21 Books for Black History Month

Carter G. Woodson—educator, historian, writer, and the “Father of Black History”—established Negro History Week in 1926. He believed that celebrating the achievements of Black Americans and others in the African diaspora would instill racial pride in Black people, especially our children. Carter, who holds the distinction as the second African-American that received a doctorate from Harvard University, chose February for Negro History Week because of his admiration for Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. He strove relentlessly with scholars, schools, organizations, and the community to focus on remembering the history and accomplishments of Black people and their contributions to the country.

During the 1960s, Black History observances and events continued past the specified week and lasted throughout February. In 1976, the United States officially began recognizing February as Black History Month. The beginning of Black History Month is only a few days away, so parents, educators, community leaders: Carter G. Woodson’s vision remain as pertinent now as it was in 1926. We’re featuring a list of great books for all ages. Go here for more history books. Our stories matter.

“If a race has no history, if it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated.”—Carter G. Woodson

African Beginnings – James Haskins & Kathleen Benson, Illustrations – Floyd Copper 

Kings and Queens of West Africa – Sylviane A. Diouf

Ira’s Shakespeare Dream – Glenda Armand, Illustrations – Floyd Cooper 

Ticktock Banneker’s Clock – Shana Keller, Illustrations – David Gardner 

Before There Was Mozart: The Story of Joseph Boulogne, Chevalier de Saint-George – Lesa Cline-Ransome, Illustrations – James E. Ransome

Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton – Don Tate 

Tiny Stitches: The Life of Medical Pioneer Vivien Thomas – Gwendolyn Hooks, Illustrations – Colin Bootman 

Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: The Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement – Carole Boston Weatherfiord, Illustrations – Ekua Holmes

Strange Fruit, Volume I: Uncelebrated Narratives from Black History – Joel Christian Gill 

Extraordinary People of the Harlem Renaissance – P. Stephen Hardy & Sheila Jackson Hardy 

Pathfinders: The Journeys of 16 Extraordinary Black Souls – Tonya Bolden 

The Harlem Hellfighters: When Pride Met Courage – Walter Dean Myers & Bill Miles 

What Color Is My World?: The Lost History of African-American Inventors – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar & Raymond Obstfeld, Illustrations – Ben Boos & A.G. Ford 

Harriet Tubman: Conductor on the Underground Railroad – Ann Petry 

Rebels Against Slavery: American Slave Revolts – Patricia & Fredrick McKissack 

Pennies to Dollars: The Story of Maggie Lena Walker – Muriel Miller Branch & Dorothy Marie Rice 

Wake Up Our Souls: A Celebration of Black American Artists – Tonya Bolden 

Extraordinary People Of The Civil Rights Movement – Sheila Jackson Hardy & P. Stephen Hardy 

Hidden Figures Young Readers’ Edition – Margot Lee Shetterly 

Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina Young Readers Edition – Misty Copeland 

Courage to Soar: A Body in Motion, A Life in Balance – Simone Biles w/Michelle Burford 




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