African American History, Biography & Culture: Books for Preschoolers

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These books can connect preschool children to stories about African American history, culture, and some notable African American figures. Caregivers and educators can use these titles to add positive messages about race into a world where negative messages can persist. Check out other titles by the authors on this list to continue expanding dialog with preschool children. To learn more about positive racial identity development in early education, take a look at the Understanding PRIDE in Pittsburgh report.

Before She Was Harriet

A biography of Harriet Tubman written in verse to honor a woman of humble origins whose courage and compassion make her larger than life.

The Doctor with an Eye for Eyes : The Story of Dr. Patricia Bath

As a girl coming of age during the Civil Rights Movement, Patricia Bath made it her mission to become a doctor. When obstacles like racism, poverty, and sexism threatened this goal, she persevered–brightening the world with a game-changing treatment for blindness.

Grandpa Stops a War : A Paul Robeson Story

Based on the true story of singer and activist Paul Robeson’s visit to the front lines of the Spanish Civil War, this recollection of his bravery and activism by his granddaughter shows readers the power of art in times of discord and war. Includes author’s note.

Hands Up!

A young girl lifts her hands up in a series of everyday moments before finally raising her hands in resistance at a protest march.

Mae Among the Stars

Mae wanted to be an astronaut. She dreamed of dancing in space. She imagined herself surrounded by billions of stars, floating, gliding, and discovering. Her parents encouraged her, saying, “If you believe it, and work hard for it, anything is possible.” This encouragement, along with Mae’s own curiosity, intelligence, and determination, paved the way for her to become the first African American woman to travel in space.

Woke Baby

A lyrical and empowering book that celebrates both what it means to be a baby and what it means to be woke.