Teaching Black History with Children's Books

Books are a simple way to teach children about different aspects of history including African-American history.  We've used trade books to learn about past events such as Emancipation and traditions such as jumping the broom in African-American marriages.  Trade books can help teach history especially if your own knowledge of history isn't strong.   There are many books to choose from in both arenas of nonfiction and fiction.   Since my daughters were really young, we have included a variety of books that focus on the Black experience in America.  Choosing the right book doesn't have to depend on your child's reading ability since you can read whatever book you choose to share aloud to him. 

One of the first books we read was Uncle Jed's Barbershop which tells the story of an African-American man who sacrifices his dream for a loved one and his entrepreneurial path then we followed it up with Jacqueline Woodson's The Other Side which tells the story of two girls in a segregated town.  These stories allowed me to introduce my children to aspects of society that they were unfamiliar in a gentle yet truthful way. 

Have you considered using books to introduce your children to Black history?

African American picture and chapter books

20 African-American Books You Should Have on Your Bookshelf

Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African-Americans by Kadir Nelson

Many Thousand Gone: African Americans from Slavery to Freedom by Virginia Hamilton

Stella by Starlight by Sharon Draper

Stella by Starlight
By Sharon M. Draper

The Watsons Go to Birmingham, 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis

The Watsons Go to Birmingham--1963
By Christopher Paul Curtis

The People Could Fly by Virginia Hamilton

Scraps of Time:  Abby Takes a Stand by Patricia McKissack (I created a comprehension guide for this book.  Click to check it out.)

One Hundred and One African American Read Aloud Stories by Susan Kantor

Women in Black History by Tricia Williams Jackson

Who Was Frederick Douglass? by April Jones Prince

Who Was Frederick Douglass?
By April Jones Prince

Chasing Freedom by Nikki Grimes

Little Rock Girl 1957 by Shelley Tougas

Amos Fortune, Free Man by Elizabeth Yates

Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis

Elijah of Buxton
By Christopher Paul Curtis

Now Is Your Time!:  The African American Struggle for Freedom by Walter Dean Myers

I Have A Dream Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  illustrated by Kadir Nelson

I Have a Dream (Book & CD)
By Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Rosa by Nikki Giovanni

Rosa
By Nikki Giovanni

Our Children Can Soar by Michelle Cook

Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
By Mildred D. Taylor

Ellen's Broom by Kelly Starling Lyons

Linda Brown, You Are Not Alone:  Brown v. Board of Education Decision edited by Joyce Carol Thomas

Gordon Parks:  How the Photographer Captured Black and White America by Carole Boston Weatherford

This list of African-American historical fiction and nonfiction books offers a variety selections.  The list includes picture books, chapter books, and anthologies that will enhance any home library. 

What are your favorite children's books that speak to the African-American experience?  Share them in the comments.

*I will receive a percentage of the sale for any books purchased through the Amazon links to help support this site.  This isn't an additional cost to you. :)