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February marks Black History Month, a time for recognizing and celebrating the achievements of Black Americans throughout U.S. history. Knowing that picture books are often the best way to teach our young children about the influential people who have helped shape our nation, we’ve rounded up the best Black History Month books for kids you should add to your bookshelf.
Children’s books are the perfect way to spark important discussions about race and equality. Books make things like diversity, empowerment and history accessible to even the youngest among us. Also, Black History Month is a good time to ensure that we are educating our children about all types of influential Black leaders and that our books and conversations extend well beyond figures like Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr. Because although their contributions were and continue to be vital in the development of our nation, there is an endless list of other names our children should know as well.
What types of Black History Month read alouds are best for kids?
Kids can learn about and appreciate Black history not just by reading true stories, but fiction books as well. Whether written as historical or in the modern day, fictional Black History Month read alouds reflect the reality of what it is like to grow up Black in America. It is through this lens—the turning of pages, the connection to characters whether real or not, and the discussions we have with them about these books—that all of our children can learn about and appreciate Black history, and in turn, American history.
26 Black History Month picture books to add to your library
A version of this article was originally published February 15, 2018. It has been updated.