Black History Month Book Recommendations 2021

January 31, 2021

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 from one on this list.

Picture Books


Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library – Carole Boston Weatherford

“Where is our historian to give us our side, Arturo asked, to teach our people our own history?” In this gorgeously illustrated picture book, meet Arturo Schomburg, a Black man who dedicated his life to building a collection of books, art, and music from African and African diaspora creators in order to preserve their legacy and share their work with future generations.


Firebird – Misty Copeland

Misty Copeland is a Black ballerina famous for her performances with the American Ballet Theatre, and in her debut picture book, she shares her story of resilience and self-confidence through beautiful lyrical poetry and stunning illustration.


Before She Was Harriet – Lessa Cline-Ransome

In this inspiring biography in verse, younger readers can learn Harriet Tubman’s life story, the many names she went by and the many lives she led, from before and after the Underground Railroad.


Peeny Butter Fudge – Toni and Slade Morrison

Toni Morrison was one of the most iconic and beloved Black authors in modern history, but one of her lesser-known works is a picture book about spending quality time with her grandchildren that she co-wrote with her son Slade!


Middle Grade


Take Back The Block – Chrystal D. Giles

Wes Henderson is in the sixth grade, and to him hanging out with friends and playing video games are far more important than the protests his parents frequently drag him to. But when he finds out that his beloved neighborhood is soon to be purchased by a real-estate developer, Wes must learn to fight for his community and stand up against gentrification.


Betty Before X – Illyasha Shabazz and Renee Watson

This is a powerful middle grade following the childhood of Betty Shabazz, the wife of Malcolm X. It was co-written by her own daughter, Illyasha, who chose to highlight four years of her mother’s life in order to explore her struggles of self-acceptance that many young children also experience today.


Young Adult


The Black Kids – Christina Hammonds Reed

“Sometimes people, they see your skin, and all they know of you is war.” In this YA coming-of-age novel, experience the 1992 Rodney King Riots through the eyes of Ashley Bennet, a wealthy Black teenager who must learn to grapple with the harsh reality that her parents had tried to shelter her from.


Love is a Revolution – Renee Watson

This novel follows the story of a plus-sized Black girl named Nala who, after falling for an outspoken activist named Tye, learns that she too can stand up for what she believes in and self-love can be revolutionary.


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

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Sarah CookSarah Cook has been writing since she was old enough to hold a pencil. She loves to read, daydream, and fangirl over her favorite anime and manga. As a K – 12 homeschool survivor and graduate, she is currently a creative writing major in college. She hopes to someday travel the world, write bestselling novels, and own 152 cats. You can follow her on YouTube, Twitter and Instagram.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning I get a small commission if you make a purchase through my links, at no cost to you.


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