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The Best Children’s Books to Celebrate Black History Month

by Samantha McIntyre


The Best Children’s Books to Celebrate Black History Month
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February marks Black History Month, and there is no better way to celebrate than with empowering books from children’s authors who have written motivating stories to teach tolerance and educate young kids about historical figures, self-love and acceptance. We’ve rounded up the best books to celebrate Black history and spark contemporary conversations to hold with kids about a rich African American culture and experience. 

 

1 of 11 Image Credits: Amazon

Sulwe by Lupita Nyong'o

Price:$16.00See Reviews

There are many shades of beauty, though for the central character of this lovely story Sulwe by Lupita Nyong'o, feeling beautiful comes from discovering self-confidence and acceptance. Sulwe describes herself as being "born the color of midnight" and struggles to accept her skin tone. "Why do I look like midnight when my mother looks like dawn? Please make me fair as the parents I'm from." she prays. "If you hear me, my Lord, and would like to comply, may I wake up as bright as the sun in the sky." Throughout this beautifully illustrated book, Sulwe discovers the light she holds within and realizes that her beauty does, in fact, shine inside and out.

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Little People, BIG DREAMS Maya Angelou by Lisbeth Kaiser

Price:$8.00See Reviews

This autobiographical children's book Little People, BIG DREAMS Maya Angelou by Lisbeth Kaiser recounts the life story of the celebrated author, poet, actress, screenwriter, dancer and civil rights activist. Growing up in the South, Angelou faced challenges early on enduring cruel discrimination due to the color of her skin. After suffering an attack at the hands of her mother's boyfriend, Maya stopped speaking for five years. During this time, she discovered a love of books and a determination that fueled her belief that there was nothing she couldn't do. Maya Angelou's story of hope inspires kids to overcome obstacles and continue to believe in themselves.

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I Am Enough by Grace Byers

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This New York Times bestseller I Am Enough by actor and activist Grace Byers teaches little girls that they not only have a purpose, but we are all unique with different backgrounds and points of view. "I know that we don’t look the same: our skin, our eyes, our hair, our frame. But that does not dictate our worth; we both have places here on earth." This children's book teaches a valuable lesson of self-worth.

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Little Legends Exceptional Men in Black History by Vashti Harrison

Price:$12.00See Reviews

The New York Times best-selling author Vashti Harrison highlights the incredible biographies of inspirational black men in Little Legends Exceptional Men in Black History. This exceptional children's board book is a narration of the lives of activist, author and playwright James Baldwin, congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis, award-winning, civil rights photographer Gordon Parks, President Barack Obama, singing superstar Prince, famed dancer Alvin Ailey, tennis legend Arthur Ashe, artist Aaron Douglas and author and film director Oscar Micheaux. An incredible book to teach young dreamers the history of these amazing trailblazers.

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Happy Hair by Mechal Renee Roe

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There is so much to love about the crowned glory of hairstyles celebrated in Happy Hair by Mechal Renee Roe. Each beautiful style represents a feeling of self-love to encourage young girls to honor their differences and embrace that "fab fro," "cool curls," "cute crop," "primped pressed" and "bomb braids." This book marks each individual hair expression as a unique celebration of personal perfection and practice of self-confidence and self-esteem. Your girl will love getting tressed to impress!

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Say No to the N-Word by Dr. Lesley Stephens Hanes and Maia Imani Hanes

Price:$15.00See Reviews

Words carry a great deal of weight, and Say No to the N-Word teaches young readers to understand how hurtful this racial slur is to all African Americans. This exceptional, educational story shares why this word is absolutely unacceptable in today's society. The beautifully illustrated children's book, authored by Dr. Lesley Stephens Hanes and her daughter Maia Imani Hanes teaches young children to be respectful and intolerant of such a historically hateful expression. An excellent resource for parents and educators.

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Black Is a Rainbow Color by Angela Joy

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We live in a colorful world, and Black Is a Rainbow Color by Angela Joy teaches children that the beauty of the African American culture and history is not only extraordinary but something worth celebrating. Stunning illustrations in the book express just how beautiful it is to be black.

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The Oldest Student by Rita Lorraine Hubbard

Price:$14.00See Reviews

The inspiring story of Mary Walker proves that it's never too late to learn something new. The Oldest Student by Rita Lorraine Hubbard is an incredibly motivating narrative of Walker's life experience of being born into slavery, living through the Civil War and emancipation, working hard to raise and support a family and finally, learning to read and write at the age of 116! This beautiful picture book teaches a valuable lesson in determination and striving to achieve any goal, no matter how old you might be.

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Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry

Price:$11.00See Reviews

Celebrate the beautiful bond between father and daughter in the story of Hair Love, written by former NFL player Matthew A. Cherry. This magnificent children's book details how dad does his best to comb through the difficult challenge of styling his little girl's hair like a champ. This sweet story eliminates the kinks in understanding the beauty of natural hair. A moving tale, Cherry's Hair Love has recently received an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Short Film. Obviously, we can't think of a better twist!

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When Marian Sang: The True Recital of Marian Anderson by Pam Muñoz Ryan

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Marian Anderson had a beautiful gift in her singing voice, and children will learn all about what it means to chase an impossible dream reading When Marian Sang: The True Recital of Marian Anderson by Pam Muñoz Ryan. Anderson was the first African American singer to perform at the White House. Marian performed for presidents, kings and queens. Her talent took her all around the globe, and in 1955 she became the first African American singer to perform with the famed Metropolitan Opera in New York. This inspiring story speaks volumes to kids about rising to their highest potential despite the obstacles along the way. Let this uplifting book be a reminder to hit the right note and reach for the stars!

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Just Like a Mama by Alice Faye Duncan

Price:$13.00See Reviews

Every child wants someone to step in, like a mama to teach valuable lessons and to love them unconditionally. Just Like a Mama by Alice Faye Duncan illustrates the beautiful story of Mama Rose and her little love bug, Carol Olivia Clementine. This sweet picture book is a beautiful model for youngsters learning to do what's right by minding their manners and behaving their best while being cared for with loads of love and kisses.