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Non-Fiction Picture Books Celebrating Black History

Black History Month is a great time to add more nonfiction books to your home and classroom libraries. This collection of nonfiction books about Black History is informative, captivating, and inspiring. We hope that you discover people, events, and information through these stories that inspire you to celebrate Black History all year long.

While BHM is an important time to incorporate more learning about Black history, we encourage you to diversify your teaching and bookshelves all year long. We know that representation matters and celebrating identity and culture through storytelling is the best way to help our children feel seen, and open their hearts and minds to other lived experiences. 

For a complete list of non-fiction picture books celebrating Black History, visit our Bookshop page.

Beyond February: Teaching Black History Any Day, Every Day, and All Year Long K-3

Author: Dawnavyn M. James | Publisher: Routledge

This practical guide provides elementary educators with the resources and tools to celebrate Black History all year long. It will help educators "who seek to teach history in truthful and meaningful ways that help young students understand the past, the present, and the world around them."

We highly recommend educators add this to their teaching toolkits and explore its contents with their teams.

Ready to Fly: How Sylvia Townsend Became the Bookmobile Ballerina

Author: Lea Lyon, Alexandria LaFaye | Illustrator: Jessica Gibson | Publisher: HarperCollins

Young Sylvia wanted to become a ballerina, and didn't know where to start. A bookmobile librarian helped her find the books she needed to teach herself, and eventually other kids in her community. Through hard work, curiosity, and a lot of determination, Sylvia went on to teach countless people how to dance. This book truly showcases the transformative power of reading!

There Was a Party for Langston

Author: Jason Reynolds | Illustrator: Jerome Pumphrey & Jarrett Pumphrey | Publisher: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books

This joyous celebration of literary icon, Langston Hughes, truly brings poetry to life! Its a beautiful representation of the enduring legacy of the Harlem Renaissance and its larger-than-life "Renaissance man."

Love is Loud: How Diane Nash Led the Civil Rights Movement

Author: Sandra Neil Wallaca | Illustrator: Bryan Collier | Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books

Do you know the story of Diane Nash? She was a Civil Rights leader who worked alongside Martin Luther King Jr. and John Lewis to integrate lunch counters and bus travel. Nash was committed to using truth and action to make powerful change, and through her perseverance and commitment, made a lasting impact on American life.

Dream Builder: The Story of Architect Philip Freelon

Author: Kelly Starling Lyons | Illustrator: Laura Freeman| Publisher: Lee & Low Books

"Dream Builder: The Story of Architect Philip Freelon celebrates a contemporary black STEAM role model, a man whose quiet work enabled the creation of an iconic building reflecting America's past and future. With a stirring text by Kelly Starling Lyons, vibrant pictures by Laura Freeman, and an afterword from Philip Freelon himself, it is sure to inspire the next generation of dreamers and builders."

Above the Rim: How Elgin Baylor Changed Basketball

Author: Jen Bryant | Illustrator: Frank Morrison| Publisher: Harry N. Abrams

"Before there was Michael Jordan or LeBron James or Giannis Antetokounmpo, there was Elgin Baylor, shooting, passing, and soaring through the air like no basketball player before him. With lyrical, moving text from an award-winning author and exquisite, slam-dunk illustrations from an award-winning artist, Above the Rim is a peek into the early days of the NBA, a poetic telling of the life of an under-recognized African American athlete, and a celebration of standing up for what’s right."

Sylvia and Marsha Start a Revolution!: The Story of the Trans Women of Color Who Made LGBTQ+ History

Author: Joy Michael Ellison | Illustrator: Teshika Silver| Publisher: Jessica Kingsley Publishers

"Someday girls like us will be able to wear whatever we want. People will call us by the names we choose. They'll respect that we are women. The cops will leave us alone and no one will go hungry.

This illustrated book introduces children to the story of Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson, the two transgender women of colour who helped kickstart the Stonewall Riots and dedicated their lives to fighting for LGBTQ+ equality. It introduces children to issues surrounding gender identity and diversity, accompanied by a reading guide and teaching materials to further the conversation."

Miles of Style: Eunice W. Johnson and the EBONY Fashion Fair

Author: Lisa D. Brathwaite | Illustrator: Lynn Gaines| Publisher: Lee & Low Books

"A chic biography about Eunice W. Johnson who brought elegant and contemporary fashion to Black America through the annual EBONY Fashion Fair!

Winner of Lee & Low's New Voices award, Miles of Style celebrates a visionary who used her influence to showcase the strength and beauty of the Black community."

Chef Edna: Queen of Southern Cooking, Enda Lewis

Author: Melvina Noel | Illustrator: Cozbi A. Cabrera| Publisher: Harry N. Abrams

"Featuring gorgeous color illustrations by Coretta Scott King– and Caldecott-honor recipient Cozbi A. Cabrera, Melvina Noel’s Chef Edna is a warm and inviting picture book portrait of African American culinary legend Edna Lewis, who brought Southern cooking to the masses."

Heroic Heart: The Legacy of a Professional Football Player

Author: Frank Murphy and Charnaie Gordon | Illustrator: Anastasia Magloire Williams| Publisher: Triumph Books

"Written with the support of the Delaney family, Heroic Heart is a lushly illustrated, lyrical story of selflessness and courage. Adults and children alike will learn about the remarkable life of this compassionate NFL star."

Carter Reads the Newspaper: The Story of Dr. Carter G. Woodson, Founder Black History Month

Author: Deborah Hopkinson | Illustrator: Don Tate| Publisher: Peachtree

Carter G. Woodson created the first Negro History Week on February 7, 1926, which led to Black History Month. You can learn more about Woodson in the picture book, Carter Reads the Newspaper. Now, we celebrate Black History Month every February to honor and amplify the accomplishments of Black people. 

Bessie the Motorcycle Queen

Author: Charles R. Smith Jr. | Illustrator: Charlot Kristenson| Publisher: Orchard Books

"Hop on the bike with Bessie Stringfield, the motorcycle queen of Miami, in this powerful picture book from Coretta Scott King medalist Charles R. Smith, Jr. and debut picture book illustrator Charlot Kristensen. A much-needed story about a Black woman who paved the way for future generations."


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