A selected list of children's non-fiction books about African American history and the African American experience.
Grades 1 -5
The story of interracial couple Mildred and Richard Loving, who got married in Washington, D.C., and were arrested after they returned to Virginia, and took their legal case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Paula Young Shelton, daughter of Civil Rights leader and later U.N. ambassador Andrew Young, presents an intimate, moving story of a child’s experience living under racist, Jim Crow laws and participating in the Civil Rights movement. Raul Colón’s bright, warm illustrations complement Shelton’s free-verse poems to convey both the comfort of family and a tight-knit community of caring adults, and the gravity and danger of the work of these uncles and aunts who were also leaders in the struggle for Civil Rights. Grades K-3.
Based on a real 1828 document appraising a home of a slaveholder and giving a monetary value for the 11 enslaved people. It pairs dramatic woodcut portraits of each individual with a poetic reimaging of their lives, struggles and aspirations.
This is an admirable introduction to the photographer Gordon Parks and his work, and an evocative testament to the important role artists can play in movements for social justice. Weatherford’s spare, clear prose, and Jamey Christoph’s expressive art create a moving biography belied by its brevity. Gordon Parks is most famous for being the first black director in Hollywood. Before he made movies and wrote books, he was a poor African American looking for work. When he bought a camera, his life changed forever. He taught himself how to take pictures and before long, people noticed.
Grades 3 - 8. Archival photographs focus on the children and teens and the role they played in school integration, with text imagining how the participants must have felt.
Gr. 3-5. Sometimes the smallest act galvanizes people into decisive action. In this case, it was a woman refusing to give up her seat on a bus and a bus boycott that lasted nearly a year before the Supreme Court ruled that segregation on buses was illegal. Includes one fold-out spread. A handsomely illustrated look at a watershed event.
Grades 2-5. Presents the 50th anniversary of the momentous Woolworth's lunch counter sit-in, when four college students staged a peaceful protest that became a defining moment in the struggle for racial equality and the growing civil rights movement.
Gr. 3 and up. An elderly ball player regales his audience with the trials and triumphs of determined athletes and fans, beautifully enhanced by Nelson's glorious art. Includes a forward by Hank Aaron, himself once a player in the Negro League.
Grades 1 - 4. From his childhood in Jamaica to his youth in the Bronx, Laban Carrick Hill's book tells how Kool Herc came to be a DJ, how kids in gangs stopped fighting in order to breakdance, and how the music he invented went on to define a culture and transform the world.