Some of My Favorite Reads: Black History Month
February 8, 2019
February is a short month with a LOT to fit in and it seems to me that Black History month gets the short end of the stick since this month quickly passes by. Over the past few years, I have really tried to put some serious effort into diversifying my classroom (and home) library. Today, I just wanted to share a few of my favorite reads, both fiction and nonfiction, which feature Black main characters.
Needless to say, these books are great read alouds for any time of year, but if you happen to be looking for a couple new texts to add to your collection, these are sure to be a hit. I will share a little snippet about each book below!
FYI: I included links to each book below. These links are affiliate links which means I get a tiny kickback from the purchase made through the link. You can also find these books at your local library and look for some of them in your Scholastic Book Club flyers!
This is a new book and it is everything. I was so excited to open this book up and dive right in. It is a collection of 14 different poems about young women who changed the world and “shook things up” in their own profession. Now, all the women in this story aren’t POC, but there are many notable black women featured in this book like Rosa Parks, Molly Williams, and Mae Jemison. This empowering read aloud is also illustrated by 13 amazing women, so double points for this one!
This book has been causing a buzz around the internet since it came out last year and rightfully so. Beautifully written, this story will inspire your students to follow their dreams as they learn about Mae Jemison and her journey towards becoming the first African American woman in space!
Wilma Rudolph defies ALL the odds on her journey to becoming the first ever American woman to win gold medals in one single olympiad. After being diagnosed with polio when she was very young, Wilma Rudolph was told she would never walk again. My students are always wide-eyed by the end of this story and seeing just how much this heroine overcomes!
This one is an oldie, but a goodie! Grace is a creative young girl who loves to read and use her imagination. She wants to be Peter Pan in the school play, but she is told she can’t because she is a girl and she is black. This fiction story really displays a determined and talented young girl who breaks the mold and lets her classmates see that she really can do or be anything!
Okay, realistically, I would like to put Snowy Day, Goggles, Whistle for Willie and more of Ezra Jack Keats’ books here. I just love the storytelling Keats uses to entertain the readers. His main character in these stories, Peter, is not only relatable, but also serves as a mirror for your black students. Keats was ahead of his time when he chose to feature a young, black protaganist in his stories and the hope is that students can see and recognize themselves as everyday leaders and storytellers.
This book delivers the stories of FORTY amazingly bold women in black history! This text is one I love to read throughout February and highlight a few different women each day. The pages are filled with beautiful illustrations of these women and a short biography of their triumphant victories in life. As an adult, I (embarassingly so) hadn’t heard of a few of these women so I would guess your students haven’t heard of them either. What a great time to teach, inspire, and learn together!
There are SO MANY other books I could recommend about important men and women in Black History or featuring black protagonists, but these are the ones I’ve been thinking about and re-reading lately so I wanted to share them with you all! Some old, some new, a little something for everyone!
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