Black History Month Recommended Reads for Youth & Families

In honor of Black History Month, here are some books by black authors and featuring black characters that are perfect for youth and families.

  • Freedom In Congo Square

    2016 by Carole Boston Weatherford

    "A poetic tribute to a lesser-known event in African-American history describes how after working relentlessly for more than six days, slaves in 19th-century New Orleans were permitted to congregate in Congo Square to sing, dance and put aside their troubles for a few hours." (from NoveList)

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  • The First Step : how one girl put segregation on trial

    2016 by Susan E Goodman

    "This history picture book shares the story of Sarah Roberts and her 1847 case petitioning that she be allowed to attend a white school, explaining how her heroic efforts established key precedents and paved the way for civil rights advancements." (from NoveList)

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  • Mitzi Tulane, Preschool Detective, In What's That Smell?

    2016 by Lauren McLaughlin

    Young Mitzi is a budding detective, and she uses her senses to figure out what's happening around her house. Can she use her nose to find her own birthday cake? A great interactive read for young children.

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  • In Plain Sight

    2016 by Richard Jackson

    A grandfather and his granddaughter pass the time playing a special game of seek-and-find. This is a wonderful book to share with a beloved family member.

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    2016 by Elliott, Zetta/ Boyd, Aaron (ILT)

    "Melena wakes up with a song in her heart and a brand new day filled with new beginnings." (from NoveList)

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  • Stella by Starlight

    2015 by Sharon M Draper

    "When the Ku Klux Klan’s unwelcome reappearance rattles Stella’s segregated southern town, bravery battles prejudice in this Depression-era tour de force from Sharon Draper, the New York Times bestselling author of Out of My Mind...As Stella’s community—her world—is upended, she decides to fight fire with fire. And she learns that ashes don’t necessarily signify an end." (publisher's note)

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  • Booked

    2016 by Kwame Alexander

    "Twelve-year-old Nick loves soccer and hates books, but soon learns the power of words as he wrestles with problems at home, stands up to a bully, and tries to impress the girl of his dreams." (from NoveList)

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  • Ghost

    2016 by Jason Reynolds

    "Ghost, a naturally talented runner and troublemaker, is recruited for an elite middle school track team. He must stay on track, literally and figuratively, to reach his full potential." (from NoveList)

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  • As Brave As You

    2016 by Jason Reynolds

    "When two brothers decide to prove how brave they are, everything backfires—literally." (from NoveList)

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  • Gone Crazy In Alabama

    2015 by Rita Garcia

    "Spending the summer with their grandmother in the rural South, three sisters from Brooklyn discover the surprising reason behind their mother's estrangement from their aunt. Winner of the 2016 Coretta Scott King Award."

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  • Radiant Child : the story of young artist Jean-Michel Basquiat

    2016 by Javaka Steptoe

    This gorgeous picture book, winner of the 2017 Caldecott Medal for illustrations, shares the life and work of artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. Pair this story with some time to make art.

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  • Whoosh! : Lonnie Johnson's super-soaking stream of inventions

    2016 by Chris Barton

    "This picture book biography chronicles the life and achievements of NASA engineer and inventor Lonnie Johnson, from his childhood to his accidental invention of the Super Soaker water gun." (from NoveList)

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