It’s Black History and we’re celebrating by putting out our annual list.
Children’s books, in particular, are very essential in shaping young readers. They can inspire and educate, and during important historical holidays there can be many great choices for reading material. This year in particular, there were many really great inspirational books involving messages of love, freedom, heroism and community. Below we have collected some of our favorite recently published children’s books in appreciation for Black History Month:
This book was inspired by Ziggy Marley’s conversation with his 3-year-old daughter. It’s a lyric styled book that is a really fun read for kids. Its messages of universal love and appreciation really preach a togetherness that is great for parents and children to enjoy together.
- Marvelous Cornelius: Hurricane Katrina and the Spirit of New Orleans by Phil Bildner (Author), John Parra (Illustrator)
This book is a story about a hero who helped make a difference during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. A humble garbage man before the storm who had always been loved by the community by the end of the story transforms into a true hero of the community. This is a great read filled with inspiration and community love that really highlights the spirit of New Orleans.
Last Stop on Market Street has won several awards. The story focuses on a grandmother and grandchild who take the bus home every Sunday after work. CJ, the main character, notices how his lifestyle is less priveleged and glamorous than his friends. When he asks his grandmother about this, she turns the negatives to positives, and helps him see the beauty in his own world. This is a story about hope and love for your family. The book is praised for its beautiful writing and illustrations by Matt De La Peña. It’s also a really great book for grandparents to read and bond with their children.
Winner of the 2016 Newbery Medal
A 2016 Caldecott Honor Book
A 2016 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book
A New York Times Book Review Notable Children’s Book of 2015
A Wall Street Journal Best Children’s Book of 2015
- The Girl Who Buried Her Dreams in a Can by Tererai Trent (Author), Jan Spivey Gilchrist (Illustrator)
This is an inspirational autobiography about a little girl with big dreams. In the story, all the girl wants is an education, but in Rhodesia education for girls was almost impossible. Her strength and determination helped her teach herself to read and write. When she became older she wrote her dreams on a piece of paper and put it into a can, an ancient ritual that kept her from giving up on her dreams. She dreamed of getting a degree and bringing education to all of the people of her village. The book is an inspiring one, and its beautiful watercolors mixed with its stress on the importance of education are great to inspire all young readers. It is also a picture book from Oprah Winfrey’s “All-Time Favorite Guest.”
A beautiful recitation of the “I Have a Dream” speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. The goregous illustrations by Caldecott Winner Kadir Nelson, along with the inspiring words of King himself, brings a inspiring message of freedom, equality, and peace to all readers, young and old. Its is also a great book to give us an important introduction to our nation’s past.
Music loves will love this book. Music is an important part of history and this book introduces us to one of America’s early Jazz heroes, Jelly Roll Morton. Published by Neal Porter Books, and written by noted picture book biographer Jonah Winter, this book is another great read.
- 28 Days: Moments in Black History that Changed the World by Charles R. Smith (Author), Shane W. Evans (Illustrator)
This nonfiction chapter book goes through the 28 days of February, highlighting a different influential figure in African American history for each day. From Crispus Attucks, the first man shot in the Boston Massacre, to President Barack Obama, this book highlights important African American heroes in the history of this country. This is another really inspirational book that highlights important African American heroes who every reader should know about.