Black History Month Book Recommendations

In honor of Black History Month, I thought it would be fun to recommend some favorite books that deal with civil rights and famous African Americans. Each Wednesday throughout the month of February I shared a selected book on our Build Your Library Facebook page. Here is the recap:

2/1/2017: Today I’m highlighting One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia. This novel takes place in Oakland CA in the late 1960s, and it is about three sisters visiting their estranged mother for the summer. Narrated by the eldest sister, Delphine, you really get to feel like you are there. Funny, heartbreaking, and powerful, this was one of my favorite picks for Build Your Library’s Grade 6 – American History, Part 2 curriculum.

2/8/2017: This week I want to share one of my favorite picture book biographies – A Weed is a Flower by Aliki. This is a story all about George Washington Carver’s life and achievements. Dr. Carver’s life is such an inspiration. He is a great example to teach our children about perseverance and striving to learn and be the best we can be. The prose is lovely, but my favorite thing about this book is the gorgeous artwork.

2/15/2017: For the third installment of my Black History Month book recommendations, I want to share a fabulous resource for poetry. I, Too, Sing America is a gorgeously illustrated book of African American poetry. It covers a range of poets, from Langston Hughes and Maya Angelou to Countee Cullen and Gwendolyn Brooks. It also includes a brief bio for each poet. This book is a great way to add some diversity to your poetry studies.

2/22/2017: For my final Black History Month book recommendation, I thought I’d share a book for teens and parents to enjoy. I’m currently reading Kindred by Octavia E. Butler and it’s fantastic. Not only is it the first science fiction published by an African American woman, it’s a very compelling read. The story is about a black woman who lives in the 1970s who, against her will, time travels to the antebellum South whenever her ancestor, a white slave owner, is in trouble. I appreciate the genre-bending, it’s both historical fiction and sci-fi, and the story is very well crafted. I think it gives a very realistic and stark portrayal of life in that time period, and I highly recommend it.

Honorable Mentions: Here are a couple final bonus recommendations:

  • To Kill a Mockingbird – This is one of my all time favorite books – set in a small southern town in the 1930s, this book explores the idea of racism and what it means to be human.
  • The Story Of Ruby Bridges: Special Anniversary Edition – Beautifully illustrated picture book about a dark time in our history. Though it is about a hard topic – segregation in the 1960s south, this book is told in a way that even a young child can relate.
  • Amos Fortune, Free Man – This is another book scheduled into Build Your Library curriculum, this time in Grade 5 – American History, Part 1. This Newberry Award Winning story is a compelling read about Amos Fortune – a man who was captured by slave traders in Africa and sold into slavery in America, but never stopped fighting for freedom for himself and his people.
  • Poetry for Young People: Langston Hughes – I’m a big fan of the Poetry for Young People series, and this month is a great time to study a famous African American poet like Langston Hughes. This is a great introduction to his life and work, and the illustrations are beautiful.

I hope your family enjoys these recommendations and can use some of them into your Black History Month homeschool studies. What are some of your favorites? I’d love for you to share them in the comments below.  🙂

Related Article(s): Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day


Emily Cook is the author and creator of the secular homeschool curriculum Build Your Library, a literature-based K-10 program infused with the teachings of Charlotte Mason. She writes full year lesson plans as well as shorter topical unit studies. Emily has been homeschooling her four children in Southern NH for 14 years. She is passionate about reading aloud to children of all ages and loves to share her love of literature with others. She and her family also makes incredibly dorky videos about homeschooling, books and more on Youtube at ARRRGH! Schooling. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
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