As we celebrate the contributions of Blacks Americans throughout our country’s history this month, children of all ages and backgrounds can learn about and discover these great men and women in the pages of books.
We’ve compiled six reads your child can do alone or that can be read and discussed as a family. Enjoy.
Mae Among the Stars
By Roda Ahmed
A beautiful picture book inspired by the life of the first African American woman to travel in space, Mae Jemison.
As a little girl, Mae dreamed of being surrounded by stars as an astronaut in space.
Her mom told her, “If you believe it, and work hard for it, anything is possible.”
With persistence, determination and support from her parents, Mae found her way to NASA—and into space.
Black Women in Science: A Black History Book for Kids
By Kimberly Brown Pellum Ph.D.
Discover 15 trailblazing black women whose contribution to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics have advanced their STEM fields. Through the triumphs of these amazing women, you’ll find remarkable role models.
Your kids will read about:
- Mae Jemison
- Annie Easley
- Bessie Coleman
- Katherine Johnson
- Gladys West
- Mamie Phipps Clark
- Jane Cooke Wright
- and many more
Fifty Cents and a Dream: Young Booker T. Washington
by Jabari Asim
Booker T. Washington dreamed of learning to read and write. Once emancipated, Booker trekked five hundred miles, mostly on foot, to Hampton Institute, intending to get a college degree. While he arrived with fifty cents in his pocket and a dream, the young ex-slave would become a legendary educator of men everywhere.
Whoosh!: Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions
By Chris Barton
Every kid knows the Super Soaker.
What you may not know is it was accidentally invented. While designing a cooling system for rockets, inventor Lonnie Johnson discovered he had the workings of a fun, new toy.
Learn about Lonnie Johnson, his love for rockets, robots, inventions, and how persistence and a passion for problem-solving launched him into a career as an engineer with NASA.
Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre
By Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by Floyd Cooper
This book shines a powerful spotlight on the events surrounding the Tulsa Race Massacre, one of America’s worst incidents of racial violence. The book traces the history of African Americans in Tulsa’s Greenwood district and chronicles the devastation that occurred in 1921 when a white mob attacked the Black community.
Weatherford carefully guides young readers through this tragedy and inspires them to make a better future together for all.
What Color Is My World?: The Lost History of African-American Inventors
By Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Did you know the microphone in your cell phone, the refrigerated truck and synthesized cortisone from soy were from the minds of black inventors? Learn about these inventions (and their inventors) and others in this book by NBA Hall of Famer and activist Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Says the author of why he wrote the book, “I was surprised at how many inventors that affected our everyday life had been left out of what we learned in school. I knew at that time that I would someday want to do something about that inequity.”