions of slavery and racial inequality, as well as the awe-inspiring achievements of Black figures throughout history.
By choosing Black history books aimed at a young audience, we can inspire hope, uplift and encourage our children toward a fairer future, free from racial prejudice and biases.
Books are a fantastic way to inspire imagination and creativity. If your child loves to get lost in a good read, we have some more wonderful recommendations to really get their brains ticking. Take a look at the links below for ideas and guidance on shopping for children's books online!
There are many different stories and topics to discover, so you might just want to consider collecting a range of Black history books to help children learn about a variety of events and issues. We hope this article has helped you learn about some of the incredible titles out there, perfect for teaching vital moments in history to young minds!
Author: Annie Hopkins
No. 1: Jamia Wilson｜Young, Gifted and Black: Meet 52 Black Heroes from Past and Present
No. 2: Vashti Harrison｜Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History
No. 3: Margot Shetterly｜Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race
No. 4: Carole Boston Weatherford｜Freedom in Congo Square
No. 5: Laurie Halse Anderson｜The Seeds of America Trilogy
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