February is Black History Month, and while I as a white woman can’t begin to understand the Black experience, I can do my part to educate myself and my young patrons – and to actively work toward an anti-racist future. To that end, here are 10 picture book titles I’ll be highlighting and recommending this February ( as well as the rest of the year):
The ABCs of Black History by Rio Cortez
From anthem to zenith, this book covers important figures, events and concepts across a wide range of Black experiences.
Black is a Rainbow Color by Angela Joy
This title is a beautiful celebration of Black culture and history shared through the eyes of a child considering the colors in the rainbow.
All Because You Matter by Tami Charles
An ode to Black children everywhere, full of messages of hope and love while never shying away from the painful realities of racism.
Magnificent Homespun Brown by Samara Cole Doyon
Told through the eyes of multiple young brown children, this lyrical picture book celebrates the many different browns of our world – from shadows and churning waters to eyes and hair.
I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes
Another beautiful ode to Black boy excellence from the incomparable Derrick Barnes.
Shirley Chisholm Is a Verb by Veronica Chambers
The inspiring story of Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman in Congress, who also sought the Democratic nomination for president.
The Highest Tribute: Thurgood Marshall’s Life, Leadership, and Legacy by Kekla Magoon
Another brilliant new biography, this one of Civil Rights activist and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.
Jump at the Sun: The True Life Tale of Unstoppable Storycatcher Zora Neale Hurston by Alicia D. Williams
A gorgeous new biography of extraordinary storyteller Zora Neale Hurston, from childhood on.
Dark Was the Night: Blind Willie Johnson’s Journey to the Stars by Gary Golio
The story of musician Blind Willie Johnson, whose song “Dark Was the Night” was included on the Voyager I space probe’s Golden Record.
The Teachers March! How Selma’s Teachers Changed History by Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace
A tribute to the educators who participated in the 1965 Selma Teachers’ March for voting rights.
Looking for even more reading recommendations? Check out these lists:
Black History Month Display (ALSC)
100 Best Children’s Books for African American History Month (Book Riot)
21 Picture Books for Black History Month (Colours of Us)
24 Children’s Books to Read to Your Kids in Honor of Black History Month (HuffPost)
This is more of a critique of ALSC than the author of the article. This is a nice list, but why would ALSC choose a white woman to be the voice of Black History Month recommendations? The author does everyone a favor by expressing their point of view, but really ALSC? You can’t find a Black person to write a list? Or do you not see the problems with choosing a white person for this context? Either way, looks bad.
Thank you for this feedback, Jenny. ALSC does not choose the topics for our monthly bloggers. Our monthly bloggers pick their own topics related to library service to children and which align with the blog’s mission and policies. We accept guest submissions on a rolling basis as well on topics also related to library service to children which align with our mission and policies. Considering your feedback though, I want to share with you that the ALSC Board recently discussed ways we can ensure diverse voices are represented on this platform. In March, we will be implementing a recruitment form to encourage and survey the targeted recruitment of diverse topics and voices. Thank you again.
– Elizabeth Serrano, ALSC Membership and Marketing Specialist