The best books to celebrate Black History Month

books to celebrate Black History Month

by Emily Gilbert |
Updated on

Every month of October marks Black History Month, the commemoration of the history, contributions and achievements of black people in the UK; what better way for us to help the commemoration, than for us to share our recommendations of books to celebrate Black History Month?!

It's important that we as parents not only talk to our kids about history, but that we also help all children hear and learn about black history and black people all year round, not just in October.

Best at a glance:

  • Best overall book to celebrate Black History Month: Timelines from Black History: Leaders, Legends, Legacies, buy on Amazon

  • Best story book: Coming to England: An Inspiring True Story Celebrating the Windrush Generation, buy on Amazon

  • Best book for empowerment: My Skin, Your Skin, buy on Amazon

Books are a fantastic, accessible way of doing this with young children. As well as making sure that all children learn about different black figures from our history, they can also help children see themselves represented.

If you're looking to enhance your bookshelf with books to celebrate black history month, we've got the best ones to help you do just that.

Best books to celebrate Black History Month

Best for illustrations

Black History: Discover Amazing People
Price: $9.17

With scenes to explore fun facts to learn and bright, bold illustrations - this board book is the ideal introduction for inquisitive preschoolers to these amazing heroes. This is one of the best books to celebrate Black history Month because not only is it educational, but it is an extremely engaging read which makes it much more appealing and less intimidating to read.

Pros

  • Scenes to explore.
  • Fun facts to learn and bright, bold illustration.

Cons

  • Not much representation.

Best for kindness and encouragement

I Am Enough
Price: $11.05

This is arguably one of the best books to celebrate Black History Month - in fact, it is a New York Times bestseller. This book really encourages kindness and promotes respecting others. This book is written by actor and activist Grace Byers, and the book is about looking after ourselves and one another.

Pros

  • This gorgeous, lyrical ode to loving who you are, respecting others, and being kind to one another.
  • Comes from Empire actor and activist Grace Byers and talented newcomer artist Keturah A. Bobo.

Cons

  • Suitable from 5 - 8 years old

Best for fantastic tales

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History

Rrp: $11.99

Price: $11.05

This book features fantastic tales from the past combined with lovely illustrations - making this one of the greatest books to celebrate Black History Month. This book is a great read that will teach your child all about some truly amazing women of colour and how they impacted history.

Pros

  • Captivating text with stunning illustrations.
  • Tells the stories of both iconic and lesser-known female figures of black history.

Cons

  • Not for younger children.

Best for history

Little Leaders: Exceptional Men in Black History
Price: $16.46

Inspire your little one with this book that details some of the brilliant black men that changed their own histories and ours. This will make learning incredibly fun and easy, not only that but this book provides a great bonding experience for you and your child too.

Pros

  • Learn all about the exceptional black men who broke barriers and fought injustice to realise their dreams and make the world a better place. 
  • Great pictures.

Cons

  • Martin Luther King, Barack Obama and Nelson Mandela do not have their own page.

Best for inspiration

hidden figures
Price: $10.86

The amazing story of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden; AKA the women that used their maths skills to help NASA take humanity into space…more than once.

Pros

  • In this beautifully illustrated picture book edition, we explore the story of four female African American mathematicians at NASA, known as "colored computers," and how they overcame gender and racial barriers to succeed in a highly challenging STEM-based career.
  • Will inspire boys and girls.

Cons

  • Suitable to 3 - 8 year olds

Best for black and British history

Black and British: An Illustrated History

Rrp: $26.99

Price: $19.50

A perfect choice for a quick read, this book teaches children about some of the key moments in black and British history, with stories that will definitely keep mini history buffs interested as you delve in.

Pros

  • This beautiful hardback gift book is a stunning visual journey through Black British history for younger readers.
  • Stunning illustrations.

Cons

  • For 7 - 11 year olds only.

Best for educating

Timelines from Black History: Leaders, Legends, Legacies
Price: $21.33

Full of captivating timelines, and featuring some amazing, well-known figures of colour, this book by Mireille Harper will take them on quite the literary journey while keeping them fully engaged and educating them.

Pros

  • More than 30 visual timelines, which explore the biographies of the famous and the not-so-famous - from royalty to activists, and writers to scientists.
  • Stacked with facts and visually vibrant.

Cons

  • Black on blue type is somehow dark.

Best for vibrant pictures

Coming to England: An Inspiring True Story Celebrating the Windrush Generation
Price: $16.10

We can learn so much from the Windrush Generation, and this beautifully written and vibrantly illustrated book is a great start for children. This brilliant book is personal and universal all in one.

Pros

  • A picture book story about the triumph of hope, love, and determination.
  • Great pictures.

Cons

  • Only suitable for 3 - 6 year olds

Best for bedtime story

Bedtime Stories: Beautiful Black Tales from the Past
Price: $18.16

This curated collection of tales from Black history is based on important figures and events from around the world. Each story is the ideal length to read at bedtime as well as any moment when young readers are looking for an inspirational read.

Pros

  • A beautiful, celebratory and joyful book of bedtime stories.
  • Perfect for any child wanting to learn more about history's untold stories.

Cons

  • Only suitable for 6 - 14 year olds.

Best for big dreams

Nelson Mandela - Little People, BIG DREAMS
Price: $6.15

We're big fans of the Little People, BIG DREAMS series. In this book, your child will discover the incredible life of Nelson Mandela, South Africa's first Black president, and his fight for equality. Other titles available include Rosa Parks, Martin Luther-King and Aretha Franklin.

Pros

  • Informative and illustrative.
  • Grest stories on Nelson Mandela

Cons

  • Not suitable for under 4-year-olds.

Best for older readers

The Black History Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained
Price: $36.57

While this is one aimed at older readers, it's well worth reading to your child as this book tackles tricky topics and themes in a simple and easy-to-follow format.

Pros

  • Brilliant for novices looking to find out more and experts wishing to refresh their knowledge alike!
  • A visual approach to big subjects with striking illustrations and graphics throughout.

Cons

  • Suitable for 9 year olds and upwards

Best for change

Young, Gifted and Black
Price: $14.85

In this celebration of inspirational achievement, you'll discover a collection of stories about changemakers alongside beautiful illustrations to encourage, inspire and empower the next generation.

Pros

  • 52 icons of colour from the past and present.
  • An uplifting well-written large paperback with the feel of a friendly picture book. 

Cons

  • Not much left in stock.

Best for empowerment

books for black history month

Rrp: $24.99

Price: $17.63

This bright, colourful and powerful book is perfect for adults and children. Combined with a great amount of creative illustrations and descriptive words, this child-friendly book truly encourages unity and peace. Diversity, race, celebration, different cultures and beautiful skin are all nicely portrayed, which will help your little one in having a better understanding on why we are all different. The bold phrases used, alongside the glossy pages, will have you are your little one intrigued - perfect for a day or bedtime story.

Pros

  • It covers racism and the conversations around the topic in a clear and forthright manner.
  • Beautiful pictures and important words that are highlighted in bold.

Cons

  • Not suitable for under 2-year-olds.

Remember, books to celebrate Black History Month are a great way to open the door to discussions and experiences.

These books to celebrate Black History Month include key understandings into Black history, ethnicity, achievements, extraordinary people, historic and current day unfairness, and how inequality was and continues to be approached and overcome.

So, if you would like to teach your little one about compassion and empathy, books are the perfect way.

Emily Gilbert is the Features & Reviews Editor for Mother&Baby and has written for the website and previously the magazine for six years. Specialising in product reviews, Emily is the first to know about all the exciting new releases in the parenting industry.

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