February is Black History month!

Throughout the year, and especially in February, we celebrate the stories of influential African Americans and study the literary contributions of African American authors and illustrators. Black History Month grew out of “Negro History Week”, created by Dr. Carter G. Woodson, which began in the 1920s. Dr. Woodson, a son of former slaves and a graduate of Harvard University, wanted to ensure the stories of African Americans were reflected and accurately represented in history.

Are you looking for a list of books that will help your students celebrate Black History Month? Check out this list of recommended books, organized by grade level. You and your class may also enjoy a list of recommended songs by African American artists, which you can find here.

Elementary Grades: Pre-Kindergarten through 5th Grade 

28 Days: Moments in Black History that Changed the World
by Charles R. Smith, illustrated by Shane Evans

Age Range: 6 – 10 years
Grade Level: 2 – 3

All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom
by Angela Johnson, illustrated by E.B. Lewis

Age Range: 5 – 9 years
Grade Level: Kindergarten – 4

Child of the Civil Rights Movement
by Paula Young Shelton

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Grade Level: Preschool – 3

Each Kindness
by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by E. B. Lewis

Age Range: 5 – 8 years
Grade Level: Kindergarten – 3

Freedom’s School
by Lesa Cline-Ransome, illustrated by James E. Ransome

Age Range: 6 – 9 years
Grade Level: 1 – 3

Last Stop on Market Street
by Matt de la Pena, illustrated by Christian Robinson

Age Range: 3 – 5 years
Grade Level: Preschool – Kindergarten

Little Melba and Her Big Trombone
by Katheryn Russell-Brown, illustrated by Frank Morrison

Age Range: 6 – 10 years
Grade Level: 2 – 3

Little Shaq
by Shaquille O’Neal, illustrated by Theodore Taylor

Age Range: 5 – 7 years
Grade Level: 1 – 2

Malcolm Little: The Boy Who Grew Up to Become Malcolm X
by Ilyasah Shabazz, illustrated by AG Ford

Age Range: 6 – 10 years
Grade Level: 1 – 5

Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: The Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement
by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Ekua Holmes

Age Range: 9 – 12 years
Grade Level: 4 – 7

Middle Grades: 6th Grade through 8th Grade

Chains, Forge, and Ashes (Seeds of America Trilogy)
by Laurie Halse Anderson

Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice
by Phillip Hoose

The Crossover
by Kwame Alexander

Gone Crazy in Alabama (third in the trilogy)
by Rita Williams-Garcia

Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men Who Changed America
by Andrea Pinkney, illustrated by Brian Pinkney

Hoodoo
by Ronald L. Smith

How I Discovered Poetry
by Marilyn Nelson

Ninth Ward
by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Stella by Starlight
by Sharon M. Draper

Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom: My Story of the Selma Voting Rights March
by Lynda Blackmon Lowery, as told to Elspeth Leacock and Susan Buckley, illustrated by PJ Loughran

High School Grades: 9th Grade through 12th Grade

All American Boys
by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

Black Boy White School
by Brian F. Walker

Carver: A Life in Poems
by Marilyn Nelson

The Fire Next Time
by James Baldwin

The Freedom Summer Murders
by Don Mitchell

The Girl Who Fell From the Sky
by Heidi W. Durrow

Go Set a Watchman
by Harper Lee

The Harlem Hellfighters
by Max Brooks

How it Went Down
by Kekla Magoon

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration
by Isabel Wilkerson

X: A Novel
by Ilyasah Shabazz and Kekla Magoon