February marks the beginning of Black History month, and storytime is just one of the many ways in which you can teach your kids about the accomplishments of black pioneers and heroes in the community.
Children’s books are infamously bad at embracing diversity. According to the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, out of 3,400 kids’ books, fewer than one-quarter of them featured a main character who was black, Asian, Latino, or Native American.
Thankfully, there are resources available that can be used to comb through many children’s books in order to find the best recommendations. These books are written by black authors, about black figures, or focused on black culture, and they are some of the best books to read to your kids to help them begin celebrating Black History month.
- “Tiny Stitches: The Life of Medical Pioneer Vivien Thomas”
Tiny Stitches highlights the accomplishments of Vivien Thomas, an often-forgotten pioneer in the world of surgical technology. (By Gwendolyn Hooks, illustrated by Colin Bootman).
- “Look What Brown Can Do!”
Called a “modern black history book,” Look What Brown Can Do! teaches readers about inspiring contributions to black history and encourages kids to dream big. (By T. Marie Harris, illustrated by Neda Ivanova).
- “I Have A Dream”
I Have a Dream offers an illustrated version of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s inspiring speech about the importance of equality. (By Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., illustrated by Kadir Nelson).
- “Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race”
You may have already seen the movie, but you can also use your reading time to introduce the black women whose hard work and perseverance advanced the space race to your children. (By Margot Lee Shetterly with Winifred Conkling, illustrated by Laura Freeman).
- “Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History”
Little Leaders includes a variety of stories about black women who never backed down in the face of adversity. (By Vashti Harrison).
- “The Story of Ruby Bridges”
This book tells the story of Ruby Bridges, who became the first African-American child to integrate a white southern elementary school. (By Robert Coles, illustrated by George Ford).
Many of these books are based on true stories, and without the accomplishments of many of the African American figures, we would not be where we are today. Keep the stories of these pioneers alive by reading to your students and your children all the time.