Black History Now

Black History Book List

Men of Black History

Preaching to the Chickens

Preaching To the Chickens: The Story of John LewisBy Jabari Asim

By Jabari Asim
“John wants to be a preacher when he grows up a leader whose words stir hearts to change, minds to think, and bodies to take action. But why wait? When John is put in charge of the family farm’s flock of chickens, he discovers that they make a wonderful congregation! 

Trombone Shorty

Trombone Shorty

By Troy Andres
“Hailing from the Tremé neighborhood in New Orleans, Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews got his nickname by wielding a trombone twice as long as he was high. A prodigy, he was leading his own band by age six, and today this Grammy-nominated artist headlines the legendary New Orleans Jazz Fest”– Provided by publisher.

Duke Ellington

Duke Ellington: The Piano Prince and His Orchestra

By Andre Davis
A brief recounting of the career of this jazz musician and composer who, along with his orchestra, created music that was beyond category.

Henry’s Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad

Henry’s Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad

By Levine Ellen
A fictionalized account of how in 1849 a Virginia slave, Henry “Box” Brown, escapes to freedom by shipping himself in a wooden crate from Richmond to Philadelphia.

 

Muhmmad Ali

Muhammad Ali

By Ma Isabel Sánchez Vegara
When he was little, Muhammad Ali had his bicycle stolen. He wanted to fight the thief, but a policeman told him to learn how to box first. After training hard in the gym, Muhammad developed a strong jab and an even stronger work ethic. His smart thinking and talking earned him the greatest title in boxing: Heavyweight Champion of the World.

What Color is My World?

What color is my world?

By Kareem Abdul-Jabbar & Raymond Obstfeld
While twins Ella and Herbie help the handyman Mr. Midal work on their new home, he tells them about such inventors as Granville Woods, Dr. Henry T. Sampson, and James West, giving them a new view of their heritage as African Americans.

 

Bad News for Outlaws

Bad News for Outlaws

By Vaunda Micheaux Nelson
The fascinating life of Bass Reeves, who escaped slavery to become the first African American Deputy US Marshal west of the Mississippi.

 

Little Legends

Little Legends

By Vashti Harrison with Kwesi Johnson
An important book for readers of all ages, this beautifully illustrated and engagingly written volume brings to life true stories of thirty-five black men in history. Among these biographies, readers will find aviators and artists, politicians and pop stars, athletes and activists.

 

Teammates

Teammates

By Peter Golenbock
This is the moving story of how Jackie Robinson became the first black player on a major league baseball team and how on a fateful day in Cincinnati, Pee Wee Reese took a stand and declared Jackie his teammate.

Tuskagee Airmen

Who were the Tuskegee Airmen?

By Sherri Smith
During World War II, black Americans were fighting for their country and for freedom in Europe, yet they had to endure a totally segregated military in the United States, where they weren’t considered smart enough to become military pilots. 

STEM Leaders of Black History

Counting on katherine

Counting on Katherine

By Helaine Becker
You’ve likely heard of the historic Apollo 13 moon landing. But do you know about the mathematical genius who made sure that Apollo 13 returned safely home? As a child, Katherine Johnson loved to count. 

Whoosh

Whoosh!

By Chris Barton
Chronicles the life and achievements of the NASA engineer and inventor, from his childhood to his accidental invention of the Super Soaker water gun.

Book

The African-American heart surgery pioneer: the genius of Vivien Thomas

By Edwin Brit Wyckoff
“Learn about Vivien Thomas and the clamp he invented to help stop bleeding in a very small space”– Provided by publisher.

A Pocket full of Goobers Book

A pocketful of goobers: a story about George Washington Carver

by Barbara Mitchell
Relates the scientific efforts of George Washington Carver, especially his production of more than 300 uses for the peanut.

 

Ada Twist

Ada Twist Scientist

By Andrea Beaty
Ada Twist is a very curious girl who shows perseverance by asking questions and performing experiments to find things out and understand the world.

The Toothpaste Millionaire

The Toothpaste Millionaire

By Jean Merril
A young girl describes how her school friend made over a million dollars by creating and marketing a cheaper and better toothpaste.

Katherine Johnson (You Should Meet)

Katherine Johnson (You Should Meet)

By Thea Feldman
Meet Katherine Johnson, a brilliant mathematician who worked at NASA in the early 1950s until retiring in 1986. Katherine’s unparalleled calculations (done by hand) helped plan the trajectories for NASA’s Mercury and Apollo missions (including the Apollo 11 moon landing). 

 

Mae Jamison (You Should Meet)

Mae Jamison (You Should Meet)

By Laurie Calkhoven
A biography of Mae Jemison, the first female African-American astronaut.

 

Vision

Patricia's vision: the doctor who saved sight

By Michelle Lord
“Born in 1940s Harlem, Patricia Bath dreamed of being a doctor–even though that wasn’t a career option for most women. This biography follows Dr. Bath in her quest to become an ophthalmologist and restore sight to the blind. “Choosing miracles” when everyone else had given up hope, she invented a specialized laser for removing cataracts, becoming the first African American woman doctor to receive a medical patent”– Provided by publisher.

The Moon Over Star

The Moon Over Star

By Dianna Hutts Aston
On her family’s farm in the town of Star, eight-year-old Mae eagerly follows the progress of the 1969 Apollo 11 flight and moon landing and dreams that she might one day be an astronaut, too.

 

What Color is My World?

What color is my world?

By Kareem Abdul-Jabbar & Raymond Obstfeld
While twins Ella and Herbie help the handyman Mr. Midal work on their new home, he tells them about such inventors as Granville Woods, Dr. Henry T. Sampson, and James West, giving them a new view of their heritage as African Americans.

 

The Fight for Civil Rights: Past & Present

Voice of Freedom

Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement

By Carole Boston Weatherford
Despite fierce prejudice and abuse, even being beaten to within an inch of her life, Fannie Lou Hamer was a champion of civil rights from the 1950s until her death in 1977. Integral to the Freedom Summer of 1964, Ms. Hamer gave a speech at the Democratic National Convention that, despite President Johnson’s interference, aired on national TV news and spurred the nation to support the Freedom Democrats. 

 The youngest marcher: the story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a young civil rights activist

The youngest marcher: the story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a young civil rights activist

By Cynthia Levinson
Nine-year-old Audrey Faye Hendricks intended to go places and do things like anybody else. So when she heard grown-ups talk about wiping out Birmingham’s segregation laws, she spoke up. As she listened to the preacher’s words, smooth as glass, she sat up tall. And when she heard the plan–picket those white stores! March to protest those unfair laws! Fill the jails! –she stepped right up and said, I’ll do it! She was going to j-a-a-il! Audrey Faye Hendricks was confident and bold and brave as can be, and hers is the remarkable and inspiring story of one child’s role in the Civil Rights Movement.

 Martin & Mahalia: His Words, Her Song

Martin & Mahalia: His Words, Her Song

By Andrea Davis Pinkney
On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, and his strong voice and powerful message were joined and lifted in song by world-renowned gospel singer Mahalia Jackson. It was a moment that changed the course of history and is imprinted in minds forever. Told through Andrea Davis Pinkney’s poetic prose and Brian Pinkney’s evocative illustration, the stories of these two powerful voices and lives are told side-by-side — as they would one day walk — following the journey from their youth to a culmination at this historical event when they united as one and inspiring kids to find their own voices and speak up for what is right.

 

The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage

The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage

By Selina Alko
This is the story of one brave family: Mildred Loving, Richard Perry Loving, and their three children. It is the story of how Mildred and Richard fell in love, and got married in Washington, D.C. But when they moved back to their hometown in Virginia, they were arrested (in dramatic fashion) for violating that state’s laws against interracial marriage. The Lovings refused to allow their children to get the message that their parents’ love was wrong and so they fought the unfair law, taking their case all the way to the Supreme Court – and won!

 

A Dream of Freedom: The Civil Rights Movement from 1954-1968

A Dream of Freedom: The Civil Rights Movement from 1954-1968

By Diane McWhorter
Explores the sacrifices and triumphs of African-Americans in their pursuit of social and political equality, and takes a hard, painful look at the often violent resistance they met from white Americans.

A Ride to Remember: A Civil Rights Story

A Ride to Remember: A Civil Rights Story

By Amy Nathan and Sharon Langley
A Ride to Remember tells how a community came together–both black and white–to make a change. When Sharon Langley was born in the early 1960s, many amusement parks were segregated, and African-American families were not allowed entry. This book reveals how in the summer of 1963, due to demonstrations and public protests, the Gwynn Oak Amusement Park in Maryland became desegregated and opened to all for the first time. Co-author Sharon Langley was the first African-American child to ride the carousel. 

Memphis, Martin and the Mountain top

Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop

By Alice Faye Duncan
This historical fiction picture book presents the story of nine-year-old Lorraine Jackson, who in 1968 witnessed the Memphis sanitation strike–Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s final stand for justice before his assassination–when her father, a sanitation worker, participated in the protest.

 

The Book Itch

The Book Itch: Freedom, Truth & Harlem's Greatest Bookstore

By Vaunda Micheaux Nelson
Relates the story of the National Memorial African Bookstore, founded in Harlem by Louis Michaux in 1939, as seen from the perspective of Louis Michaux Jr., who met famous men like Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X while helping there.

 

A Dream of Freedom: The Civil Rights Movement from 1954-1968

A Dream of Freedom: The Civil Rights Movement from 1954-1968

By Diane McWhorter
Explores the sacrifices and triumphs of African-Americans in their pursuit of social and political equality, and takes a hard, painful look at the often violent resistance they met from white Americans.

The Lions

The Lions of Little Rock

By Kristin Levine
In 1958 Little Rock, Arkansas, painfully shy twelve-year-old Marlee sees her city and family divided over school integration, but her friendship with Liz, a new student, helps her find her voice and fight against racism.

One Crazy Summer

One Crazy Summer

By Rita Williams-Garcia
In the summer of 1968, after travelling from Brooklyn to Oakland, California, to spend a month with the mother they barely know, eleven-year-old Delphine and her two younger sisters arrive to a cold welcome as they discover that their mother, a dedicated poet and printer, is resentful of the intrusion of their visit and wants them to attend a nearby Black Panther summer camp.

The Rock and the River

The Rock and the River

By Kekla Magoon
In 1968 Chicago, fourteen-year-old Sam Childs is caught in a conflict between his father’s nonviolent approach to seeking civil rights for African Americans and his older brother, who has joined the Black Panther Party.

Trail Blazers of Black History

The Story of Ruby Bridges

The Story of Ruby Bridges

By Robert Coles
For month’s six-year-old Ruby Bridges must confront the hostility of white parents when she becomes the first African American girl to integrate Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans in 1960.

When the Beat Was Born: DJ Kool Herc & the Creation of Hip Hop

When the Beat Was Born: DJ Kool Herc & the Creation of Hip Hop

By Laban Carrick Hillk
Before there was hip hop, there was DJ Kool Herc. On a hot day at the end of summer in 1973 Cindy Campbell threw a back-to-school party at a park in the South Bronx. Her brother, Clive Campbell, spun the records. He had a new way of playing the music to make the breaks–the musical interludes between verses–longer for dancing. He called himself DJ Kool Herc and this is When the Beat Was Born.

Alvin Ailey

Alvin Ailey

By Andrea Davis
This markedly talented husband-and-wife team offers a warm profile of dancer and choreographer Alvin Ailey . . . intertwining Ailey’s alleged thoughts and conversations with facts about his childhood, his introduction to the world of dance . . . and his founding of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1958.”–“Publishers Weekly,”

Firebird

Firebird

By Misty Copeland
American Ballet Theater soloist Misty Copeland encourages a young ballet student, with brown skin like her own, by telling her that she, too, had to learn basic steps and how to be graceful when she was starting out, and that someday, with practice and dedication, the little girl will become a firebird, too. Includes author’s note about dancers who led her to find her voice.

The Story of Ruby Bridges

Hidden Figures

By Margot Lee Shetterly
Explores the previously uncelebrated but pivotal contributions of NASA’s African American women mathematicians to America’s space program, describing how Jim Crow laws segregated them despite their groundbreaking successes. Includes biographies on Dorothy Jackson Vaughan (1910-2008), Mary Winston Jackson (1921-2005), Katherine Colman Goble Johnson (1918-), Dr. Christine Mann Darden (1942-).

 

Fly high! The Story of Bessie Coleman

Fly high! The Story of Bessie Coleman

By Louise Borden
Discusses the life of the determined African woman who went all the way to France in order to earn her pilot’s license in 1921.

Mae Jemison

Mae Jemison

By Jodie Shepherd
Mae Jemison was a bright child who was always fascinated by science. The top student and gifted dancer ignored naysayers and worked hard to achieve her dream of becoming a doctor and an astronaut. She then went on to become the first African-American woman to travel to space.

Anderson’s Goodbye

Anderson’s Goodbye

By Lucille Clifton
The story is specific in telling a story of an African American child. It was published in 1983, and recognized as an outstanding book when books were just beginning to be published about African American families in the United States.

 

The Book Itch

The Book Itch: Freedom, Truth & Harlem's Greatest Bookstore

By Vaunda Micheaux Nelson
Relates the story of the National Memorial African Bookstore, founded in Harlem by Louis Michaux in 1939, as seen from the perspective of Louis Michaux Jr., who met famous men like Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X while helping there.

 

Women of Black History

Patricia's Vision: The Doctor Who Saved Sight

Patricia's Vision: The Doctor Who Saved Sight

By Michelle Lord
Born in the 1940s, Patricia Bath dreamed of being an ophthalmologist at a time when becoming a doctor wasn’t a career option for most women–especially African-American women. This empowering biography follows Dr. Bath in her quest to save and restore sight to the blind, and her decision to “choose miracles” when everyone else had given up hope. Along the way, she cofounded the American Institute for the Prevention of Blindness, invented a specialized laser for removing cataracts, and became the first African-American woman doctor to receive a medical patent.

 

Counting Stars

Counting the Stars: The Story of Katherine Johnson, NASA Mathematician

By Lesa Cline-Ransome
Before John Glenn orbited the Earth or astronauts walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as “human computers” used their knowledge, pencils, adding machines, and writing paper to calculate the orbital mechanics needed to launch spacecraft. Katherine Johnson was one of these mathematicians who used trajectories and complex equations to chart the space program during Virginia’s Jim Crow laws were in place in the early 1950s.

Work it Gilr

Work It, Girl: Oprah Winfrey: Run the Show Like CEO

By Caroline Moss
When Oprah Winfrey was a little girl, she watched her grandma hang clothes out on the line. Oprah adored her grandma, but she knew in that moment her life was going to be different… And she was right.

Streetcar to Justice: How Elizabeth Jennings Won the Right to Ride in New York

Streetcar to Justice: How Elizabeth Jennings Won the Right to Ride in New York

By Amy Hill Hearth
In 1854, a young African American woman named Elizabeth Jennings won a major victory against a New York City streetcar company, a first step in the process of desegregating public transportation in Manhattan. This illuminating and important piece of the history of the

Reach Higher: An Inspiring Photo Celebration of First Lady Michelle Obama

Reach Higher: An Inspiring Photo Celebration of First Lady Michelle Obama

By Amanda Lucidon
This stunning and revealing collection of seventy photographs, coupled with personal reflections and behind-the-scenes stories, captures and celebrates Mrs. Obama’s White House years and her dedication to improving the lives of young people in the United States and around the world. As a former official White House photographer, Amanda Lucidon shares an insider’s view on the role of the First Lady by documenting life at the White House and sharing personal memories that reveal what makes Mrs. Obama so special.

A Song for Gwendolyn Brooks

A Song for Gwendolyn Brooks

By Alice Faye Duncan
With a voice both wise and witty, Gwendolyn Brooks crafted poems that captured the urban Black experience and the role of women in society. She grew up on the South Side of Chicago, reading and writing constantly from a young age, her talent lovingly nurtured by her parents. Brooks ultimately published 20 books of poetry, two autobiographies, and one novel. Alice Faye Duncan has created her own song to celebrate Gwendolyn’s life and work, illuminating the tireless struggle of revision and the sweet reward of success.

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History

By Vashti Harrison
Among these women, you’ll find heroes, role models, and everyday women who did extraordinary things – bold women whose actions and beliefs contributed to making the world better for generations of girls and women to come. Whether they were putting pen to paper, soaring through the air or speaking up for the rights of others, the women profiled in these pages were all taking a stand against a world that didn’t always accept them. The leaders in this book may be little, but they all did something big and amazing, inspiring generations to come. 

When Wilma Rudolph Played Basketball

When Wilma Rudolph Played Basketball

By Mark Andrew Weakland
Wilma Rudolph became a great American athlete. But do you know what she was like as a child? From battling polio to playing basketball, Wilma was a determined and strong child.

Vision of Beauty: The Story of Sarah Breedlove Walker

Vision of Beauty: The Story of Sarah Breedlove Walker

By Kathryn Lasky
A biography of Sarah Breedlove Walker a.k.a Madame C.J. Walker who, though born in poverty, pioneered in hair and beauty care products for black women, and became a great financial success.

Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks

By L. Kaiser
Profiles the African American woman who sparked a bus boycott when she was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white person.

 

Pies from Nowhere: How Georgia Gilmore Sustained the Montgomery Bus Boycott

Pies from Nowhere: How Georgia Gilmore Sustained the Montgomery Bus Boycott

By Dee Romito
This stunning picture book looks into the life of Georgia Gilmore, a hidden figure of history who played a critical role in the civil rights movement and used her passion for baking to help the Montgomery Bus Boycott achieve its goal.