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I went back and forth about whether to make a full blog post for this list of books but a conversation at the bus stop gave me the sense that this deserves one. I’m reminded each morning at the bus stop how blessed my family is to live in such a diverse neighborhood. Every day, I get to hear children chattering in 6 different languages and engage with these incredible moms from all over the world. This morning’s conversation started out talking about the usual topic, our kids. But, today our conversation took on such a bigger meaning.
Three of us were talking- 2 white women and one black. One of the little boys was grumpy and his mom shared that he was upset he had to redo his project. Guys- her son did his Black History Month Project on… drumroll… ALBERT EINSTEIN. And he was fighting with his mom because she was making him redo it. Ya’ll, we were laughing so hard I started to cry. Bless him. But, yeah… he’s gonna need to redo that. We continued chatting and both women shared that they NEVER learned about Black History in school. My jaw could have hit the floor. I found this so surprising because as a history teacher I made it such a point to share the stories of men and women of color in our curriculum. The mom who is black said the most heart breaking thing: “It’s like they just erased us from history. The only thing I learned about black people was that they were slaves.” Queue tears. I was already weepy from laughing but now I was even more so from how sad and profound a loss this was for both of them. Two women- one white and one black- both remembering with sadness the lessons school never taught. Fortunately, our school is celebrating Black History Month but hearing these moms’ stories about how they didn’t learn about it in school was a stark reminder that we cannot count on schools to do all of the teaching. Children’s books are a wonderful way to introduce kids to people and events they may not be familiar with and to create teachable moments.
Every time a major holiday or historical anniversary approaches I get messages from members of my Facebook Group about book suggestions for kids. And I am NEVER unhappy to see one! There are few things I love in this world more than children’s books and I never say no to an opportunity to talk books and share favorites. As a former history teacher I have a soft spot for biographies and historical books so this list was a joy to create.
Children’s Books for Black History Month:
To shop these you can click on any of the cover photos. Or you can see a comprehensive list all in once spot on my Amazon Storefront here: https://amzn.to/3tsDh2E Or just jot down a few titles to check out from your local library.
About The List
For the purposes of this list I selected non-fiction titles that highlight the accomplishments of Black Americans. I wanted to highlight books that provided insight into the important contributions Black Americans have made to our nation and world. These are titles that I love as an educator and mother and I made a concerted effort to also include books about people the children might not be familiar with and not just the “big” names in Black History. I believe that in sharing these stories with our children we are teaching so much more than history- we are providing examples of people who overcame struggles, stood up for what was right even when it was difficult, and people who made the impossible possible. In the words of my friend Ayesha, “It’s up to us, ALL of us, to help our kids be better than we are when it comes to ending prejudice, but also, it’s up to us to be sure our black children know where they came from, more than slavery, and for our white children to see our kids of color as equals, able to do the same great things they have the opportunities to do and to understand they weren’t always treated that way and in some cases, still aren’t treated as equals.” We need to teach our children that they have an important role to play in changing the way our world looks at race and how we treat each other and that they aren’t too young to start. If we want the world to be a better place for our children we must raise children who share in this vision. And there’s no better time to start than now.
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