12 Children’s Books That Teach Kids About Black Heroes

Illustrated children's books teach kids about black leaders in art, music, science, entertainment, and social activism.

Harlem'sLittleBlackbird 2

Having children read illustrated books about people who have made a difference in the world in science, music, art, and social activism is a fun and engaging way for them to learn about history. Buzz Feed compiled a list of 26 children’s books focused on celebrating black heroes. Check out the list below:

Harlem’s Little Blackbird: Tells the story of Florence Mills, a singer with a voice like a bird. Mills became popular during the Harlem Renaissance, appeared in shows on Broadway, and became an advocate for black performers.

A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin by Jen Bryant tells the story of Horace Pippin, an artist who overcame a war injury to his arm and went on to have his paintings displayed in museums all over the country.

Dizzy by Jonah WinterDizzy Gillespie, a trumpeter, bandleader, and composer who popularized the bebop style of jazz.

Fly High!: The Story of Bessie Coleman by Louise Borden and Mary Kay Kroeger. Bessie Coleman is the first African American to have a pilot’s license — she traveled all the way to France to earn her license after every American school refused to teach her.

Wangari’s Trees of Peace:  Author Jeanette Winter tells the story of  Wangari Maathai, an environmentalist who began her path to winning the Nobel Peace Prize by simply planting a few seedlings.

Salt in His Shoes by Deloris Jordan and Roslyn M. Jordan, the sisters of Michael Jordan; recognized by many as the most famous basketball player of all time. The story focuses on Michael Jordan’s childhood.

Gordon Parks: How the Photographer Captured Black and White America by Carole Boston Weatherford. Gordon Parks is a photographer who captured racism with his camera and eventually became the first black director in Hollywood.

Sojourner Truth’s Step-Stomp Stride by Andrea Davis Pinkney and Brian Pinkney. This books tells the story of Sojourner Truth, one of the most notable women from the 19th century, a  freed slave who used her strength to become an abolitionist and women’s rights activist.

Little Melba and Her Big Trombone by Katheryn Russell-Brown, highlights Melba Liston; a child prodigy trombonist who played with everyone from Count Basie to Billie Holiday.

Alvin Ailey: Andrea Davis Pinkney tells the story of Alvin Ailey, a choreographer and dancer whose work helped transformed the perception of modern dance and lives on through the Alvin Ailey Center in New York.

I Am Jackie RobinsonWith the inspiring message — “We all can be hereos,” author Brad Meltzer tells the story of Jackie Robinson, the first black player in Major League Baseball.

When the Beat Was Born: DJ Kool Herc and the Creation of Hip-Hop by Laban Carrick Hill. Clive Campbell, also known as DJ Kool Herc, is credited for bringing hip-hop music to the scene during the 1970’s.

Read More: Buzz Feed.

4 Responses to 12 Children’s Books That Teach Kids About Black Heroes

  1. Pingback: 12 Children’s Books That Teach Kids About Black Heroes | BlackPride.in

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  3. Angelique says:

    How could you leave Sankofa SuperHerus off this list? Definitely incomplete!

  4. Pingback: African History Resources | Pearltrees

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