Black History Month is the perfect time to introduce stories honoring black heritage and culture. These are our top 5 children's books to read during the month of February.
1. Change Sings by Amanda Gorman
Change Sings follows a young girl who seeks to become the change she wants to see in the world. The author, Amanda Gorman, has become a prominent poet and activist, best known as a champion of hope who espoused her ideals at Joe Biden's inauguration. The sentences are rhythmic, poignant, and paired with amazing imagery to create a heart-felt connection in readers. This story is a must have for the next generation of activists and social justice warriors.
2. Sulwe by Lupita Nyong'o
Sulwe dreams of having skin as light as her mother and sister, but was born dark as the night sky. She tries everything to lighten her skin, even prays to God to bless her with the brightness she seeks. One night, a star comes to her window, and shows Sulwe the beauty that can only be found in the dark. This is a beautiful book that celebrates all shades and tones, and teaches children to appreciate the beauty that lies beneath the surface.
3. Julian is a Mermaid by Jessica Love
Julian is a Mermaid follows the experience of a young boy who wants to become a mermaid. His Nana supports and celebrates his creativity by taking him down the road to meet other mermaids just like him. This story celebrates race and diversity, while also breaking with gender stereotypes. It sends a very direct message to readers: it's okay to be you! After all, the people who mind don’t matter, and the people who matter won’t mind.
4. Looking for Jumbie by Tracey Babtiste
Before reading this story, I was totally unfamiliar with Caribbean culture. This book serves as the perfect primer. The tale follows a young girl who goes out one night in search of mythological creatures from Caribbean legend. It's a fun way to introduce and celebrate black culture, and will leave kids wanting to learn more!
5. Ada Twist Scientist by Andrea Beaty
Ada Twist is a small girl who doesn't speak until much later than her peers, and when she does, her mind is full of questions and curiosity. She’s extremely intelligent, and doesn’t interact with the world in the way others seem to expect. It’s frustrating to her parents at first, but eventually they learn to accept her boundless curiosity, and Ada learns that the way she thinks is actually pretty amazing.
You can purchase all of the books listed in this article on Amazon.com and from other major book retailers.
If you'd like to recommend additional stories for this list, please leave us a message in the comments!