“We must never forget that Black History is American History. The achievements of African Americans have contributed to our nation's greatness." – U.S. Representative Yvette Clarke
Last year, a concerned mother posted about the lack of acknowledgment and representation at her son’s school during Black History month. For about a week, she asked her son if there were lessons or activities shared within the classroom. And to her dismay, his answer was always no.
It was then, during Black History month, when I realized my “why” for homeschooling my children. Growing up, in school, Black History month was a celebration. A tribute to great leaders and heroes in history. My class spent the entire month preparing for our annual Black History Month Assembly. I remember memorizing poems and songs, and we dressed up as Harriet Tubman, Malcom X, Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, Rosa Parks, Justice Thurgood Marshall, Madam C.J. Walker, and many other historical Black figures who influenced history, American History. World leaders, abolitionist, civil rights activists, artists, culinary artists, and entrepreneurs all paved the way for future generations in this country. We learned of and celebrated these marvelous individuals.
My children, have the freedom to learn of these historical figures and timelines that shaped their country. We can freely learn about the revival of the Black art, music, literature, theater, and dance of the Harlem Renaissance and how artist and activist (or one and the same) played a role in culture and politics. They can learn of Black female entrepreneurs like Madam C.J. Walker (my eldest daughter is captivated by her story), and how she created a million dollar hair care line and encouraged Black women to become entrepreneurs. We can learned about renowned American chef and entrepreneur, Edna Lewis, while cooking one of her beloved recipes. This is liberation.
We must remember, Black history expands beyond these 28 days of February, and is still much work to be done to mend racial disparities in our nation. As we approach this beautiful and powerful month, let’s think of ways to reflect, learn, and unlearn to build a better future for the coming generations.
Here are some of our favorite books that celebrate inclusivity and the achievements of Black people.
Board Book for Little Readers
- Follow Your Dreams Little One by Vashti Harrison
- Hey Black Child by Useni Eugene Perkins
- Little Naturalists: George Washington Carver Loved Plants
- Little Naturalists: Wangari Maathai Planted Trees
- Dream Big Little One by Vashti Harrison
- My First Heroes Black History by Silver Dolphin Books
- Baby, Baby, Please by Spike Lee
Picture Books for Young Readers
- Brown by Nancy Johnson James
- Build a House by Rhiannon James
- Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem by Amanda Gorman
- I am Brown by Ashok Banner
- Who Are Your People by Bakari Sellers
- Mae Among the Stars Roda Ahmed
- Alma’s Art by Roda Ahmed
- My People by Langston Hughes
- The ABC’s of Black History by Rio Cortez
- I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes
- M is Melanin A Celebration of The Black Child by Tiffany Rose
- Have You Thank An Inventor Today by Patrice McLaurin
- We Wait for the Sun by Dovey Johnson Roundtree
Books for Growing Readers
- Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave by Laban Carrick
- Heart and Soul: The Story America and African Americans by Kadir Nelson
- Dr. Wangari Maathai Plants a Forest by Rebel Girls
- Madam C.J. Walker Builds A Business by Rebel Girls
- The 1619 Project Born on the Water by Nikole Hannah-Jones
- Rosa by Nikki Giovanni
- Moses When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford
- My Name Is James Madison Hemings by Jonah Winter
- Poetry For Young People by Langston Hughes
- Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library by Carole Boston Weatherford
- Ida B. Wells Let the Truth Be Told is by Walter Dean Myers
- George Washington Carver by Tonya Bolden
- Voice of Freedom Fannie Lou Hamer: Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement by Carole Boston Weatherford
- Henry’s Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad
- When Marian Sang by Pam Munoz Ryan
- Ablaze with Color: A Story of Painter Alma Thomas by Jeanne Walker Harvey
Books for Older Readers
- Black Nature Four Centuries of African American Poetry by Camille T. Dungy
- Gladiola Garden by Effie Lee Newsome
- Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor
- The Watsons Go to Birmingham by Christopher Paul Curtis
- The Life of Frederick Douglass a Graphic Narrative by David F. Walker
- March (Graphic Novel Series) by John Lewis
- This Book is Anti-Racist (Book and Journal) by Tiffany Jewel
- The Awakening of Malcolm X by Ilyasah Shabazz
**Note: Please read books prior to reading or allowing your child to read, as some of these titles may present hard questions and conversations.
I hope you all enjoyed this blog post and book list. Please follow @ourkindredadventures for more book’s recommendations and learning adventures.