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20+ Amazing Picture Books for Black History Month

Black History Month is an amazing time to read picture books that celebrate and teach about the achievements and work of figures and leaders in the Black community. While we should be reading and learning about their achievements all year-long, Black History Month is a great time to focus on finding new authors and topics to explore the rest of the year.

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This picture book list for Black History Month has both fiction and nonfiction/biography books to read and explore this month and for the rest of the year. While these are amazing titles to explore, many of these authors and illustrators have even more picture books they’ve published on a variety of topics. Be sure to explore all that they have to offer!

Fiction Picture Books for Black History Month

Explore this list of ten beautifully illustrated picture books to read during Black History Month with your little ones, whether to start the day or to end the day with warm snuggles.

The Quickest Kid in Clarksville

Author: Pat Zietlow Miller
Illustrator: Frank Morrison
Release Date: February 2016

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→ Book Summary

The picture mentions Wilma Rudolph, three-time Olympic gold medalist, as the inspiration for Alta, the main character in this picture book. She doesn’t come from money and has holes in her shoes (like Wilma). But what will happen when there’s a new girl in town with shiny new shoes and challenges Alta to a race?


Hair Love

Author: Matthew Cherry
Illustrator: Vashti Harrison
Release Date: May 2019

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An amazing tribute to natural hair and the love between father and daughter. Zuri’s hair loves to do it’s own thing. But when dad has to step in to style it for a special occasion, there’s a lot to learn.


Dream Big, Little One

Author & Illustrator: Vashti Harrison
Release Date: October 2018

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Vashti Harrison is an amazing illustrator with all kinds of picture books and board books published. If you like her artistic style, check out more books from her on Amazon.

→ Book Summary

A gorgeously illustrated board book to inspire all the little women in your life. Features 18 trailblazing Black women from American history. From educators to scientists, these women are amazing heroes and role models, perfect for a short story before starting, or ending, the day.


Tiara’s Hat Parade

Author: Kelly Starling Lyons
Illustrator: Nicole Tadgell
Release Date: April 2020

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→ Book Summary

This was a touching story about entrepreneurship and the challenges that pop-up, and how one little girl tackles it with storytelling. Showcases an amazing hat collection through the full picture book.


Don’t Touch My Hair

Author: Sharee Miller
Release Date: November 2019

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A perfect picture book to help little ones feel comfortable establishing boundaries with their hair…and strangers wanting to touch it. Told in a lighthearted and entertaining manner.


My Day with the Panye

Author: Tami Charles
Illustrator: Sara Palacios
Release Date: March 2021

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A Haitian story about a little girl wanting to carry a basket to market on her head, just like her Manman. A gorgeously illustrated story touching on important topics. I loved the mention of earthquakes, even if it was short, because it could definitely present an opportunity to a longer conversation.


Freedom Soup

Author: Tami Charles
Release Date: December 2019

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Belle is learning how to make the soup – Freedom Soup – just like her grandma was taught. A celebration of cultural traditions. And food! I always love when food is involved.


Saturday

Author & Illustrated: Oge Mora
Release Date: October 2019

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A journey through a mother and daughter’s special Saturday outing routine. So many things go wrong and mom is nearing a meltdown, until her daughter reminds her that being together is the best part.


Mae Among the Stars

Author: Roda Ahmed
Illustrator: Stasia Burrington
Release Date: January 2018

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An inspirational picture book for little girls interested in STEM. With encouraging parents, little Mae works towards an incredible career at NASA as the first African American woman to travel in space.


Princess Cupcake Jones and the Queen’s Closet

Author: Ylleya Fields
Illustrator: Michael LaDuca
Release Date: July 2015

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→ Book Summary

Princess Cupcake Jones loves exploring her mom’s closet and trying on shoes. In the closet she finds herself in a transforming make-believe world of fun. When Cupcake discovers a special box that she hasn’t seen before, curiosity propels her to explore what lies within the mystery box. And once she looks inside, she finds herself in a shoe-filled situation that is more than she could have imagined.  Kids will love Cupcake’s discovery and will enjoy searching for the special word (“love”) hidden in each illustration.

Nonfiction Picture Books for Black History Month

Nonfiction picture books are such a fun category to explore. Although many biographies are simplified and lack some nuance, it’s still a great way to learn about new people and history.

Nina: a Story of Nina Simone

Author: Traci N. Todd
Illustrator: Christian Robinson
Release Date: September 2021

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→ Book Summary

This picture book starts with Nina Simone’s journey through music and then transitions into her finding her voice in activism and protests. This picture book stood out to me because I love the illustrations from Christian Robinson.


Josephine: the Dazzlife Life of Josephine Baker

Author: Patricia Hruby Powell
Illustrator: Christian Robinson
Release Date: January 2014

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→ Book Summary

Another amazing picture book about the life and accomplishments of Josephine Baker. Again, another picture book illustrated by Christian Robinson, whose artwork I truly love.


Unspeakable: the Tulsa Race Massacre

Author: Carole Boston Weatherford
Illustrator: Floyd Cooper
Release Date: February 2021

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→ Book Summary

Winner of the Coretta Scott King Book Awards for Author and Illustrator, and has so many other awards. A powerful look at the Tulsa Race Massacre. Traces the history of African Americans in Tulsa’s Greenwood district and chronicles the devastation to the community in 1921.


RESPECT: Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul

Author: Carole Boston Weatherford
Illustrator: Frank Morrison
Release Date: August 2020

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→ Book Summary

A gorgeous picture book that reflects Aretha Franklin’s accomplishments in music and the fight for civil rights.


Shirley Chisholm Dared: the Story of the First Black Woman in Congress

Author: Alicia D. Williams
Illustrator: April Harrison
Release Date: June 2021

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→ Book Summary

Biographical look at Shirley Chisholm’s life. Loved the emphasis on asking questions, especially for little girls! Spins being bossy and daring and persistent as positive traits instead of negative traits.


Muddy: the Story of Blues Legend Muddy Waters

Author: Michael Mahin
Illustrator: Evan Turk
Release Date: September 2017

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→ Book Summary

Picture book that celebrates the life of Muddy Waters. A blues musician that laid the foundation for rock and roll. Gorgeous illustrations.


Fly High!: the Story of Bessie Coleman

Author: Louise Borden
Illustrator: Mary Kay Kroeger
Release Date: January 2004

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→ Book Summary

Bessie Coleman was the first African American female pilot but she had to go to France to receive her pilot’s license! She knocked down so many barriers in her journey to becoming a pilot.

Two more picture books about Bessie Coleman:
> Nobody Owns the Sky: the Story of “Brave Bessie” Coleman by Reeve Lindbergh – Buy on Amazon
> Flying Free: How Bessie Coleman’s Dreams took Flight by Karyn Parsons – Buy on Amazon

P.S. If you’re looking for more picture books about women, check out this list of fiction and nonfiction picture books about women.


The ABCs of Black History

Author: Rio Cortez
Illustrator: Lauren Semmer
Release Date: December 2020

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→ Book Summary

A celebration of Black history and culture using the ABCs. Rhyming text with back matter about the events, places, and people mentioned.


No Small Potatoes: Junius G. Groves and his Kingdom in Kansas

Author: Tonya Bolden
Illustrator: Don Tate
Release Date: October 2018

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→ Book Summary

Junius G. Groves was born into slavery but he became a free man when he was still young. He migrated to Kansas and began working on a potato farm. He dreamed of owning his own thing, so he began building his own farm.


Black History Month is a great time to celebrate the achievements of so many important figures and leaders in the Black community.

While I hope you are reading and learning about their achievements all year-long, Black History Month is a great time to learn about new people and achievements that you can then explore all year-round!

I hope this list of 20+ picture books for Black History Month about Black stories and leaders helped you find new topics, authors, illustrators, and more!

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Amazing Picture Books to Read during Black History Month.

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