19 black children’s books by black authors

African AmericanBeginner Reader (5–6)Blachồng History MonthBook ListsDiversityearly readersFictionMiddle Gradenon-fictionpicture booksTween (9–12)


You’re here with a purpose. You want your shelves khổng lồ reflect the world around us. You want your children to see themselves, to see their friends, khổng lồ see their world, reflected in the stories that they read. We’re here lớn help.

You are reading: 19 black children’s books by black authors

Here are 57 more titles that are written by or feature African American characters & real world heroes. These fiction and nonfiction books are perfect for children of all ages — và adults will love sầu them, too!


Amy Hill Hearth: Streetoto khổng lồ Justice

One hundred years before Rosa Parks refused to give sầu up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, Elizabeth Jennings’s refusal lớn leave sầu a segregated streetoto in the Five sầu Points neighborhood of Manhatchảy phối inlớn motion a major court case in Thành Phố New York City. On her way to lớn church one day in July 1854, Elizabeth Jennings was refused a seat on a streetoto. When she took her seat anyway, she was bodily removed by the conductor và a nearby police officer và returned trang chủ bruised & injured. With the support of her family, the African American abolitionist community of New York, và Frederiông chồng Douglass, Elizabeth Jennings took her case to lớn court. Represented by a young lawyer named Chester A. Arthur (a future president of the United States) she was victorious, marking a major victory in the fight to lớn desegregate Thủ đô New York City’s public transportation.

Walter Dean Myers: Ida B. Wells

This picture book biography introduces the extraordinary Ida B. Wells. Long before boycotts, sit-ins, & freedom rides, Ida B. Wells was hard at work lớn better the lives of African Americans. An activist, educator, writer, journadanh mục, suffragette, and pioneering voice against the horror of lynching, she used fierce determination và the power of the pen khổng lồ educate the world about the unequal treatment of blacks in the United States.

Ntozake Shange: Coretta Scott

Walking many miles lớn school in the dusty road, young Coretta knew, too well, the unfairness of life in the segregated south. Together with Martin Luther King, Jr., she gave birth to lớn a vision và a journey — with dreams of freedom for all. This is an extraordinary picture book that captures the movement for civil rights in the United States.

Ann Petry: Harriet Tubman

This exceptional và award-winning biography focuses on the life of American anh hùng, Harriet Tubman, and her time as a conductor on the secret Underground Railroad. Author Ann Petry was the first African American woman writer with book sales topping a million copies. This publication of Harriet Tubman features a beautiful cover by Caldecott Honor illustrator Kadir Nelson & a forward by National Book Award finadanh sách Jason Reynolds.

Nadia L. Hohn: Harriet Tubman: Freedom Fighter

This book covers some of the amazing aspects of Tubman’s life: She led 13 escapes — all successful & at great personal risk — between 1850 và 1860. This book also covers some of the lesser-known amazing aspects of her life: During the Civil War, Harriet Tubman enlisted African American men khổng lồ be soldiers. She served as a spy. AND she led a battle under the comm& of a Union Army colonel! Beginning readers will learn about the milestones in Harriet Tubman’s life in this Level Two I Can Read biography.

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Catherine Clinton: When Harriet Met Sojourner

Two women with similar backgrounds. Both slaves; both fiercely independent. Both great, in different ways. Harriet Tubman: brave pioneer who led her fellow slaves to lớn freedom, larger than life . . . yearning to lớn be miễn phí. Sojourner Truth: svào woman who spoke up for African American rights, tall as a tree . . . yearning khổng lồ be free. One day in 1864, the lives of these two women came together. When Harriet Met Sojourner is a portrait of these two remarkable women, from their inauspicious beginnings lớn their pivotal roles in the battle for America’s future.

Walter Dean Myers và Floyd Cooper: Frederiông xã Douglass: The Lion Who Wrote History


This picture book biography is great for younger readers just starting khổng lồ learn about U.S. history. A self-educated slave, Frederiông xã Douglass grew up to become an inhỏ, leader of the abolitionist movement, celebrated writer, & one of the most revered figures in history. Walter Dean Myers was an award winning and prolific author, as well as a tireless mentor of many authors writing today. The annual We Need Diverse Books “Walter Awards” is named in his honor và given to lớn authors of outstanding children’s literature.

Andrea Davis Pinkney: Boycott Blues

Rosa Parks took a stvà by keeping her seat on the bus. When she was arrested for it, her supporters protested by refusing to ride. Soon a community of thousands was coming together khổng lồ help one another get where they needed khổng lồ go. Some started taxis, some rode bikes, but they all walked & walked. With dogged feet. With dog-tired feet. With boycott feet. With boycott blues. And, after 382 days of walking, they walked Jyên ổn Crow right out of town.

Walter Dean Myers: Malcolm X

“I believe in recognizing every human being as a human being, neither Trắng, blaông xã, brown, nor red.”

This was just one of the messages that Malcolm X brought to people of color. He lived by the idea that blaông xã people should demand echất lượng by taking their lives & futures inlớn their own hands. With guidance from the religious leader Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm became one of the most powerful leaders of the civil rights movement during the 1950s và 1960s, & his beliefs live sầu on today.

Martin Luther King III: My Daddy, Dr. Martin Luther King

What was it lượt thích growing up as a son of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.? This picture book memoir, My Daddy, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.by Martin Luther King III, provides insight into lớn one of history’s most fascinating families và inlớn a special bond between father and son.

Walter Dean Myers: I’ve sầu Seen the Promised Lvà


Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is one of the most celebrated figures of the twentieth century. A crusader for nonviolent social justice, he led African Americans in their demands for echất lượng through peaceful protests during one of the most tumultuous times in recent history. Set against key moments in the civil rights movement, here is the story of the powerful, eloquent spiritual leader & his belief that nonviolence could be used to lớn overcome racial discrimination.

Ann Turner: My Name Is Truth


Written in the fiery và eloquent voice of Sojourner Truth herself, My Name Is Truth will captivate readers just as Sojourner’s passionate words enthralled her listeners. The text by acclaimed author Ann Turner and the paintings from award-winning illustrator James Ransome underwent expert Review by two historians of the period.

Sally M. Walker: Freedom Song

Henry “Box” Brown’s ingenious escape from slavery is celebrated for its daring & originality. Throughout his life, Henry was fortified by music, family, và a dream of freedom. When he seemed to đại bại everything, he forged these elements into the tuy nhiên that sustained hyên ổn through the careful planning and execution of his perilous journey to lớn the North.

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Gene Barretta: The Secret Garden of George Washington Carver

When George Washington Carver was just a young child, he had a secret: a garden of his own. Here, he rolled dirt between his fingers to lớn kiểm tra if plants needed more rain or sun. He protected roots through harsh winters, so plants could be reborn in the spring. He trimmed flowers, spread soil, studied life cycles. And it was in this very place that George’s love sầu of nature sprouted inkhổng lồ something so much more—his future.

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Jennifer Berne: Look Up With Me

Neil deGrasse Tyson was born curious. And the secrets of a billion galaxies lay there—waiting for him to explore its cosmic mysteries. He just had to lớn look up. Up beyond the city lights, up at the shining stars, up through the Milky Way, & past the veil of the night sky. Follow young Neil’s journey as he discovers the wonders of space, the thrill of science, and the joy in sharing the beauty of our amazing universe. Read his favorite mind-blowing facts & learn what mysteries are left lớn solve.

Lelvà Melvin: Chasing Space Young Readers Edition

Margot Lee Shetterly: Hidden Figures Hidden Figures Young Readers” Edition


This powerful story of four African-American female mathematicians is now an award-winning movie! Besides documenting the incredible lives of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, và Christine Darden, this biography also teaches readers about the Civil Rights era and the movements for gender equality. 

Rodomain authority Ahmed: Mae Among mỏi the Stars

In her debut picture book, Roda Ahmover tells the inspiring story of Mae Jemison who dreamed of nhảy in amuốn the stars và went on to become the first African-American woman khổng lồ travel khổng lồ space. Against all odds, Mae overcame incredible obstacles lớn become an astronaut, và this picture book biography will inspire kids to vày the same.


Megan Reid: Althea Gibson: The Story of Tennis’ Fleet-of-Foot Girl

Althea Gibson was the quickest, tallest, most fearless athlete in 1940s Harlem. She couldn’t sit still! When she put her mind khổng lồ it, the fleet-of-foot girl reigned supreme at every sport—stickball with the boys, basketball with the girls, paddle tennis with anyone who would hit with her. But being the quickest, tallest, most fearless player in Harlem wasn’t enough for Althea. She knew she could be a tennis champion.

Lea Lyon & A. LaFaye: Ready khổng lồ Fly: How Sylvia Townsover Became the Bookđiện thoại Ballerina

Ready to lớn Fly is the true story of Sylvia Townsend, an African American girl who falls in love sầu with ballet after seeing Swan Lake on TV. Although there aren’t many ballet schools that will accept a girl lượt thích Sylvia in the 1950s, her local bookthiết bị di động provides another possibility. A librarian helps Sylvia find a book about ballet & the determined seven-year-old, with the help of her new books, starts teaching herself the basics of classical ballet. Soon Sylvia learns how to fly—how khổng lồ dance—and how lớn dare to dream.

Gene Barretta: Muhammad Ali: A Champion Is Born

In this picture book biography of Muhammad Ali, author Gene Barretta & illustrator Frank Morrison tell the unforgettable childhood story of this legendary boxing champion and how one pivotal moment mix hyên on his path to become the Greatest of All Time.

Jonah Winter: Barack

It began in Kansas, home page of Barack’s mother. It began in Africa, trang chủ of Barack’s father. It began in Hawaii one moonlit night, the night that Barachồng was born.

Sometimes it was a lonely journey. Sometimes it was an enchanted journey. But throughout this most unusual ride, this boy often wondered: Who am I? Where vị I belong?

Kadir Nelson: Nelson Mandela

In this lush, acclaimed book, award-winning author-illustrator Kadir Nelson tells the story of global icon and Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela in poignant miễn phí verse & glorious illustrations. It is the story of a young boy’s determination khổng lồ change South Africa, and of the struggles of a man who eventually became the president of his country. Mandela believed in equality for all people, no matter the color of their skin. Readers will be inspired by Mandela’s triumph and his lifelong quest lớn create a more just world.

Nina Nolan: Mahalia Jackson

Even as a young girl, Mahalia Jackson loved gospel music. Life was difficult for Mahalia growing up, but singing gospel always lifted her spirits and made her feel special. She soon realized that her powerful voice stirred everyone around her, and she wanted khổng lồ chia sẻ that with the world. Although she was met with hardships along the way, Mahalia never gave up on her dreams. Mahalia’s extraordinary journey eventually took her khổng lồ the historic March on Washington, where she lịch sự khổng lồ thousands & inspired them khổng lồ find their own voices.

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Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen: The United States v. Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson broke boundaries as the first African American player in Major League Baseball. But long before Jackie changed the world in a Dodger uniform, he did it in an army unikhung. As a soldier during World War II, Jackie experienced segregation every day — separate places for blaông chồng soldiers to lớn sit, khổng lồ eat, và to live. When the army outlawed segregation on military posts & buses, things were supposed khổng lồ change. So when Jackie was ordered by a trắng bus driver to lớn move sầu khổng lồ the baông chồng of a military bus, he refused. Instead of defending Jackie’s rights, the military police took hlặng khổng lồ trial. But Jackie would st& up for what was right, even when it was difficult to lớn bởi.


Kadir Nelson: Heart and Soul: The Story of America & African Americans

The winner of several awards, Kadir Nelson’s beautifully illustrated novel is a story of hope & inspiration. Told from the point of view of a one-hundred-year-old African-American woman, the book showcases a divided America và the struggles to achieve liberty! Kadir Nelson is a Caldecott Honor Award winner, NAACP. Image Award winner, & a Coretta Scott King tác giả Award winner.

Charles R. Smith, Jr.: Briông chồng by Brick

The home page of the United States president was built by many hands, including those of slaves, who undertook this amazing achievement long before there were machines to lớn vị those same jobs. Stirring & emotional, Floyd Cooper’s stunning illustrations bring to life the faces of those who endured hard, brutal work when the profit of their labor was paid lớn the master, not the slave. The fact that many were able to purchase their freedom after earning money from learning a trade speaks to the strength of those individuals. They created this iconic emblem of America, briông chồng by brick.

Walter Dean Myers & Bill Miles: The Harlem Hellfighters

The story of the Harlem Hellfighters is not simply one of victory in a war. . . . It is the story of men who acted as men, & who gave a good account of themselves when so many people thought, even hoped, that they would fail. The “Harlem Hellfighters,” the African American soldiers of the 369th Infantry Regiment of World War I, redefined heroism-for America, and for the world. At a time of widespread bigotry & racism, these soldiers put their lives on the line in the name of democracy.

Faith Ringgold: Harlem Renaissance Party

Lonnie & his uncle go baông xã khổng lồ Harlem in the 1920s. Along the way, they meet famous writers, musicians, artists, và athletes, from Langston Hughes và W.E.B. Du Bois to lớn Josephine Baker & Zora Neale Hurston and many more, who created this incredible period. And after an exciting day of walking with giants, Lonnie fully understands why the Harlem Renaissance is so important.

Ntozake Shange: We Troubled the Waters

From slavery to lớn the separation of “colored” và “white” và from horrifying oppression to lớn inspiring courage, there are countless stories—both forgotten và immortalized—of everyday & extraordinary people who acted for justice during the civil rights movement that changed our nation.

Ntozake Shange: Freedom’s A-Callin’ Me

 Award-winning poet Ntozake Shange & artist Rod Brown reimagine the journeys of the brave sầu men and women who made their way to lớn freedom on the Underground Railroad. Fleeing on the Underground Railroad meant walking long distances; swimming across streams; hiding in abandoned shanties, swamps, and ditches, always on the run from slave trackers and their dogs.

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Jacob Lawrence: The Great Migration: An American Story

After World War I, large numbers of African Americans began leaving their homes in the rural South in tìm kiếm of employment, and a better life, in the industrial cities of the North lượt thích Chicago and Pittsburgh.

Jacob Lawrence chronicled their journey of hope in his sixty-panel Migration Series, a flowing narrative sầu sequence of paintings that can now be found divided between the Museum of Modern Art & the Phillips Collection.

In this profound picture book, Lawrence brings all those landmark paintings together and pairs them with poetic text that further explores the experience of those enduring this mass exodus. 

Categories: literature

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