African American History, Biography & Culture: Books for Elementary School

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Through stories that illustrate African American history, biography and culture, children in grades K-5 can learn about people and events in an exciting way. Titles like these can offer entertaining and clever stories while fostering positive messages. Caregivers and educators can use these books to begin or continue conversations about African American history through the unique craft of storytelling.

Carter Reads the Newspaper

Picture book biography of Carter G. Woodson, who was born to parents who had both been enslaved and who read the newspaper to his illiterate father every day and grew up to study history at Harvard University and become the “Father of Black History.”

Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13

You’ve likely heard of the historic Apollo 13 [mission]. But do you know about the mathematical genius who made sure that Apollo 13 returned safely home? As a child, Katherine Johnson loved to count. She counted the steps on the road, the number of dishes and spoons she washed in the kitchen sink, everything! Boundless, curious, and excited by calculations, young Katherine longed to know as much as she could about math, about the universe. From Katherine’s early beginnings as a gifted student to her heroic accomplishments as a prominent mathematician at NASA, this is the story of a groundbreaking American woman who not only calculated the course of moon landings but, in turn, saved lives and made enormous contributions to history.

Frederick Douglass: The Lion Who Wrote History

Explores the life of Frederick Douglass, a self-educated slave in the South who grew up to become a leader of the abolitionist movement, a celebrated writer, an esteemed speaker, and a social reformer.

Game Changers: the Story of Venus and Serena Williams

Shares the story of sisters Venus and Serena Williams, including their special relationship as sisters and best friends, their constant training as children, and their incredible success in professional tennis.

Let the Children March

Under the leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King, children and teenagers march against segregation in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963.

Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop: The Sanitation Strike of 1968

This historical fiction picture book presents the story of nine-year-old Lorraine Jackson, who in 1968 witnessed the Memphis sanitation strike–Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s final stand for justice before his assassination–when her father, a sanitation worker, participated in the protest.

Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat

Jean-Michel Basquiat and his unique, collage-style paintings rocked to fame in the 1980s as a cultural phenomenon unlike anything the art work had ever seen. But before that, he was a little boy who saw art everywhere: in poetry books and museums, in games and in the words that we speak, and in the pulsing energy of New York City.

Someday is Now: Clara Luper and the 1958 Oklahoma City Sit-Ins

More than a year before the Greensboro sit-ins, a teacher named Clara Luper led a group of young people to protest the segregated Katz drugstore by sitting at its lunch counter. With simple, elegant art, Someday Is Now tells the inspirational story of this unsung hero of the Civil Rights movement.

The Undefeated

An ode to black American triumph and tribulation.

We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices

What do we tell our children when the world seems bleak, and prejudice and racism run rampant? With 96 lavishly designed pages of original art, poetry, and prose, fifty diverse creators lend voice and comfort to young activists.

Young, Gifted and Black: Meet 52 Black Heroes from Past and Present

This book brings together 52 iconic talents from countries around the world from the past and present and celebrates their inspirational achievements. Meet figureheads, leaders and pioneers such as Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and Rosa Parks, as well as cultural trailblazers and sporting heroes, including Stevie Wonder, Oprah Winfrey and Serena Williams.