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Black History Month: 100+ Books for School Aged Kids {And 10 in My Family Bookshelf}

Black History Month

It’s Black History Month and a lot of parents are looking for recommendations on what book to introduce to their family.

I searched the Internet and discovered a few awesome curated lists to share.

I would like you to check out the 55 elementary school level books curated by Life With Tanay because she broke down her list for age appropriateness. {Visit Her Blog}

Today Parent also curated a wonderful collection of 28 books which may overlap with Life With Tanay’s but is still worth the review. {Visit Today Parent}

Add the 15 books curated by Family Education {Visit Family Education}

I equally enjoyed reading through the collection of 10 books put together by Teacher Vision. {Visit Teacher Vision}

The website and blog Hide the Chocolate also assembled a list of 11 books to consider { Visit Hide the Chocolate }

Curiously, the books on these list do not include my own collection that I assembled for my brood of teens still living with me (my 18 year old is off to college).

While the last two books on this list are not part of Black history, per se, they are connected to my family as a Sierra Leonean native and given that a lot of black Americans have ancestral roots in Sierra Leone, I decided to add them here as well.

Shades of Black

By Sandra L. Pinkney

Recommended ages: 5 and up

I am Black / I am Unique / I am the creamy white frost in vanilla ice cream / and the milky smooth brown in a chocolate bar…Using simple poetic language and stunning photographs, Sandra and Myles Pinkney have created a remarkable book of affirmation for African-American children. Photographic portraits and striking descriptions of varied skin tones, hair texture, and eye color convey a strong sense of pride in a unique heritage. A joyous celebration of the rich diversity among African-Americans.

The Harlem Hellfighters

By Max Brooks

Recommended ages: 8 and up

n 1919, the 369th infantry regiment marched home triumphantly from World War I. They had spent more time in combat than any other American unit, never losing a foot of ground to the enemy, or a man to capture, and winning countless decorations. Though they returned as heroes, this African American unit faced tremendous discrimination, even from their own government. The Harlem Hellfighters, as the Germans called them, fought courageously on—and off—the battlefield to make Europe, and America, safe for democracy.  

In THE HARLEM HELLFIGHTERS, bestselling author Max Brooks and acclaimed illustrator Caanan White bring this history to life. From the enlistment lines in Harlem to the training camp at Spartanburg, South Carolina, to the trenches in France, they tell the heroic story of the 369th in an action-packed and powerful tale of honor and heart.

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All American Boys

By Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

Recommended ages: 15 and up

There were witnesses: Quinn Collins—a varsity basketball player and Rashad’s classmate who has been raised by Paul since his own father died in Afghanistan—and a video camera. Soon the beating is all over the news and Paul is getting threatened with accusations of prejudice and racial brutality. Quinn refuses to believe that the man who has basically been his savior could possibly be guilty. But then Rashad is absent. And absent again. And again. And the basketball team—half of whom are Rashad’s best friends—start to take sides. As does the school. And the town. Simmering tensions threaten to explode as Rashad and Quinn are forced to face decisions and consequences they had never considered before.

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Shuri

By Nic Stone

Recommended ages: 9 and up

An original, upper-middle-grade series starring the break-out character from the Black Panther comics and films: T’Challa’s younger sister, Shuri! Crafted by New York Times bestselling author Nic Stone. Shuri is a skilled martial artist, a genius, and a master of science and technology. But, she’s also a teenager. And a princess. This story follows Shuri as she sets out on a quest to save her homeland of Wakanda.

For centuries, the Chieftain of Wakanda (the Black Panther) has gained his powers through the juices of the Heart-Shaped Herb. Much like Vibranium, the Heart-Shaped Herb is essential to the survival and prosperity of Wakanda. But something is wrong. The plants are dying. No matter what the people of Wakanda do, they can’t save them. And their supply is running short. It’s up to Shuri to travel from Wakanda in order to discover what is killing the Herb, and how she can save it, in the first volume of this all-new, original adventure.

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Shuri: Book 2

Rebound

By Kwame Alexander

Recommended ages: 10 and up

From the New York Times bestselling author Kwame Alexander comes Rebound, a dynamic novel in verse and companion to his Newbery Award-winner, The Crossover, illustrated with striking graphic novel panels.

Before Josh and Jordan Bell were streaking up and down the court, their father was learning his own moves. In this prequel to Newbery Medal winner The Crossover, Chuck Bell takes center stage, as readers get a glimpse of his childhood and how he became the jazz music worshiping, basketball star his sons look up to.   

A novel in verse with all the impact and rhythm readers have come to expect from Kwame Alexander, Rebound will go back in time to visit the childhood of Chuck “Da Man” Bell during one pivotal summer when young Charlie is sent to stay with his grandparents where he discovers basketball and learns more about his family’s past.  

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Reach for the Skai: How to Inspire, Empower, and Clapback

By Skai Jackson

Recommended ages: 10 and up

Actress and activist Skai Jackson is a star! Her rise to fame started on the popular Disney Channel shows Bunk’d and Jessie. Her cool sense of style led her to create her own fashion line. And her success has made her a major influencer, with millions of followers on Instagram, who isn’t afraid to stand up for what she believes in.

But being a teen celebrity isn’t always glamorous. For the first time, Skai discusses the negative experiences that sometimes come with living in the spotlight–the insecurities about her appearance, the challenges of separating her real personality from her TV roles, and the bullying she’s faced both personally and professionally. She knows firsthand the struggles tweens and teens face today, and she has found her calling as an antibullying activist, known as the queen of the classy clapback.

Skai is a positive force and a role model for inspiring change and embracing differences in others. Her story will encourage girls and boys alike to believe in themselves and to have the courage to reach for the sky and follow their dreams.

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March

By John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell

Recommended ages: 13 and up

Congressman John Lewis (GA-5) is an American icon, one of the key figures of the civil rights movement. His commitment to justice and nonviolence has taken him from an Alabama sharecropper’s farm to the halls of Congress, from a segregated schoolroom to the 1963 March on Washington, and from receiving beatings from state troopers to receiving the Medal of Freedom from the first African-American president.

Now, to share his remarkable story with new generations, Lewis presents March, a graphic novel trilogy, in collaboration with co-writer Andrew Aydin and New York Times best-selling artist Nate Powell (winner of the Eisner Award and LA Times Book Prize finalist for Swallow Me Whole).

March is a vivid first-hand account of John Lewis’ lifelong struggle for civil and human rights, meditating in the modern age on the distance traveled since the days of Jim Crow and segregation. Rooted in Lewis’ personal story, it also reflects on the highs and lows of the broader civil rights movement.

Book One spans John Lewis’ youth in rural Alabama, his life-changing meeting with Martin Luther King, Jr., the birth of the Nashville Student Movement, and their battle to tear down segregation through nonviolent lunch counter sit-ins, building to a stunning climax on the steps of City Hall.

Many years ago, John Lewis and other student activists drew inspiration from the 1958 comic book “Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story.” Now, his own comics bring those days to life for a new audience, testifying to a movement whose echoes will be heard for generations.

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And March: Book 2

Sunne’s Gift: How Sunne Overcame Bullying to Reclaim God’s Gift

By Ama Karikari Yawson

Recommended ages: 13 and up

Sunne is a magical being or “magbee”. God imbues Sunne with the power of the sun. Sunne’s straight-haired siblings, Earth, Watre, and Winde have unique powers of their own. When Sunne is teased and bullied by siblings because of Sunne’s natural, kinky, curly, “nappy” and spirally afro-textured hair, Sunne desperately tries to change. Join Sunne as Sunne learns that there is beauty and power in difference. Sunne’s Gift’s message of self-love and bullying prevention, coupled with its sci-fi imagery, make it hit with people of all ages. The book contains Forest Stewardship Council Certified Paper.

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And March: Book 2

20 Icons of Sierra Leone: Who Shaped History

By Akindele Decker  

Recommended ages: 13 and up

Our primary goal for the Sierra Leone Icon series is to increase awareness about people who helped shape the history of Sierra Leone and around the world. We have done our best to balance facts, the emotions and the illustrations to deliver a book that will inspire a wide range of young adults about Sierra Leone.

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And March: Book 2

Adama Loves Akara

By Vickie Remoe

Recommended ages: 9 and up

Jumpstart early reading success with this lovable storybook that celebrates African culture, and father-daughter relationships. Meet Adama and Adamu a Sierra Leonean daughter and father duo who enjoy playing, learning games, and eating their favorite snack. Adama loves Akara is part of an early reader series that celebrates African culture while helping children ages 3-5 learn short letter vowel sounds. Each page has simple short vowel a sounds to help children learn to read with ease and confidence.

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