A Black girl looks at books on a library shelf.

Black History Month Books for Juniors and Teens

| Pinelands Library

Fiction

What Color Is My World?: The Lost History of African American Inventors by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
While twins Ella and Herbie help handyman Mr. Mital 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 Watsons Go to Birmingham by Christopher Paul Curtis
Enter the hilarious world of 10-year-old Kenny and his family, the Weird Watsons of Flint, Michigan. There's Momma, Dad, little sister Joetta, and brother Byron, who's 13 and an "official juvenile delinquent." When Byron gets to be too much trouble, they head South to Birmingham to visit Grandma, the one person who can shape him up. And they happen to be in Birmingham when Grandma's church is blown up.

Stella by Starlight by Sharon Draper
When a burning cross set by the Klan causes panic and fear in 1932 Bumblebee, North Carolina, fifth-grader Stella must face prejudice and find the strength to demand change in her segregated town.

A Sky Full of Stars by Linda Williams Jackson
In 1955 Stillwater, Mississippi, 13-year-old African American Rose Lee Carter looks to her family and friends to understand her place in the burgeoning Civil Rights Movement.

The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine
In 1958 Little Rock, Arkansas, painfully shy 12-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.

Black Boy Joy by Kwame Mbalia
From 17 acclaimed Black male and non-binary authors comes a vibrant collection of stories, comics, and poems about the power of joy and the wonders of Black boyhood.

The Season of Styx Malone by Kekla Magoon
Caleb Franklin and his younger brother, Bobby Gene, spend an extraordinary summer with their new, older neighbor, Styx Malone, a foster boy from the city.

A Picture of Freedom (Dear America) by Pat McKissack
In 1859, 12-year-old Clotee, a house slave who must conceal the fact that she can read and write, records in her diary her experiences and her struggle to decide whether to escape to freedom.

The Stars Beneath our Feet by David Barclay Moore
Unable to celebrate the holidays in the wake of his older brother's death in a gang-related shooting, Lolly Rachpaul struggles to avoid being forced into a gang himself while constructing a fantastically creative LEGO city at the Harlem community center.

Becoming Muhammad Ali by James Patterson
This biographical novel tells the story of Cassius Clay, the determined boy who would one day become Muhammad Ali, one of the greatest boxers of all time.

A Good Kind of Trouble by Lisa Ramee
After attending a powerful protest, Shayla starts wearing an armband to school to support the Black Lives Matter movement, but when the school gives her an ultimatum, she is forced to choose between her education and her identity.

Stuntboy, in the Meantime by Jason Reynolds
Portico lives in the biggest house in the whole city and spends his time navigating bullies, hearing his parents fight, and managing his own anxiety. Meanwhile, as Stuntboy, his job is “keeping other superheroes safe, so they can save the world!”

Sugar by Jewell Parker Rhodes
In 1870, Reconstruction brings big changes to the Louisiana sugar plantation where spunky 10-year-old Sugar has always lived, including her friendship with Billy, the son of her former master, and the arrival of workmen from China.

Glory Be by Augusta Scattergood
In the summer of 1964 as she is about to turn 12, Glory's town of Hanging Moss, Mississippi, is beset by racial tension when town leaders close her beloved public pool rather than desegregating it.

Clean Getaway by Nic Stone
Take a trip through the American South with an 11-year-old boy who is about to discover that the world hasn't always been a welcoming place for kids like him, and things aren't always what they seem — his G'ma included.

The Gold Cadillac by Mildred D. Taylor
It's the 1950s, and Lois and Wilma are proud that their father has just bought a brand-new gold Cadillac. But when they move from Ohio to Mississippi, they face suspicion in their new town about how a black man could have purchased such a nice car. The sisters encounter racism for the first time and learn what it feels like to be afraid because of the color of their skin.

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor
A black family living in the South during the 1930s is faced with prejudice and discrimination, which their children don't understand.

Some Places More than Others by Renee Watson
Amara visits her father's family in Harlem for her 12th birthday, hoping to better understand her family and herself, but New York City is not what she expected.

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
In the summer of 1968, after traveling from Brooklyn to Oakland, California, to spend a month with the mother they barely know, 11-year-old Delphine and her two younger sisters arrive to a cold welcome; 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.

 

Nonfiction

The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage by Selina Alko
This is the story of interracial couple Mildred and Richard Perry, who got married in Washington, D.C., and arrested after they returned to Virginia, and took their legal case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

What are my Rights? by Kelisa Wing
This book explores the right you have in school, activism, and the police in a comprehensive, honest, and age-appropriate way. It was developed to reach children of all races and encourage them to approach race issues with open eyes and minds.

We are the Change: Words of Inspiration from Civil Rights Leaders by Selina Alko
Discover quotes on Civil Rights from important and influential figures, including Queen Lili’uokalani, John Lewis, Nina Simone, and Barack Obama.

If You Were a Kid During the Civil Rights Movement by Gwendolyn Hooks
Trying to imagine yourself living in the times of the civil rights movement can seem impossible. Be transported to a time of segregation and the fight for freedom. You'll be able to follow along as you watch the main characters find their way to justice.

We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March by Cynthia Levinson
This book focuses on the events of the 4,000 African American students who marched to jail to secure their freedom in May 1963.

Sit In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down by Andrea Davis Pinkney
This picture book is a celebration of 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.

What is Black Lives Matter? by Lakita Wilson
The history and importance of the Black Lives Matter movement is discussed.

Through My Eyes by Ruby Bridges
Ruby Bridges recounts the story of her involvement as a 6-year-old in the integration of her school in New Orleans in 1960.

The Women who Caught the Babies: a Story of African American Midwives by Eloise Greenfield
Through historical information, poems, illustrations and photographs, the author shows the ways in which African American midwives have helped families over the course of hundreds of years.

When the Beat Was Born: DJ Kool Herc and the Creation of Hip Hop by Laban Carrick Hill
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.

Dear Mr. Rosenwald by Carole Boston Weatherford
Young Ovella rejoices as her community comes together to raise money and build a much-needed school in the 1920s with matching funds from the president of Sears, Roebuck, and Company and support from Professor James of the Normal School.

Young Gifted and Black by Jamia Wilson
Meet 52 icons of color from the past and present in this celebration of inspirational achievement – a collection of stories about changemakers to encourage, inspire, and empower the next generation of changemakers.

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison
Based on her popular Instagram posts, debut author/illustrator Vashti Harrison shares the stories of 40 bold African American women who shaped history.

28 Days: Moments in Black History that Changed the World by Charles R Smith Jr.
This picture book looks at many of the men and women who revolutionized life for African Americans throughout history.

Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans by Kadir Nelson
This is a simple introduction to African-American history, from Revolutionary-era slavery up to the election of President Obama.

 

Biographies

March Forward, Girl: From Young Warrior to Little Rock Nine by Melba Beals
A member of the Little Rock Nine shares her memories of growing up in the South under Jim Crow.

Unbound and Unbroken: The Story of Frederick Douglass by Amos Esty
This book traces the life and historical impact of the noted abolitionist, detailing his birth into slavery and harsh upbringing, his subsequent escape, and his emergence as a leader.

Who Was Rosa Parks? by Yona Zeldis McDonough
Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott will always have an important legacy in Black History. This 112-page biography from the "Who Was ..." series shares lesser-known facts about the black woman who bravely refused to give up her bus seat to a white passenger in Alabama in 1955.

Harriet Tubman: Leading the Way to Freedom by Laurie Calkhoven
After successfully escaping, she put herself in danger again and again in order to help other slaves achieve liberty. And when the Civil War began, this freedom fighter not only spied for the Union, but became the first American woman to plan and direct a battle. Her compelling story is beautifully told here, and includes a rich store of information about slave life, the Underground Railroad, and famous abolitionists.

The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read by Rita Hubbard
This picture book biography shares the inspiring and incredible true story of the nation's oldest student, Mary Walker, who learned to read at the age of 116.

Audience: Tweens Kids Teens
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