Preschool to 4th Grade
A Girl Like Me by Angela Johnson
Inspiring words by acclaimed author Angela Johnson and vibrant photo collage illustrations by Nina Crews come together in a joyful celebration of girls that encourages everyone to reject limitations and follow their dreams.
Black is a Rainbow Color by Angela Joy
A child reflects on the meaning of being Black in this anthem about a people, a culture, a history, and a legacy that lives on.
Chocolate Me! by Taye Diggs
The boy is teased for looking different than the other kids. His skin is darker, his hair curlier. He tells his mother he wishes he could be more like everyone else. And she helps him to see how beautiful he really, truly is.
Crown: A Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes
A high-spirited, engaging salute to the beautiful, raw, assured humanity of black boys and how they see themselves when they approve of their reflections in the mirror.
Video eBook link
Don’t Touch My Hair! by Sharee Miller
Aria loves her soft and bouncy hair, but must go to extremes to avoid people who touch it without permission until, finally, she speaks up.
Going Down Home with Daddy by Kelly Starling Lyons
Alan looks forward to the annual family reunion at the farm where Daddy grew up, but everyone is supposed to share something special and Alan worries about arriving with empty hands.
Hands Up! by Breanna J. McDaniel
A young girl lifts her hands up in a series of everyday moments before finally raising her hands in resistance at a protest march.
Hey Black Child by Useni Eugene Perkins
A poem that celebrates black children and seeks to inspire all young ones to dream big and achieve their goals.
Intersection Allies: We Make Room For All by Chelsea Johnson
A handy book about intersectionality that depicts the nuances of identity and embraces difference as a source of community.
Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison
Based on her popular Instagram posts, debut author/illustrator Vashti Harrison shares the stories of 40 bold African American women who shaped history.
Little Legends: Exceptional Men in Black History by Vashti Harrison
Profiles thirty-five prominent men in African American history, including James Armistead Lafayette, Thurgood Marshall, Alvin Ailey, and Leland Melvin.
M is for Melanin: A Celebration of the Black Child by Tiffany Rose
An alphabet book that empowers young African Americans to love themselves and their culture.
Parker Looks Up by Parker Curry and Jessica Curry
This book is based on the viral photograph of African American toddler Parker Curry, who, during a visit to the National Portrait Gallery, became mesmerized by Amy Sherald’s portrait of Michelle Obama, who she thought was a queen.
Princess Hair by Sharee Miller
Little girls pretending to be princesses celebrate the different shapes, textures, and styles of their black hair.
Ruth and the Green Book by Calvin A. Ramsey
When Ruth and her parents take a motor trip from Chicago to Alabama to visit her grandma, they rely on a pamphlet called “The Negro Motorist Green Book” to find places that will serve them.
eBook Link 1 & eBook Link 2
Sing a Song: How Lift Every Voice and Sing Inspired Generations by Kelly Starling Lyons
Illustrations and easy-to-read text follow a family through five generations as each is inspired by the song written in 1900 to honor Abraham Lincoln.
Something Happened in Our Town by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, and Ann Hazzard
After discussing the police shooting of a local Black man with their families, Emma and Josh know how to treat a new student who looks and speaks differently than his classmates.
Sulwe by Lupita N’yongo
When five-year-old Sulwe’s classmates make fun of her dark skin, she tries lightening herself to no avail, but her encounter with a shooting star helps her understand there is beauty in every shade.
The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson
There are lots of reasons to feel different. Maybe it’s how you look or talk, or where you’re from. Maybe it’s what you eat or something just as random. Whatever it is, it’s not easy to take those first steps into a place where nobody knows you, but somehow you do it.
The Oldest Student by Rita Lorraine Hubbard
A picture book biography sharing the inspiring and incredible true story of the nation’s oldest student, Mary Walker, who learned to read at the age of 116.
The Power of Her Pen by Lesa Cline-Ransome
Ethel L. Payne always had an ear for stories. Seeking truth, justice, and equality, Ethel followed stories from her school newspaper in Chicago to Japan during World War II. It even led her to the White House briefing room, where she broke barriers as one of the first black journalists.
The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander
Originally performed for ESPN’s The Undefeated, this poem is a love letter to black life in the United States. It highlights the unspeakable trauma of slavery, the faith and fire of the civil rights movement, and the grit, passion, and perseverance of some of the world’s greatest heroes.
Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Boy by Tony Medina
A fresh perspective of young men of color depicting thirteen views of everyday life: young boys dressed in their Sunday best, running to catch a bus, and growing up to be teachers, and much more.
Ways to Make Sunshine by Renee Watson
The Hart family of Portland, Oregon, faces many setbacks after Ryan’s father loses his job, but no matter what, Ryan tries to bring sunshine to her loved ones.
We March by Shane Evans
Illustrations and brief text portray the events of the 1963 march in Washington, D.C., where the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. delivered a historic speech.
5th to 8th Grade
A Good Kind of Trouble by Lisa Moore Ramee
Twelve-year-old Shayla is allergic to trouble. All she wants to do is to follow the rules. But in junior high, it’s like all the rules have changed. Now she’s suddenly questioning who her best friends are and some people at school are saying she’s not black enough.
Betty Before X by Ilyasah Shabazz and Renee Watson
Raised by her aunt until she is seven, Betty, who will later marry Malcolm X, joins her mother and stepfamily in 1940s Detroit, where she learns about the civil rights movement.
Black Brother, Black Brother by Jewell Parker Rhodes
Suspended unjustly from elite Middlefield Prep, Donte Ellison studies fencing with a former champion, hoping to put the racist fencing team captain in his place.
Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America edited by Ibi Zoboi
Black is urban and rural, wealthy and poor, mixed race, immigrants, and more–because there are countless ways to be Black enough.
Blended by Sharon Draper
Piano-prodigy Isabella, eleven, whose black father and white mother struggle to share custody, never feels whole, especially as racial tensions affect her school, her parents both become engaged, and she and her stepbrother are stopped by police.
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
Jacqueline Woodson, one of today’s finest writers, tells the moving story of her childhood in mesmerizing verse. Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement.
Clean Getaway by Nic Stone
For the life of him, William “Scoob” Lamar can’t seem to stay out of trouble–and now the run-ins at school have led to lockdown at home. So when G’ma, Scoob’s favorite person on Earth, asks him to go on an impromptu road trip, he’s in the RV faster than he can say freedom.
Dictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z by Irene Latham & Charles Waters
Organized as a dictionary, entries in this book for middle-grade readers present words related to creating a better, more inclusive world. Each word is explored via a poem, a quote from an inspiring person, and a short personal anecdote from one of the co-authors, a prompt for how to translate the word into action, and an illustration.
Finding Langston by Lesa Cline-Ransome
Discovering a book of Langston Hughes’ poetry in the library helps Langston cope with the loss of his mother, relocating from Alabama to Chicago as part of the Great Migration, and being bullied.
For Black Girls Like Me by Mariama J. Lockington
Eleven-year-old Makeda dreams of meeting her African American mother, while coping with serious problems in her white adopted family, a cross-country move, and being homeschooled.
Genesis Begins Again by Alicia D. Williams
Thirteen-year-old Genesis tries again and again to lighten her black skin, thinking it is the root of her family’s troubles, before discovering reasons to love herself as is.
Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes
After seventh-grader Jerome is shot by a white police officer, he observes the aftermath of his death and meets the ghosts of other fallen black boys including historical figure Emmett Till.
Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
Katherine, Dorothy, Mary, and Christine were all good at math. Really good. And it was their understanding of numbers that helped them do what seemed impossible. They were women, and they were African-American, and they lived during a time when being black and a woman limited what they could do. But Katherine, Dorothy, Mary, and Christine were hardworking and persistent and, most important, smart.
One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams Garcia
In the summer of 1968, after travelling from Brooklyn to Oakland, California, to spend a month with the mother they barely know, eleven-year-old Delphine and her two younger sisters arrive to a cold welcome as they discover that their mother, a dedicated poet and printer, is resentful of the intrusion of their visit and wants them to attend a nearby Black Panther summer camp.
One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance by Nikki Grimes
In this collection of poetry, Nikki Grimes looks afresh at the poets of the Harlem Renaissance — including voices like Langston Hughes, Georgia Douglas Johnson, and many more writers of importance and resonance from this era — by combining their work with her own original poetry.
Reaching the the Moon: The Autobiography of NASA Mathematician Katherine Johnson by Katherine Johnson
The inspiring autobiography of NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, who helped launch Apollo 11.
Say Her Name by Zetta Elliott
Inspired by the #SayHerName campaign launched by the African American Policy Forum, these poems pay tribute to victims of police brutality as well as the activists insisting that Black Lives Matter … engages poets from the past two centuries to create a chorus of voices celebrating the creativity, resilience, and courage of Black women and girls.
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
A history of racist and antiracist ideas in America, from their roots in Europe until today, adapted from the National Book Award winner Stamped from the Beginning.
The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson
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.
The Season of Styx Malone by Kekla Magoon
Caleb Franklin and his big brother, Bobby Gene, spend an extraordinary summer with their new, older neighbor, Styx Malone, a foster boy from the city.
The Usual Suspects by Maurice Broaddus
Thelonius Mitchell is tired of being labeled. He’s in special ed, separated from the “normal” kids at school who don’t have any “issues.” Thats enough to make all the teachers and students look at him and his friends with a constant side-eye. (Although his disruptive antics and pranks have given him a rep too.) When a gun is found at a neighborhood hangout, Thelonius and his pals become instant suspects. Thelonius may be guilty of pulling crazy stunts at school, but a criminal? T isnt about to let that label stick.
This Promise of Change: One Girl’s Story in the Fight for School Equality by Jo Ann Allen Boyce and Debby Levy
In 1956, one year before federal troops escorted the Little Rock 9 into Central High School, fourteen year old Jo Ann Allen was one of twelve African-American students who broke the color barrier and integrated Clinton High School in Tennessee. At first things went smoothly for the Clinton 12, but then outside agitators interfered, pitting the townspeople against one another.
We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices by Wade Hudson and Cheryl Willis Hudson
What do we tell our children when the world seems bleak, and prejudice and racism run rampant? With 96 lavishly designed pages of original art, prose, and poetry, fifty diverse creators lend voice to young activists.
What Lane? by Torrey Maldonado
Biracial sixth-grader Stephen questions the limitations society puts on him after he notices the way strangers treat him when he hangs out with his white friends and learns about the Black Lives Matter movement.