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?
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
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
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
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
Rosa by Nikki Giovanni
Our Children Can Soar by Michelle Cook
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. :)