15+ Black History Month Books For Kids



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These books touch on tough topics that remain pertinent today. Read them with your kids to help start a conversation during Black History Month and beyond.

In recognition of Black History Month, we talked to Che Marville about how parents can discuss racism, diversity and inclusion with their kids. Che was the first social science researcher at the Ontario Science Centre and is now a writer, coach, and a mom. She discusses why it’s important to have ongoing conversations with our kids about race and how Canadians can celebrate Black History Month in a positive and nourishing way. Listen to it here.

Book called If You Were a Kid During the Civil Rights Movement
Book cover of a Black girl holds a guitar in front of a colourful wall
Book cover called The ABCs of Black History with a little Black girl reaching for a book in the library
Book cover for Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: The Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement, All ages
Picture book for Black History Month called Little Leaders Bold Women in History
Book cover featuring Black children holding signs. The book is called Let the children march
Book cover of four Black women with scientific formulas overlaid on their clothes. The book is called Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race
Book cover of Harriet Tubman that say's Before she was harriet
Book cover of a Black boy in the woods, the title says Elijah of Buxton
Henry's Freedom Box: A True Story From The Underground Railroad
Follow The Drinking Gourd
book cover of a little girl going into a school called The Story of Ruby Bridges
Skit-Scat Raggedy Cat: Ella Fitzgerald
book cover called Underground to canada
Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

If You Were a Kid During the Civil Rights Movement, Ages 7-9

Geared towards the seven-to-nine-year-old age group, readers follow the POV of two young girls, Joyce Jenkins and Connie Underwood, who find themselves at a civil rights demonstrations. $10, amazon.ca

Change Sings: A Children's Anthem

"I can hear change humming in its loudest, proudest song. I don't fear change coming, and so I sing along." Powerful words from poet and activist Amanda Gorman, who recited The Hill We Climb at Joe Biden's inauguration. The lyrical picture book tells a story of a young girl leading others on a musical journey. Because when we join our voices, anything is possible. $25, indigo.ca 

The ABCs of Black History

Lively verses and bright illustrations celebrate Black culture, history and people. Each letter of the alphabet represents an important part. Like K for Kwanzaa and H for Harlem and Zora Neale Hurston. Or, R for reaching for the top. $20, amazon.ca

Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: The Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement

Frannie Lou Hamer never stopped advocating for equal rights. Even after she was nearly beaten to death for it. This book uses mixed-media art to tell Hamer's story and honour her legacy as a champion of civil rights. $24, amazon.ca

Little Leaders: Bold Women In Black History, Ages 8 and up

Beautiful illustrations help give an inspiring history lesson on the Black leaders who have all done big, inspiring things. Ranging from hero to role model to everyday women, this book shines a light on 18 important trailblazers whose beliefs and actions helped shape a better world for the next generation of women and girls. $22, amazon.ca

Let The Children March, Ages 6 and up

This book takes us back to 1963, telling the powerful story of thousands of African American children marching for their civil rights in Birmingham, Alabama after hearing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speak. They faced hate and danger to protest the laws of segregation but used their voices to take a stand. $24, amazon.ca

Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race, Ages 8 and up

Based on the Academy Award-nominated film and the bestselling book, Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson and Christine Darden worked as mathematicians at NASA and overcame racial and gender barriers, providing calculations that aided in some of the greatest space missions. $22, amazon.ca

Before She Was Harriet, Ages 4-7

A powerful story told in beautiful prose and accompanied by stunning watercolour, we know about Harriet Tubman's bravery leading hundreds to freedom, but who was she before that? This book unpacks her life as a slave with an unbreakable spirit who learned early on about the stars, which would eventually take her to freedom. $12, amazon.ca

Elijah of Buxton, Age 11+

Elijah is 11 and lives in Buxton, Canada, a place near the American border where runaway slaves live. He's the first child in town that was born free, but he's forced on a mission to track down a thief when a former slave steals money from a friend who had been saving to buy his family from captivity. It's a dangerous journey, but he knows he needs to embark on it. $10, amazon.ca

Henry's Freedom Box: A True Story From The Underground Railroad, Ages 6 and up

Slaves don't have birthdays because no one keeps record. After a life of no birthdays, Henry makes a risky move and mails himself in a box to the north. It's his first birthday celebration, freedom. $20, indigo.ca

Follow The Drinking Gourd, Ages 5 and up

Based on a folktale about a sailor teaching slaves a song to "follow the drinking gourd" (which is the Big Dipper) to find safety in the north. This colourful story highlights the importance of the Underground Railway and the vital role it played in helping thousands find freedom. $11, indigo.ca

The Story of Ruby Bridges, Ages 4-8

Ruby Bridges was six years old in 1960. She and her family moved to New Orleans from Mississippi to seek out a better life. When it came time to start school, Ruby was ordered to attend first grade at all-white William Frantz Elementary where she bravely faced a mob of angry parents who refused to send their kids to school with her. $9, indigo.ca

Skit-Scat Raggedy Cat: Ella Fitzgerald, Ages 5-9

Before Ella Fitzgerald was the jazz singer we all know, she was an orphan who would dance on the street for loose change. This book chronicles her young life and that fateful day when she realized she had a gift for song at amateur night at Harlem's Apollo Theatre. $11, amazon.ca

Underground To Canada, Ages 9-12

In this fictional tale, based on studies of real events and routes, two girls dream of going to Canada where slavery isn't allowed. With the help of workers from the Underground Railroad, they make a break, but slave catchers are hot on their trail. $11, indigo.ca

Granddaddy's Turn: A Journey To The Ballot Box, Ages 5-8

Michael is a little boy living in the segregated south, one day his granddaddy heads into town in a fancy suit to vote for the very first time. $23, indigo.ca

Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

In this age-appropriate biography, kids will learn about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s life and his dreams for a better world. Including reading some of his powerful words, all accompanied by beautiful artwork. $9, indigo.ca
If You Were a Kid During the Civil Rights Movement, Ages 7-9
Change Sings: A Children's Anthem
The ABCs of Black History
Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: The Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement
Little Leaders: Bold Women In Black History, Ages 8 and up
Let The Children March, Ages 6 and up
Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race, Ages 8 and up
Before She Was Harriet, Ages 4-7
Elijah of Buxton, Age 11+
Henry's Freedom Box: A True Story From The Underground Railroad, Ages 6 and up
Follow The Drinking Gourd, Ages 5 and up
The Story of Ruby Bridges, Ages 4-8
Skit-Scat Raggedy Cat: Ella Fitzgerald, Ages 5-9
Underground To Canada, Ages 9-12
Granddaddy's Turn: A Journey To The Ballot Box, Ages 5-8
Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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