Black History Month Reads for All Ages
Martin & Mahalia
On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, and his strong voice and powerful message were joined and lifted in song by world-renowned gospel singer Mahalia Jackson. This beautiful picture book tells each of their stories side-by-side through Andrea Davis Pinkney’s poetic prose and Brian Pinkney’s evocative illustration. It’s a truly special view of this historic event.
Fifty Cents and a Dream
Booker T. Washington was born into slavery. Jabari Asim’s extraordinary book, gorgeously illustrated by award-winning artist Bryan Collier follows Booker on his journey from emancipation to the Hampton Institute where he arrives with fifty cents in his pocket and a dream in his heart. The rhythmic storytelling offers an exciting way to engage young readers in the story of this great man.
Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History
This instant New York Times bestseller and NAACP Image Award winner has taken off for a reason! Vashti Harrison’s winning illustrations and illuminating text about black women in history, both iconic and lesser known, are truly compelling for readers of any age. The leaders in this book may be little, but they all did something big and amazing, inspiring generations to come.
There’s no one better than renowned author Jewell Parker Rhodes to tell this story of our recent past. Set in New Orleans’ Ninth Ward as Hurricane Katrina approaches, this Coretta Scott King Honor Book tells the story of 12-year-old Lanesha and her caretaker Mama Ya-Ya. Rhodes’ gentle approach to this American tragedy offers a new perspective that will enthrall young readers.
Celeste’s Harlem Renaissance
Was there a more exciting time in American history than Harlem in the 1920’s? Celeste moves from North Carolina to Harlem with her fabulous Aunt Valentina, a famous actress starring on Broadway. It’s not a typical view of this particular time in history, but it’s one that shows middle grade readers the grit and glamour that made the Harlem Renaissance such a spectacular era.
For young adult readers looking to learn more about the Harlem Renaissance, there’s no better choice than Harlem Stomp! An illustrated history that combines portraits of prominent figures like Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston with explorations of the politics of the era. Full of photographs and archival documents, this book truly brings history to life.
The Tulsa Race Riot is one of the lesser-known dark moments in American history. Weaving together the stories of Will, a 17-year-old in Tulsa 1921 and Rowan, a 17-year-old in present-day Tulsa, this powerful book brings history to life and allows readers to question just how far we’ve come in nearly 100 years.
A stunning novel that deftly combines speculative and historical fiction by bestselling author Walter Mosley. 47 is a young slave boy living under the watchful eye of a brutal slave master. His life seems doomed until he meets a mysterious runaway slave, Tall John. Reminiscent of The Underground Railroad, Mosley gives a harrowing glimpse of slavery and a boy who rises out of it.