Black History Month: Honoring Black Authors, Characters, and Biographies

 
 

At Biblionasium, we value our diverse community, including the voices among us that are often underrepresented. For Black History Month, we are honoring Black literature: specifically Black authorsBlack characters, and biographies of famous Black people.

Whether your goal is to celebrate Black history, support and empower Black students, or educate others, this list will help you find that perfect recommendation for the month of February.

 

Fast-paced and adventurous. ✔

Proffers a blend of culture, community, and folklore rooted in the African diaspora. ✔

Full of lovable characters who will have readers clamoring for the sequel. ✔

Featuring a fierce heroine who will capture and protect your heart. ✔

Shows the power friends, family, and community can have in the fight against the forces of evil. ✔

Best for ages 8-12.

Kids Review:

 

► “This book is like a million stars in your eyes. This book makes me feel like I’m a better me. Maybe you will feel that way too.” —Sonia

 

Navigates a sensitive subject with candor and grace. ✔

Part memoir, part manual, the book takes a congenial but firm approach. ✔

Incorporates conversations with prominent artists and activists about theirs experiences with racism. 

Will serve as conversation starter and tool kit. ✔

Includes an encyclopedia of racism, with details on historical events and terminology. ✔

Best for ages 12+.

EDITORIAL REVIEW:

 

★ “A helpful, commanding guide for white Americans who are ready to learn how to dismantle the system of racism.”School Library Journal, STARRED review

 

 
 Fuses particular immigrant realities with supernatural elements. ✔

Suffused with Caribbean mysticism and magic. ✔

Features the fun and engaging heroine Gabrielle and her rather unlikely new friend. ✔

A thorough and intentional examination of the complexities of immigrating to the United States. ✔

Perfect for fans of Hurricane Child and Front Desk. ✔

Best for ages 8-12.   

EDITORIAL REVIEW:

★ “The beauty of this book lies in its depiction of not only the joy and excitement but the sacrifice and weight of immigration for young people…This book will shift the notion of what exactly it means to be Black, to be an immigrant, and to fit in and be accepted.” Booklist, STARRED review

 

 The story of three sisters visiting their mother, who abandoned them 7 years before. ✔

Moving and profound, yet funny and entertaining. ✔

Takes place during the civil rights movement in the 60s. ✔

A Newbery Honor novel and Scott O’Dell Award winner.  ✔

Features distinctive and memorable characters. ✔

Best for ages 8-12.   

Kids Review:

 

►”I really enjoyed this book, because it gave me a range of emotions, like humor, sadness, and joy. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction, and likes books that are profound or that linger in your head.” —Krithi

 

Inspired by the #1 New York Times bestseller She Persisted by Chelsea Clinton and Alexandra Boiger. ✔

Brings Harriet Tubman’s inspiring story to life for young readers.  ✔

Great for kids that are just starting to read chapter books. ✔

Part of a beloved series about the “Persisterhood”. ✔

Includes simple line drawings to add a visual element. ✔

Best for ages 6-9. 

EDITORIAL REVIEW:

* “Pinkney presents an accessible portrait of American abolitionist, activist, nurse, and spy Harriet Tubman . . . luminous.” —Publishers Weekly, *STARRED REVIEW*

 

A child-friendly look into a key time in Black History. ✔

Gives readers a glimpse into the early life of Rosa Parks. ✔

Engaging first-person narrative and illustrations draw kids in. ✔

Includes information about Rosa Parks’ involvement with the civil rights movements (NAACP, etc.) ✔

Exciting, and full of adventure with comic relief. ✔

Best for ages 5-8.

EDUCATOR Review:

►”This book is a great way to teach children about the racism that has plagued our country. The illustrations will keep the children engaged and they will learn a lot about the history. Rosa Parks is a very influential person in America and everyone should know her name and story!” —Ashley

 

Takes place on a Georgia plantation during the time of the Civil War and beyond. ✔

Encourages kids to use their talents for good, even in trying times. ✔

Creative “patchwork” illustrations bring the story to life. ✔

Upbeat and cheerful. ✔

Brings awareness to a little-known artist and her contributions to the world. ✔

Best for ages 4-8.   

EDITORIAL REVIEW

* “As a picture-book introduction to an unsung artist, it inspires. Harriet Powers: an artist worth knowing.”–Kirkus Reviews

 

One story for each day of the month of February. ✔

Each story features a different influential figure in African-American history. ✔ 

Full of powerful illustrations. ✔

Provides fresh material for Black History Month that kids may not have seen before. ✔

Accurate and succinct. ✔

Best for ages 6-10. 

Kids Review:

► “This book includes more than the traditional people that are always taught about during Black History Month. I feel that this book will engage its readers and teach some important historical facts.” —Dawn

 

Free-verse poetry to change up the rhythm of typical Black History Month material. ✔

The story of a man who was proactive to fill a need in his community. ✔

Highlights the importance of preserving and honoring Black history. ✔

Written by a Caldecott and Coretta Scott King Honor Winner. ✔

Sparks interest in reading and doing your own research. ✔

Best for ages 9-12.   

EDUCATOR Review:

 

► “I enjoyed this book because not many educators will educate their students on false history. Carole Boston does an amazing job telling this story without showing any bias or negativity towards races.” —Zarria

 

A heartbreaking and powerful story exposing the evils of racism in America. ✔

Marries the struggles of the past with the issues of the present. ✔

Written by a Coretta Scott King Award-winning author. ✔

Gives a different perspective on a community’s response to tragedy and injustice. ✔

Challenges privilege and implicit bias. ✔

Best for ages 10+.

Kids Review:

 

► “This was a really good book and it discusses a subject that people need to know about. There really is racism in the world and that needs to change. This book will surely start many important conversations and may help change the world.” —Alicia

 

Learn more about how Biblionasium supports independent reading and school libraries during these challenging times. 

 

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