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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 Game Changer: John McLendo
Randy Duburke

In 1944, Coach John McLendon orchestrated a secret basketball game between the best players from a white college and his team from a black college. At a time of widespread segregation and rampant racism, this illegal gathering changed basketball forever.

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.

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 It’s Trevor Noah: Born a

The comedian traces his coming of age during the twilight of apartheid in South Africa and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed, offering insight into the farcical aspects of the political and social systems of today's world.

Cover of Never Caught, the Story of
Erica Armstrong Dunbar and
Kathleen Van Cleve

Born into a life of slavery, Ona Judge eventually grew up to be George and Martha Washington's "favored" dower slave. When she was told that she was going to be given as a wedding gift to Martha Washington's granddaughter, Ona made the bold and brave decision to flee to the north, where she would be a fugitive. Dunbar and Van Cleve share an intimate glimpse into the life of a little-known, but powerful figure in history, and her brave journey as she fled the most powerful couple in the country.

Cover of This Is Your Time

Civil rights activist Ruby Bridges, who at the age of six, was the first African American to integrate an all-white elementary school in New Orleans--shares her story through text and historical photographs, offering a powerful call to action.

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.

Chapter Book Fiction

Cover of Becoming Muhammad Ali
James Patterson and
Kwame Mbali
Dawud Anyabwile

This depicts Muhammad Ali’s life up to age seventeen in both prose and verse, including his childhood friends, struggles in school, the racism he faced, and his discovery of boxing.

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 The Only Black Girls in To

In a predominately white California beach town, the only two black seventh-graders, Alberta and Edie, find hidden journals that uncover family secrets and speak to race relations in the past.

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.

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 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 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.

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.

Teen/YA Fiction

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 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.

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 A Sitting in St. James

In 1860 Louisiana, eighty-year-old Madame Sylvie decides to sit for a portrait, as horrific stories that span generations from the big house and the fields are revealed.