Black History Month Book Recommendations 2020

February 1, 2020

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

2/5/2020: My first Black History Month book recommendation this year isTristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia – I have been raving about this book since I read it back in November of 2019. Part of Rick Riordan’s ownvoices imprint, Tristan Strong is about a boy dealing with the death of his best friend, who gets sucked into an adventure in a world of African American folktales that he’s grown up hearing from his grandmother. It’s a beautiful study in dealing with grief and discovering what it means to be a hero, all with vivid characters, excellent writing, and rich worldbuilding.

2/12/2020: Today’s Black History Month book recommendation is This Jazz Man by Karen Ehrhardt and illustrated by R. G. Roth. This is a toe-tapping tribute to the jazz genre, and a fun way to introduce your children to nine of the most famous jazz musicians through rhyme and vibrant illustrations.

2/19/2020: Today’s Black History Month book recommendation is Let It Shine: Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters by Andrea Davis Pinkney, illustrated by Stephen Alcorn. This is an inspiring collection of biographies of ten black women who made great impact on American history through their persistence and courage, from Harriet Tubman to Shirley Chisholm. 

2/26/2020: My last Black History Month book recommendation is Henry’s Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad by Ellen Levine, illustrated by Kadir Nelson. This beautifully illustrated picture book tells the gripping tale of Henry Brown, a slave who dreams of freedom after being separated from his family and sent to work in a warehouse. One day, he devises the perfect plan to freedom – shipping himself to Philadelphia in a crate. 


Honorable Mentions

Here are a couple final bonus recommendations:

  • Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes In this middle grade novel, twelve-year-old Jerome is shot and killed by a police officer when his toy gun is mistaken as a real weapon. In the afterlife, he meets the ghost of Emmett Till, a boy from the past who died from similar circumstances. Emmett takes Jerome on a journey through history to learn of and process the historic racism that ended both of their lives. Dark yet poignant, this is an important read for children and adults alike. 
  • Black Enough: Stories of Being Young and Black in America, an anthology edited by Ibi Zoboi. With stories by renowned black young adult authors like Lamar Giles and Nic Stone, this anthology contains stories of the hidden experiences of black teenagers in the United States from a wide spectrum of backgrounds.
  • Dear Martin by Nic Stone is a young adult novel about Justyce McAllister, an Ivy-league bound African American teen, dealing with racism and working on a project to study Martin Luther King Jr’s teachings and apply them in his own life. But do King’s teachings still hold up in our modern day?

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):
2019 Black History Month Book Recommendations
2018 Black History Month Book Recommendations
2017 Black History Month Book Recommendations
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-12 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 21 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. You can also check out her author page on Amazon.

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Have you been looking for a literature based homeschool curriculum that is secular? How about a way to incorporate narration, copywork, dictation and memory work into your child’s education? Or art study that ties into history?

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