8 Must-Read Children’s Books for Black History Month

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8 Must-Read Children’s Books for Black History Month

February 04, 2021
posted by Lisa Cockrell

In February of 1926, American historian Dr. Carter G. Woodson announced the first Negro History Week because he wanted to help teach young African Americans more about their own heritage and the accomplishments of their ancestors. Negro History Week eventually developed into a month-long event of what we now know as, Black History Month, an annual appreciation and recognition of African Americans and their central and important role in U.S. history.


Radio Flyer wants to help you and your family celebrate Black History Month. In collaboration with Radio Flyer’s Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging Committee, we’ve compiled a list of 8 children’s books to read with your little ones that celebrate and educate on Black history. These books are perfect to rotate into your reading lineup this month and year-round.


1. Ordinary People Change the World book series by Brad Meltzer

Meltzer’s series seeks to help kids learn about historic heroes in a conversational way that is both digestible & educational for even the youngest non-fiction readers. Some of his notable books to check out during Black History Month include I am Rosa Parks, I am Martin Luther King Jr., I am Jackie Robinson, and I am Harriet Tubman. Recommended Age: Kindergarten – 3rd Grade.


2. The ABCs of Black History by Rio Cortez

Newly released in December of 2020, this kids picture book takes the littlest readers on a journey through Black history and culture letter by letter. Recommended Age: Kindergarten – 4th Grade.


3. Henry’s Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad  by Ellen Lavine

A heart-pounding story of bravery and courage during the Civil War Era where a slave mails himself to the North for his freedom. Recommended Age: Pre-K – 3rd Grade.


4. Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly and Winifred Conkling

Little readers can learn more about Christine Darden, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Dorothy Vaughan, pivotal contributors to some of NASA’s greatest successes in the 1960s, in this beautifully illustrated picture book based on the New York Times best seller and Academy Award nominated film of the same name. Recommended Age: Pre-K – 3rd Grade.


5. The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles

A powerfully written and beautifully illustrated portrayal of Ruby Bridges’ story of courage, strength, and hope when she became the first African-American child to desegregate William Frantz Elementary School in 1960. This book opens the door to have honest conversations about racism and prejudice with your kids. Recommended Age: Pre-K – 3rd Grade.


6. The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

Published in 1962, this enchanting story captures the feeling of awe and wonder at the main character Peter’s first snowfall. The Snowy Day was the first children’s picture book featuring an African American protagonist to win a major book award, breaking the color barrier in mainstream publishing. Recommended Age: Pre-K – Kindergarten.


7. White Water by Michael S. Brandy & Eric Stein

Based on a childhood experience of author Michael S. Brandy, this inspirational story provides a powerful introduction to for little readers to the American Civil Rights Movement. Recommended Age: Kindergarten – 3rd Grade.


8. Ron’s Big Mission by Rose Blue & Corinne Naden

Based on the life of astronaut and physicist Ron McNair, this book tells a fictionalized version of a young 9-year-old Ron and his first courageous mission of getting his own library card in the segregated world of South Carolina in the 1950s. Recommended Age: 1st Grade - 3rd Grade.


These are just a few of the many books out there to introduce important topics and conversations with your little ones during Black History Month. Fill up your little red wagon to create a library with these stories, and let us know which ones your family is loving by tagging us at @RadioFlyerInc or using #RadioFlyer on social media.