Book Recommendations: Black History Reads

I’m finally getting ahead of this month’s Book Scouts to share with you a very exciting list that I hope you can use this month and throughout the year! When compiling this list, I found myself getting more and more uplifted and inspired by the sheer number of books I came across featuring Black MCs. While we still have a long way to go in regard to representation, there are so many great books being published every day about the Black experience or featuring characters of color (as evidenced by this year’s ALA Youth Media Award winners). But since I had billed this particular Book Scouts as focusing on important people, places, and events in the fight for civil rights, I tried to stick to the historical aspect, along with biographies of people who broke color barriers in their particular fields. (I quickly found out that non-fiction is my jam on this particular subject. I really had to slow my roll and make sure I squeezed in some fiction as well.) A few of the fiction books have a contemporary setting, but the characters are either learning about the history of those who came before them or the stories tackle current events, which is just history unfolding right now.

Picture Books

Mae Among the Stars by Rhoda Ahmed
Let the Children March by Monica Clark-Robinson

Chapter Books

Finding Langston by Lesa Cline-Ransome
It All Comes Down to This by Karen English
Armstrong & Charlie by Steven B. Frank
Midnight Without a Moon by Linda Williams Jackson
The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson
Now Let Me Fly: The Story of a Slave Family by Dolores Johnson
Night on Fire by Ronald Kidd
The Stars Beneath Our Feet by David Barclay Moore
A Good Kind of Trouble by Lisa Ramee
Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker-Rhodes
Betty Before X by Ilyasah Shabazz
Some Places More Than Others by Renee Watson
My Year in the Middle by Lila Quintero Weaver
The Unsung Hero of Birdsong, USA by Brenda Woods


The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander
What Do You Do With a Voice Like That?: The Story of Extraordinary Congresswoman Barbara Jordan by Chris Barton
Whoosh!: Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions by Chris Barton
Fearless Mary: Mary Fields, American Stagecoach Driver by Tami Charles
Before She Was Harriet by Lesa Cline-Ransome
Marley Dias Gets It Done and So Can You! by Marley Dias
Never Caught: The Story of Ona Judge, George and Martha Washington’s Courageous Slave Who Dared to Run Away (Young Reader’s Edition) by Erica Armstrong Dunbar
Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop: The Sanitation Strike of 1968 by Alice Faye Duncan
The Escape of Robert Smalls: A Daring Voyage Out of Slavery by Jehan Jones-Radgowski
Starstruck: The Cosmic Journey of Neil deGrasse Tyson by Kathleen Krull
Brave Ballerina: The Story of Janet Collins by Michelle Meadows
Chasing Space: Young Reader’s Edition by Leland Melvin
The Doctor With an Eye for Eyes: The Story of Dr. Patricia Bath by Julia Finley Mosca
The Girl With a Mind for Math: The Story of Raye Montague by Julia Finley Mosca
Someday Is Now: Clara Luper and the 1958 Oklahoma Sit-Ins by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich
Child of the Dream: A Memoir of 1963 by Sharon Robinson
Pies From Nowhere: How Georgia Gilmore Sustained the Montgomery Bus Boycott by Dee Romito
Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly

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