List

Black Lives Matter: A Reading List for Children & Families

By Amy Koester

As the Black Lives Matter movement grows in the wake of ongoing racial injustice and police brutality against black Americans, it can be difficult to explain current events to children. The books on this list offer a starting place for exploring racism, prejudice, discrimination, and inequity in a manner accessible to youth.

  • Freedom on the Menu : the Greensboro sit-ins

    2005 by Carole Boston Weatherford

    In 1960 Greensboro, North Carolina, four young men protested racial segregation with a sit-in at the Woolworth's lunch counter. This picture book recounts the story from the perspective of a young black girl.

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  • Sit-in : how four friends stood up by sitting down

    2010 by Andrea Davis Pinkney

    This gorgeous picture book recounts the history of the 1960 sit-in at Woolworth's lunch counter in North Carolina, a seminal moment in the mid-century civil rights movement.

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  • Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

    2016 by Mildred D Taylor

    Cassie Logan and her family live in a town rife with racism and prejudice in the 1930s. During one turbulant year, Cassie struggles to understand why discrimination and injustice are a constant part of black Americans' lives. Cassie's parents and community aim to help her better understand the world and how she can change it, making this an excellent title for talking with children about injustice and racism.

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  • One Crazy Summer

    2010 by Rita Garcia

    It's 1968, and the Gaither sisters have left their Brooklyn home to spend the summer with their mother in Oakland, California. While in Oakland they become aware of the Black Panthers and black poets, and their experiences with black empowerment change how they feel about themselves and the world the live in.

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  • Brown Girl Dreaming

    2014 by Jacqueline Woodson

    Jacqueline Woodson recounts her experiences growing up as a black girl in 1960s and 1970s South Carolina and New York in this award-winning memoir in verse.

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  • Knock Knock : my dad's dream for me

    2013 by Daniel Beaty

    This poetic, movingly illustrated picture book explores a young black boy's relationship with his father. The story celebrates the strength and comfort the boy gets from his father--until, for reasons left unexplained, his father can no longer be with him.

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  • I, Too, Am America

    2012 by Langston Hughes

    Langston Hughes's powerful call for equality is accompanied by breathtaking, inspirational illustrations in this picture book edition of the poet's wisdom.

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  • Lillian's Right to Vote : a celebration of the Voting Rights Act of 1965

    2015 by Jonah Winter

    This non-fiction picture book follows one-hundred-year-old Lillian as she votes in an election. As she goes to vote, she recounts what it was like for black Americans before the 1965 Voting Rights Act, and the impact that law has had to help ensure black voices are heard in elections.

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  • We March

    2012 by Shane Evans

    This bright picture book recounts the tale of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, when more than 250,000 people demonstrated in Washington, D.C. to demand equality for black Americans.

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  • The Mighty Miss Malone

    2012 by Christopher Paul Curtis

    Deza Malone and her family are enduring difficult times in 1930s Gary, Indiana, and they have to move to Flint, Michigan, for a better chance at surviving and staying together. This historical fiction title sheds light on the economic hardships and discrimination felt particularly by black Americans.

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