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Black history books to read with your kids

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Introducing children to books from diverse cultures helps them understand tolerance and race. These books help children learn about black history through mini-biographies and some are works of fiction.

Some of these books teach about life as a slave or during the civil rights movement through the eyes of young people. Children of all ages and races will love the stories and learn something new.

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Parker visits a museum with her family when she discovers Amy Sherald’s portrait of First Lady Michelle Obama. But for Parker, she sees a queen. Find out how this encounter with painting becomes a highlight for this young girl.

Inspirational Bedtime Stories: 50 Incredible Black People Who Changed The World by LA Amber

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Short stories make reading easier for parents or young learners. Each tale contains questions – like “Have you ever heard of a place called Haiti?” or “Are you brave?” – that children can respond to and learn about historical figures. From Thomas L. Jennings (the inventor of dry cleaning) to Jackie Joyner-Kersee, children have the chance to see themselves in every story.

Texting with Black History by Bobby Basil

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Using clues familiar to a screen-savvy generation, young readers can learn history through conversations with Martin Luther King Jr., Sojourner Truth and Aretha Franklin. Curious Alex “text” conversations with each person, gathering biographical information along the way.

The ABCs of Black History by Rio Cortez

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Kids can browse the alphabet while learning about black history achievements, like H for Harlem and M for Matter. On the back of the book you can even read more facts about what is represented for each letter.

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Based on a true story, An unforgettable ride shares a civil rights story where a community worked together to peacefully fight the integration of Gwynn Oak Amusement Park in Maryland. Co-writer Sharon Langley was the first African-American child to ride the carousel.

If you were a child during the civil rights movementby Gwendolyn Hooks and Kelly Kennedy

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The children learn about segregation as one youngster starts a new school and another tries to learn about the protests from his older brothers. By using characters of the same age as the reader, young people can put themselves in the place of an isolated pupil.

The bell rang by James E. Ransome

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Written in the voice of a young slave who details a turbulent week with her family, parents should be careful as some events – like hitting or whipping – could be difficult for younger readers. The author explains in a note at the end that he wanted young readers to understand slave choices and the impact on slavery and families.

Civil Rights Then and Now: A Timeline of the Struggle for Equality in America by Kristina Brooke Daniele

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From the biographies of historical figures to the background of landmark cases that shaped the Civil Rights Movement, children will begin in the post-Civil War South and become leaders of the modern era.

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Considered one of the worst incidents of racial violence in US history, the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921 is told when a white mob attacked the black community. Weatherford tells the tragic story in such a powerful way to help children understand what happened and how it was largely omitted from history until decades later.

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison

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From Phyllis Wheatley (poet) to Dominique Dawes (gymnast), children can learn about the women who wrote the history books. A short biography of each woman and her accomplishments accompanies the adorable portrait for which the Little Dreamers books are known. There is also an accompanying book called Little Legends: Exceptional Men in Black History.

A Child’s Introduction to African American History by Jabari Asim

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Kids will learn beyond the classroom with information on speeches, marches and profiles of civil rights leaders, athletes to remember, authors to read and political heroes. Illustrations by Lynn Gaines add beauty to the book, and a removable timeline is something parents can return to year after year to remind kids of all ages in history.

Winner of the Newberry and Coretta Scott King awards, this is the story of a summer trip from Michigan to Alabama in the midst of the civil rights movement. The family is in Birmingham when Grandmother’s Church is destroyed.

Finding Langston by Lesa Cline-Ransome

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Chicago kids will enjoy Langston’s view of the city as it comes after he and his father leave Alabama. Langston finds the Chicago Public Library in 1946 and discovers Langston Hughes. Children who love the library will quickly appreciate what Langston the Reader learns.

Changing the Equation: Over 50 Black American Women in STEM by Tonya Bolden

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There are so many black women in the United States who have changed the STEM world. Now you can discover more than 50 of these extraordinary women in this inspiring book celebrating their achievements.


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