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Black History Books for Kids and Teens

This is a selection of books that celebrate and honor the experiences, struggles and achievements of Black people in history.

Picture Books

Cover of The ABCs of Black History
Laren Semmer

A beautiful alphabet picture book that presents key names, moments, and places in Black history with text lyrically written by poet Rio Cortez.

Cover of The 1619 Project: Born On
Niole Hannah-Jones and
Renée Watson
Nikkolas Smith

The 1619 Project's lyrical picture book in verse chronicles the consequences of slavery and the history of Black resistance in the United States.

Cover of Overground Railroad
James E. Ransome

A girl named Ruth Anne tells the story of her family's train journey from North Carolina to New York City as part of the Great Migration.

Cover of The History of Me
Erin Robinson

A mother's account of her experience as the only Black child in school serves as an empowering message to her daughter.

Cover of The People Remember
Loveis Wise

Recounts the journey of African descendants in America by connecting their history to the seven principles of Kwanzaa.

Cover of Unspeakable: The Tulsa Rac
Carole Boston
Floyd Cooper

A remarkable look at a significant moment in our nation's past, shedding light on racial violence and offering hope for a better future.

Cover of Your Legacy: A Bold Reclai
Tonya Engel

This presents an accessible, empowering, and proud introduction to African American history for children. While your ancestors' freedom was taken from them, their spirit was not; this book celebrates their accomplishments, acknowledges their sacrifices, and defines how they are remembered-and how their stories should be taught.

Cover of Magnolia Flower
Zora Neale Hurston and
Ibram X. Kendi
Loveis Wise

The acclaimed writer of several American classics, Zora Neale Hurston wrote this stirring folktale brimming with poetic prose, culture, and history. It was first published as a short story in The Spokesman in 1925. Tenderly retold, Magnolia Flower is a story of a transformative and radical devotion between generations of Indigenous and Black people in America. 

Elementary and Middle Grade Non-Fiction

Cover of African Icons: Ten People

Full-color portraits illustrate the stories of ten people-rulers, educators, inventors, scholars, and explorers-who helped shape the African continent and the world from ancient times through the tumultuous sixteenth century.

Cover of Stamped (for Kids): Racism
Jason Reynolds, Ibram X. Kendi
adapted by Sonja Cherry-Paul
Rachelle Baker

Adapted from the award-winning, bestselling Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, this book takes readers on a journey from present to past and back again. Kids will discover where racist ideas came from, identify how they impact America today, and meet those who have fought racism with antiracism. Along the way, they'll learn how to identify and stamp out racist thoughts in their own lives.

Cover of  Seeking Freedom: The Unto
E.B. Lewis

In this dramatic Civil War story, a courageous enslaved fugitive teams with a cunning Union general to save a Union fort from the Confederates--and triggers the end of slavery in the United States.

Cover of Evicted!: The Struggle for
Alice Faye
Charly Palmer

This book examines the little-known Tennessee's Fayette County Tent City Movement in the late 1950s and reveals what is possible when people unite and fight for the right to vote. Powerfully conveyed through interconnected stories and told through the eyes of a child, this book combines poetry, prose, and stunning illustrations to shine light on this forgotten history.

Cover of Speak Up, Speak Out!: The

A biography of Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman elected to the House of Representatives and the first Black woman to run for president with a major political party.

Chapter Book Fiction

Cover of Being Clem

When nine-year-old Clem's father dies in the Port Chicago Disaster he is forced to navigate his family's losses and struggles in 1940's Chicago.

Cover of Mighty Inside
Sundee T.

This powerful novel weaves strong characters into the tapestry of civil rights, treatment of people with disabilities, fallout fear from the war, and ever-changing cultural shifts that defined the 1950s. -School Library Journal

Cover of Recognize!: An Anthology H
Wade Hudson and
Cheryl Willis Hudson

Award-winning Black authors and artists come together to create a moving anthology collection celebrating Black love, Black creativity, Black resistance, and Black life.

Cover of When Winter Robeson Came

In August 1965, twelve-year-old Eden's older cousin from Mississippi comes to visit her in Los Angeles, and while the Watts Riots erupt around them, they continue their investigation of the disappearance of Winter's father ten years ago.

Cover of The Door of No Return

This is a novel in verse about an Asante boy who is captured and taken from his village during the nineteenth century.

Cover of The Lucky Ones
Williams Jackson

It's 1967, and eleven-year-old Ellis Earl Brown has big dreams. He's going to grow up to be a teacher or a lawyer--or maybe both--and live in a big brick house in town. There'll always be enough food in the icebox, and his mama won't have to run herself ragged looking for work as a maid in order to support Ellis Earl and his eight siblings and niece, Vera. Linda Williams Jackson pulls from her own childhood in the Mississippi Delta to tell a detail-rich and poignant story with memorable characters, sure to resonate with readers who have ever felt constricted by their circumstances.

Teen/YA Non-Fiction

Cover of And We Rise

Erica Martin's debut poetry collection walks readers through the Civil Rights Movement--from the well-documented events that shaped the nation's treatment of Black people, beginning with the Separate but Equal ruling--and introduces lesser-known figures and moments that were just as crucial to the Movement and our nation's centuries-long fight for justice and equality.

Cover of Walking Gentry Home: A Mem

Walking Gentry Home tells the story of Alora Young's ancestors. The lives of these girls and women come together to form a unique American epic in verse, one that speaks of generational curses, coming of age, homes and small towns, fleeting loves and lasting consequences, and the brutal and ever-present legacy of slavery in our nation's psyche. 

Cover of Overground Railroad (the Y

Overground Railroad chronicles the history of the Green Book, which was published from 1936 to 1966 and was the "Black travel guide to America." For years, it was dangerous for African Americans to travel in the United States. This young reader's edition includes her own photographs of Green Book sites, as well as archival photographs and interviews with people who owned and used these facilities.

Cover of The Beautiful Struggle (Ad

Coates details with candor the challenges of dealing with his tough-love father, the influence of his mother, and the dynamics of his extended family, including his brother Big Bill, who was on a very different path than Ta-Nehisi. Coates also tells of his struggles at school and with girls, making this a timely story to which many readers will relate.

Cover of Defiant: Growing Up in the

The memoir of Wade Hudson, a Black man and Civil Rights activist who came of age in the 1960s at the height of the Civil Rights Movement.

Cover of Revolution in Our Time: Th

Kekla Magoon introduces readers to the Panthers' community activism, grounded in the concept of self-defense, which taught Black Americans how to protect and support themselves in a country that treated them like second-class citizens. For too long the Panthers' story has been a footnote to the civil rights movement rather than what it was: a revolutionary socialist movement that drew thousands of members--mostly women--and became the target of one of the most sustained repression efforts ever made by the U.S. government against its own citizens.

Cover of The Book of Awesome Black
Monique L.

We are familiar with a handful of African Americans who are mentioned in American history books, but there are also countless others who do not get recognized in mainstream media. Their biographies vary greatly, but each one contributes to the course of Black history and its influence on America and the greater world.This is more than a Black history book. It's a celebration of Black people.

Teen/YA Fiction

Cover of We Deserve Monuments

When seventeen-year-old Avery moves to rural Georgia to live with her ailing grandmother, she encounters decades-old family secrets and a mystery surrounding the town's racist past.

Cover of I Rise

A heartbreaking and powerful novel about racism and social justice as fourteen-year-old Ayo has to decide whether to take on her mother's activist role when her mom is shot by police. As she tries to find answers, Ayo looks to the wisdom of her ancestors and her Harlem community for guidance.

Cover of African Town
Charles Water and
Irene Latham

This chronicles the story of the last Africans brought illegally to America in 1860 in a powerful novel-in-verse told in 14 distinct voices.

Cover of Angel of Greenwood

Though they've attended the same schools, Isaiah never noticed Angel.. Then their English teacher offers them a job on her mobile library, a three-wheel, two-seater bike. Angel can't turn down the money and Isaiah is soon eager to be in close quarters with Angel every afternoon. But life changes on May 31,1921, when a vicious white mob storms the Black community of Greenwood, leaving the town destroyed and thousands of residents displaced. 

Cover of The Awakening of Malcolm X
Ilyasah Shabazz and
Tiffany D. Jackson

A powerful fictionalized account of Malcolm X's adolescent years in jail, written by his daughter along with 2019 Coretta Scott King - John Steptoe award-winning author.

Cover of Black Was the Ink
Justin Johnson

Through the help of a ghostly ancestor, sixteen-year-old Malcolm is sent on a journey through Reconstruction-era America to find his place in modern-day Black progress.

Cover of So Many Beginnings: A Litt
Bethany C.

Four young Black sisters come of age during the American Civil War in this warm and powerful YA retelling of the classic novel Little Women.

Cover of The Black Kids
Hammonds Reed

With the Rodney King riots closing in on high school senior Ashley and her family, the privileged bubble she has enjoyed, protecting her from the difficult realities most black people face, begins to crumble.