February is Black History Month. This celebration was initially introduced as National Negro History Week in 1926, in an effort to raise awareness of the contributions of African Americans to US history, and was expanded to a full month in the 1970s. This month provides an important opportunity to introduce conversations with young children about African American heritage and history.
Books for Preschoolers
This book shares the story of Mae Jemison, the first African American woman to travel in space. Starting with her childhood dreams of being an astronaut and ending with her success at NASA, this story is an inspiring read for young children.
This story’s message is shared in an empowering poem, written by Useni Eugene Perkins in 1975. The book is optimistic, inspiring, and hopeful as it celebrates black children and their potential. The bright illustrations match positive text that seeks to inspire all young readers to dream big and reminds them that they have the ability to accomplish great things.
Featuring forty trailblazing black women in American history, Little Leaders educates and inspires young readers with stories of black women who broke boundaries and and made history. Through the sweet illustrations and thought-provoking stories young children find heroes and role models who helped to make the world a better place for generations to come.
Books for Pre-K
This beautifully illustrated story explores the legacy of a grandfather and his fight against discrimination in the 1950s and 60s. This touching story of the love between a grandfather and his grandson uses simple, gentle language to explore a deeply and emotionally moving topic with young readers.
Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race Written by Margot Lee Shetterly and illustrated by Laura Freeman
This book tells the story of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden, who provided the calculations for America’s first journeys into space. This book’s story of four women with an incredible gift for math and science is a great read to inspire young children’s interest in STEM learning!
Preaching to the Chickens: The Story of Young John Lewis Written by Jabari Asim and illustrated by E. B. Lewis
This book offers a glimpse into the childhood of John Lewis, a Civil Rights leader and important figure in American history. The story explores John’s desire to be a preacher when he grew up and how he practiced his leadership and speaking skills by preaching to a flock of chickens on his family farm.
Board Books for Infants and Toddlers
Featuring 18 trailblazing black women in American history, this book is a board book adaptation of Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History. Learn about heroes, role models, and everyday women who did extraordinary things to make the world better for generations of girls and women to come.
This board book explores Michelle Obama in a simply illustrated story. The text is easy to share with young readers and includes quotes from Michelle. If you and your little ones enjoy this book, you might check out some of the author’s other stories of inspiring black women, I Look Up to…Serena Wiliams and I Look Up to…Oprah Winfrey.