February is Black History Month, and if you’re like me, you automatically think of Martin Luther King Jr, Malcolm X, Civil Rights Movements and the progress for change that has followed. The library is a great place to find children’s books about Civil Rights activists and African American leaders. I usually check out the Brad Meltzer series: I am Martin Luther King Jr, I am Harriet Tubman, I am Rosa Parks, and I am Jackie Robinson. Along with these books, I like to check out Lilian’s Right to Vote (by Jonah Winter) and The Youngest Marcher (by Cynthia Levinson). These books are great to start off the month.
But, in my opinion, they aren’t enough. Like any other gender or race, I think it’s important for children to be able to see themselves in any profession or way of life. I want children to have African American heroes from every walk of life. After all, you can never have too many heroes of color. So, without further ado, here are a few children’s books to add to your list!
Non-Traditional Children’s Books for Black History Month
Between the Lines: How Ernie Barnes went from Football Field to the Art Gallery by Sandra Wallace
Ernie Barnes was a notable football player who happened to have a passion for art. His passion for art would superseed his football career and take off at a rapid rate. Barnes would go on to create works of art for the Olympics, television shows, album covers and much more.
Life Doesn’t Frighten Me by Maya Angelou, illustrated by Jean-Michel Basquiat
This book by Maya Angelou, alongside famed artist Jean-Michel Basquit, is a masterpiece. The two rose to fame and continue to be relevant in today’s culture. Angelou’s words resonate with young girls, but have a message for us all: “life doesn’t frighten me at all.”
Radiant Child: the Story of Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe
Jean-Michel Basquiat was considered a “trouble child.” What I love most about this book is that the reader can understand that children are not all the same. Some children thrive in academia while others have much more success when a creative outlet is present. Basquiat’s mother had a wonderful impact on him and his artwork, even though she suffered from mental illness. Art was their happiness, their safe place.
Ada Twist Scientist by Andrea Beaty
Even though Ada Twist is a fictional character, I believe it’s important for young girls to be able to see themselves in STEM. Heads up, this book will bring lots of laughs.
Hidden Figures: the True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly
Speaking of girls interested in STEM, this book is a must read. Do I really have to explain this one?
Do you have another book to add to our list? Comment below!
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