By Megan Feighery
Celebrate Black History Month with your kids by exploring one of these books about African American history. From picture books about the Underground Railroad to stories about forgotten inventors written by a former NBA superstar, there’s something for everyone on this list- and parents might learn a thing or two themselves.
Aunt Harriet’s Underground Railroad in the Sky
By Faith Ringgold. Illustrated by Faith Ringgold.
History meets fantasy as siblings Cassie and Be Be fly through the sky with Harriet Tubman who shows them what African-Americans had to endure under slavery and how they fought and risked their lives to try and gain their freedom. This colorfully illustrated book is a perfect introduction for young readers into the history of slavery and the Underground Railroad.
This Jazz Man
By Karen Ehrhardt. Illustrated by R.G. Roth.
Jazz comes to life in this toe-tapping picture book set to the tune of the classic children’s song “This Old Man.” Colorful and lively illustrations will introduce youngsters to the African American giants of jazz including Charlie Parker, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Bill “Bojangles” and more.
By Deborah Wiles. Illustrated by Jerome Lagarrigue.
This book follows Joe and John Henry- two boys who are a lot alike except for their skin color. They live in the South during the summer of 1964, after the Civil Rights Act was passed, officially banning segregation but the boys are about to discover it will take a lot more than a law to change peoples hearts.
War Comes to Willy Freeman
By James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
Willy Freeman’s life is forever altered after she witnesses her fathers death and her mother is taken prisoner by the Redcoats during the Revolutionary War. Willy takes fate into her own hands and disguises herself as a boy as she makes her way to New York City to try and find her mother. Suspenseful, historical and engaging, this book will have older readers on the edge of their seat.
What Color Is My World?: The Lost History of African-American Inventors
By Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Raymond Obstfeld. Illustrated by Ben Boos and A.G. Ford.
Former basketball star turned author, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, brings the forgotten history of black inventors to life in this fun filled book that kids and parents will love. Learn about the inventor of the ice cream scoop, open-heart surgery, the Super Soaker and so much more.
Hidden Figures (Young Readers’ Edition)
By Margot Lee Shetterly
This young reader’s edition of Margot Lee Shetterly’s acclaimed book (now a major motion picture) tells the powerful true story of four African-American female mathematicians working at NASA during the 1950s. Powerful and uplifting, this is a book that will be cherished and loved for many years.