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4 Children’s Books to Celebrate Black History Month

by Anna Harpe
February 16, 2022
4 Children's Books for Black History Month_Feature

Check out these children’s books to celebrate Black History Month. Each book includes an accompanying art activity idea from Anna Harpe of KidLitCrafts.

Everyone’s bookshelf tells a story, don’t you think?  

Our interests, hobbies, the things we value–– I’ve always thought you can learn a lot about a person from the books they decide to keep. 

But what about our children’s bookshelves?  What story do they tell?

Over the last few years I’ve started following some fantastic Instagram accounts that have helped me be more intentional about the children’s books we bring into our home.  These accounts do a wonderful job of educating parents and recommending stories that reflect the beautifully diverse world in which we live.  

Check out (and start following!) the accounts below. Then keep reading to find four of our favorite books and activities to read and enjoy during Black History Month (or any time of the year).  

Photo @inclusivestorytime

4 Instagram Accounts to Follow for a More Diverse Bookshelf

1. Inclusive Story Time

I love Inclusive Story Time’s gorgeous photos and insightful reviews.  You’ll definitely find something for your next library trip after browsing her page. 

2. Books for Diversity

This account is a great go-to resource for a quick recommendation.  Lots of beautiful picture books featuring diverse characters and storylines!

3. Diverse Reads

Vera of Diverse Reads has a handy roundup each month of diverse books published.  And this January she was even able to include her own newly published book in that list! If you have older kids, you’ll definitely want to be following @diversereads for all her middle grade recommendations too.

4. Here Wee Read

@Hereweeread is a wonderful account to follow for both recommendations and literacy advice.  Charnaie is also involved in the nonprofit organization 50 States 50 Books which is helping to close the literacy gap by providing diverse books to kids nationwide.

Reading together is a wonderful way to connect with your kids, and allows you to learn and grow side by side. By following instagram accounts like the ones above, you’ll have plenty of great recommendations for your next library trip.

Need a quick place to start? Here are a few especially lovely nonfiction picture books and (because we just can’t resist!) some creative activities to try after reading:

Children’s Books to Celebrate Black History

Mae Among the Stars_ Children's Books for Black History Month
Photo by Anna Harpe

1. Mae Among the Stars

Mae Among the Stars is based on the life of Mae Jemison, the first African American female astronaut. While some biographies are a bit text-heavy for the younger crowd, this one is just perfect!

A simple story with beautiful illustrations, Mae Among the Stars is the perfect launching point for lots of discussions in your family.

My kids and I made these space paintings using bleeding tissue paper (such a FUN product designed to “bleed” color away onto the paper when wet), but regular watercolors would work too.

Try using a white crayon to create planets and stars first, then paint over the top to reveal the mysteries of space!

muddy_image_children's books for black history month
Photo by Anna Harpe

2. Muddy: The Story of Blues Legend Muddy Waters

This gorgeous book explores the early life of blues musician, Muddy Waters. With engaging, lyrical text and powerfully vibrant images, the story feels accessible to all ages. 

Inspired by the absolutely electric artwork throughout, we crafted up some homemade scratch art.  (Find the step-by-step tutorial HERE).

Try layering oil pastels and black paint, scratching through the dark surface to reveal pops of bright color. Of course, don’t forget to put on some Muddy Waters music while you’re creating!🎶🎵

Photo by Anna Harpe

3. Be a King: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Dream and You

Of course there are many wonderful books about Dr. King’s life and legacy, but I especially love this one because it’s so accessible to young kids.  Reading this book is the perfect way for even little ones to think about how they can follow in the footsteps of Dr. King with kindness and courage.

And how beautiful is this amazing project idea from The Creativity Project? Brain child of creative superstars, @artbarblog and @hatchartplay, The Creativity Project has some wonderful free printables and art ideas on their website.

fancy_gowns
Photo by Anna Harpe

4. Fancy Party Gowns

Fancy Party Gowns is a beautiful story about Ann Cole Lowe, the under-appreciated talent behind many high-society styles from the 1920s through the 60s. 

If you have a little aspiring designer at home, let them go wild with paints and an old dress!

This is the perfect way to rescue a favorite stained or torn outfit (this one suffered from hot chocolate spills and torn lace). The watercolor won’t last through the wash, but it sure will be fun until then!😍

If you enjoyed these books, you will absolutely LOVE the recommendations from the accounts above.  It’s never too late to change your bookshelf’s story.

More Children’s Books Recommendations

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4 Children\'s Books to Celebrate Black History Month
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