Jefferson’s Recommended Books for Black History Month!

Jefferson’s Recommended Books for Black History Month!

Hello!  Jefferson Eagle here!  I have been so excited to learn more about Black History Month, that I have spent some time looking at books.  You know me, I love books!  I have learned so much about the Civil Rights Movement in America I thought I would share a few fun facts with you.  On January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.  Hey kids, did you know the Emancipation Proclamation declared, “that all persons held as slaves and henceforward shall be free.” ?  The fight for freedom and civil rights did not stop there.  

U.S. News & World Report/Library of Congress

The African-American Civil Rights Movement continued to fight for racial equality for over 100 years after the Civil War.  Many leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr., Booker T. Washington and Rosa Parks began movements for non-violent protests to change the laws.  Today things are much better and people are working hard to continue making positive changes for people of all races, religions and ethnic backgrounds in America.

Here are just a few books and resources I really like and wanted to share with children, parents, grandparents and teachers alike!  I have chosen some books as well as resources I have found to be truly inspiring.  I hope you have fun exploring some of these great books while you enjoy Black History Month!

Jefferson Eagle’s recommendations for teaching children about Black History Month . . .

African American Experience Children’s Literary Reference Guide (2010-2015): This is a nice list of books about African Americans (fiction & non-fiction) created as a resource for librarians but is great for parents & teachers to explore!

All Different Now-Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom: Help your child experience the first taste of freedom through the eyes of a young girl!  The day of freedom for African Americans has finally come in this story of journey and triumph.  Includes a glossary and a timeline of important dates.

Amazing Grace: This story follows a little girl who realizes she can be anything her imagination allows her to envision.  Throughout the story, she is inspired by the love of her family and their support, feeding her spirit and determination. 

Amos Fortune-Free Man: This story is about Amos Fortune, who was captured by slave traders at the age of fifteen years old.  Although he was sold into slavery, he maintained his dignity and courage.  Finally, at the age of 60, 45 years later, his dream of freedom was about to be realized. 

Brown Girl Dreaming: In this book of poetry, Jacqueline Woodson shares what it was like growing up as an African American child during the 1960s and 1970.  She gives a picture into a child’s mind as she searches for her place in the world.

Coretta Scott: This is the story of Coretta Scott, the wife of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Follow her fascinating life and learn about Correta’s courage and loyalty as the wife of one of history’s most influential speakers and civil rights activists.  Also see our blog about Coretta Scott King!  

Dave the Potter: This is the story of Dave, an amazingly talented artist, poet, and potter living in South Carolina in the 1800s.  His talent for artistry and poetry, transcended the limitations he faced as a slave. 

Duke Ellington: The Piano Prince and His Orchestra: Also Known as “Duke’, Duke Ellington was one of the greatest jazz composers in history.  This is the story of his life and music!

Follow the Drinking Gourd: This is a delightful story about a sailor who aids slaves on their escape through the Underground Railroad.  Your children will follow a family as they make their dangerous escape to freedom!

Freedom Summer: This is an oldie but goody!  This story is about how friendship defies color and ultimately, racism following the passage of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964.  

Gifted Hands, Kids Edition: Dr. Ben Carson’s story is told in this kid-friendly version…it is a must read for older elementary!  Ben Carson is one of the world’s most brilliant surgeons and has become the world’s leading pediatric neurosurgeons.  Your children will love reading this success from scratch story!  

Goin’ Someplace Special: This story follows a young African American girl living in the segregated South.  She learns that she is somebody, we are all somebody, because we are human beings and “we are no better, and no worse than anyone else”.  For each hurtful or painful comment, she realizes there is a friend around the corner reminding her that she’s not alone.

Harriet Tubman: This story follows the brave acts of Harriet Tubman, who vowed to fight for freedom of all slaves.

Heart and Soul: This is the story of the African Americans hope, inspiration and courage.  The story recounts the lives of the men, women, and children who worked tirelessly picking cotton, the hardships they faced with Jim Crow laws and their fight for equal education of African American children.  

Henry’s Freedom Box: This story is about a slave who dreams of freedom.  This story follow Henry’s tragedy and triumph as he finds an escape to freedom.  After his family is sold to the slave market, he mails himself to freedom.

I am Martin Luther King Jr.: This fun book is sure to inspire!  Learn about the amazing man who not only helped the world see the plight of black Americans, but taught them how to fight for their rights peacefully.

I am Rosa Parks: In this fun kid-friendly biography, the author brings Rosa Parks to life.  The story follows her daring stand against the oppression of African Americans as she helped set forth the country’s Civil Rights Movement.

John Henry: In this retelling of an African American folktale, John Henry is depicted as being stronger than ten men and digging a mountain faster than a steam drill.  In the end, the lesson learned is that what matters most is “how well you do your living.”

Last Stop on Market Street: This is a story about a boy who learns about life from his grandmother.  This book teaches about people with different skin colors, body types, abilities, ages, and classes as well as topics such as urban life, volunteerism, and thankfulness.

Martin’s Big Words: This picture book depicts the biography of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  As an introductory to civil rights and Dr. King’s message, this book helps bring his message to life!

Mare’s War: This is a wonderful story about two children who learn a little something about their grandmother…that she was once a young teenager who escaped her less-than-perfect life in the deep South by lying about her age to join the African American battalion of the Women’s Army Corps during World War II.

Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters: This story tells of two daughters who are known for their beauty.  Soon they learn beauty is measured in how you treat others and that it lies beyond that of physical appearance. 

One Crazy Summer:  This story tells of three sisters who travel to Oakland, California, in 1968 to meet the mother who abandoned them.  This story is the winner of the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction, the Coretta Scott King Award and was a National Book Award Finalist.

Salt in His Shoes: This is the true story about Michael Jordan, who as a young boy was taught patience, determination, and hard work by his parents.  Their lessons led him to realize his dreams of becoming one of the most well-known NBA players in history.

Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt: This story follows Clara, who dreams of seeing her mother again.  She dreams of running away to freedom when one day, she realizes she can make a quilt that ultimately helps her escape to freedom.  She then leaves the quilt behind for others to use for their escape as well.

Teammates: In this touching story, Jackie Robinson became the first black player on a Major League baseball team, the Brooklyn Dodgers.  This is the story of Jackie and his teammate, Pee Wee Reese, who took a stand and declared Jackie his teammate.  The story of teammates and an underlying friendship during a time much different than today.

The Great Migration-Journey to the North:  Between 1915 and 1930, more than a million African Americans left their homes in the South and moved to the North.  This is one such story about a girl and her family, who became part of he great migration.

The Patchwork Path: This story follows the story of a young girl and her father who run to freedom, using a quilt that will guide them to freedom along the Underground Railroad.  This is a story of courage, determination and hope.

Trombone Shorty: This is the true story about Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews, a child prodigy who was leading his own band by age six.  This is an autobiography about how he followed his dream of becoming a musician, despite the odds.

Underground: This is the story about a  family who follows the Underground Railroad, escaping to freedom and liberty.  May be used as an introduction to young readers.

We March: This is the story of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, 1963.  This story is a great way to help teach multi-culturalism.

When Marian Sang: This is the story of Marian Anderson, a unique talent who is known for her historic concert at the Lincoln Memorial in 1939.  This story depicts the strength of her character & the struggles of the times in which she lived.


Scholastic-Culture and Change: Black History Month in America and don’t forget to visit The Underground Railroad

Brown Sugar and Spice Books & Educational Services

The Underground Railroad-National Geographic 3-D Interactive Game  

Reading Rockets-People Make the Difference: A Celebration of Black History Month

Reading Rockets-Favorite Books for Black History Month

Reading Rockets-Freedom Stories

Reading Rockets-Heroes

Reading Rockets-Standing Tall


Jefferson Eagle, Blog Contributor


Jefferson Eagle is an America’s Destination Pen Pals blog contributor and Destination Pen Pal adventurer.  He has become one of ADPP’s foremost experts on the culture and geography of the United States, The Constitution and America’s rich history.  Jefferson Eagle currently travels the United States with his Pen Pal Buddies exploring America and teaching children about the traditions, history and culture which built this great nation.

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