February is Black History Month. If you’re interested in going beyond the basics this year, these recommendations from the New Orleans Public Library are a great place to start.
Young readers can learn about the little-known men and women who suffered and struggled to build a country, a culture, and institutions in Wade Hudson and E.B. Lewis’ Invincible: Fathers and Mothers of Black America. Through Hudson’s lyrical prose, children will see the slow process by which Black Americans fought for justice over the course of many generations.
J. Owens and Keisha Okafor’s A Song So Black, So Proud! is a fun and informative examination of James Brown’s pivotal song. Penned in 1968 as a civil rights anthem, the iconic song is a celebration of Black pride and identity. Now, this joyful tale captures that same message, while also providing historical and cultural context.
To Boldly Go: How Nichelle Nichols and Star Trek Helped Advance Civil Rights by Angela Dalto & Lauren Semmer tells the true story of a Black actor and how she inspired a new generation of diverse astronauts and others in the STEM fields. This book is a wonderful choice to share Black history outside its normal themes and characters.
On This Day in Black History by Chrostim Farley is a fantastic year-round resource to empower and educate kids about Black history. Through milestone events in sports, music, art, history, politics, and more, readers learn about the achievements and setbacks in the lives of Black men and women as they fought for the world’s respect.
Arranged by day of the year, this empowering and educational book showcases milestones in Black sports, music, art, history, politics, and more, covering both achievements and setbacks in the lives of Black men and women as they fought for the world’s respect.
A Year of Black Joy: 52 Black Voices Share Their Life Passions is an uplifting collection of Black history. Curated by Jamia Wilson & illustrated by Jade Orlando, this book aims to share the many layers and dimensions of Black life and contributions that exist outside of trauma. With expert contributors ranging in fields from astrology to beekeeping, baking and so much more, this book is sure to inspire joy in readers of all backgrounds.
For teens, M.J. Fievre and Becca Anderson’s Female, Gifted, & Black: Awesome Art and Literary Pioneers Who Changed the World is a similarly uplifting compilation of inspiring Black women throughout history.
Amanda Gorman, Alice Walker, Warsan Shire, Eartha Kitt, Gloria Hendry, Issa Rae, Pearl Bailey, and Shonda Rhimes are just a few of the dozens of powerful Black female figures who are sure to inspire trailblazers through their strength, perseverance, and talent.
In Those Who Saw the Sun: African American Oral Histories from the Jim Crow South, Jaha Nailah Avery takes readers back to the Jim Crow South through the words of those who experienced it firsthand. The opportunity to read their stories, their similarities, and their differences is a gift to a younger generation.