Memorial Hall Library

Black History Month Books for Children

This last series of Black History Month posts highlights books for children, including picture books and middle grade titles. Take a look at our earlier lists for teens and adults. For more notable books, take a look at the Coretta Scott King book awards which is in its 50th year this year. Finally, remember that Black history is important all year round, not just in February!


	Memphis, Martin, and the mountaintop : the sanitation strike of 1968
Memphis, Martin, and the mountaintop : the sanitation strike of 1968
by Alice Faye Duncan

PICTURE BOOK. This historical fiction picture book presents the story of 9-year-old Lorraine Jackson, who in 1968 witnessed the Memphis sanitation strike--Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s final stand for justice before his assassination--when her father, a sanitation worker, participated in the protest.

	The roots of rap : 16 bars on the 4 pillars of hip-hop
The roots of rap : 16 bars on the 4 pillars of hip-hop
by Carole Boston Weatherford

PICTURE BOOK. Introduces young music enthusiasts to the evolution of rap music from the folktales, spirituals, art and poetry of black culture, exploring through vibrant illustrations and rhythmic text how hip-hop has become a universal language. 

	Let the children march
Let the children march
by Monica Clark-Robinson

PICTURE BOOK. Documents the inspirational peaceful protests in 1963 Birmingham, Alabama, combining poetic text and poignant illustrations that celebrate the powerful words of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the resolve of thousands of African-American children to march for their civil rights. 

	Of thee I sing : a letter to my daughters
Of thee I sing : a letter to my daughters
by Barack Obama

PICTURE BOOK. In a tender letter to his daughters, President Barack Obama has written a moving tribute to 13 historically important Americans and the ideals that have shaped our nation; from the artistry of Georgia O'Keeffe, to the courage of Jackie Robinson and the patriotism of George Washington, President Obama sees the traits of these heroes within his own children, and within all of America's children. Illustrated by a best-selling, award-winning artist whose images capture the personalities and achievements of these great Americans and the innocence and promise of childhood. 

	Counting on Katherine : How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13
Counting on Katherine : How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13
by Helaine Becker

PICTURE BOOKS. You've likely heard of the historic Apollo 13 mission. But do you know about the mathematical genius who made sure that Apollo 13 returned safely home? As a child, Katherine Johnson loved to count. She counted the steps on the road, the number of dishes and spoons she washed in the kitchen sink, everything! Boundless, curious, and excited by calculations, young Katherine longed to know as much as she could about math, about the universe. From Katherine's early beginnings as a gifted student to her heroic accomplishments as a prominent mathematician at NASA, this is the story of a groundbreaking American woman who not only calculated the course of moon landings but, in turn, saved lives and made enormous contributions to history.

	The stuff of stars
The stuff of stars
by Marion Dane Bauer

PICTURE BOOK. The Newbery Honor-winning author of On My Honor and the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award-winning artist of Out of Wonder vibrantly describe the void that existed before the Big Bang generated life throughout the galaxy, making it possible for wondrous human children to evolve.

	Hidden figures : the true story of four black women and the space race
Hidden figures : the true story of four black women and the space race
by Margot Lee Shetterly

PICTURE BOOK. A lavishly illustrated picture book adaptation of the inspiring story of the four brilliant mathematicians who were pivotal to the success of America's space program, written by one of their associates, describes how they overcame the harsh limitations imposed on black women in the segregated 1960s. 50,000 first printing.

	Hurricane child
Hurricane child
by Kheryn Callender

MIDDLE GRADE FICTION. Born on Water Island in the Virgin Islands during a hurricane, which is considered bad luck, twelve-year-old Caroline falls in love with another girl--and together they set out in a hurricane to find Caroline's missing mother.

	March forward, girl : from young warrior to Little Rock Nine
March forward, girl : from young warrior to Little Rock Nine
by Melba Pattillo Beals

MIDDLE GRADE NONFICTION. The Congressional Gold Medal-winning civil rights activist and author of the best-selling Warriors Don't Cry presents an ardent and profound childhood memoir of growing up in the face of adversity in the Jim Crow South. 

	The season of Styx Malone
The season of Styx Malone
by Kekla Magoon

MIDDLE GRADE FICTION. Longing for summertime adventures outside of their small Indiana community, two boys are enthralled by a cool newcomer who enlists their help in a series of escalating trade cons that rapidly put them in over their heads. 

	The Parker inheritance
The Parker inheritance
by Varian Johnson

MIDDLE GRADE FICTION. Twelve-year-old Candice Miller is spending the summer in Lambert, South Carolina, in the old house that belonged to her grandmother, who died after being dismissed as city manager for having the city tennis courts dug up looking for buried treasure--but when she finds the letter that sent her grandmother on the treasure hunt, she finds herself caught up in the mystery and, with the help of her new friend and fellow book-worm, Brandon, she sets out to find the inheritance, exonerate her grandmother, and expose an injustice once committed against an African American family in Lambert.

	Harbor me
Harbor me
by Jacqueline Woodson

MIDDLE GRADE FICTION. When six students are chosen to participate in a weekly talk with no adults allowed, they discover that when they're together, it's safe to share the hopes and fears they have to hide from the rest of the world. 

	Betty before X
Betty before X
by Ilyasah Shabazz

MIDDLE GRADE FICTION. A powerful middle-grade novel about the childhood activism of Malcolm X's wife, written by their daughter, describes how young Betty finds confidence and purpose by volunteering for the Housewives League in 1945 Detroit, learning skills and developing awareness that inspires her future as a Civil Rights icon. 

	Finding Langston
Finding Langston
by Lesa Cline-Ransome

MIDDLE GRADE FICTION. Discovering a book of Langston Hughes' poetry in the library helps 11-year-old Langston cope with the loss of his mother, relocating from Alabama to Chicago as part of the Great Migration and being bullied. 
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