We are celebrating Black History Month by following along with @hereweeread ‘s brilliant “29 Days of Black History” FREE printable wonderfully designed by @whimsicaldesigns_bycj.
Their poster is just perfect for a Bookish Play advocate like myself. It is numbered 1-29 (its a leap year!), with the majority of the numbers offering a prompt to choose a book with a particular purpose, such as, “Read a book about a famous musician of African descent” or “Read a book about an African American Inventor”, etc…
A Black History Printable Book List & More!
Below you will find the book we’ve selected for that Black History prompt. A few of the books will also be paired with art or sensory and featured on our Instagram @parentingnotperfection.
To start Black History month off right we created a printable list of books that we’ve selected to read with each prompt throughout the month. Click HERE for our Free Clickable & Printable Black History Book List along with a reading log and a sticker chart! This printable list is great to take with you to the library too, just check off the books you want and hand it to your local librarian to help you find the books you want!
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using this link.
34 Amazing Black History Picture Book Biographies…
1. “Carter Reads the Newspaper” by Deborah Hopkinson and illustrated by Don Tate is our choice for “read a book about a lesser known African American”. It is the story of Carter G. Woodson, the man responsible for Black History Month!
2. “Take a Picture of Me James Van Der Zee” by Andrea J. Money and illustrated by Keith Mallett is our choice for “Read a Book that takes place during the Harlem Renaissance”. It is the story of photographer James Van Der Zee.
3. “My Name is Celia: The Life of Celia Cruz” by Monica Brown and illustrated by Raphael López is our choice for “Read a book about a famous Afro-Latino/Latina”. It is the bilingual story of Celia Cruz, an Afro-Cuban singer named the “Queen of Salsa”.
4. “I, Too, Am America” by Langston Hughes and illustrated by Bryan Collier is our choice for Read a poetry book written by an African American author”. It is Langston Hughes famous poem.
5. “Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton” written and illustrated by Don Tate is our choice for “Read a poetry book written by an African American author”. It is the story of enslaved Poet George Moses Horton. We followed this up by reading some of his poetry found here.
6. “Parker Looks Up: An Extraordinary Moment” by Parker Curry & Jessica Curry and illustrated by Brittany Jackson. It is our choice for “Read a Book about Barack or Michelle Obama”. It is the story of a little girl named Parker Curry, who saw herself when she looked up in awe at the beautiful portrait of First Lady Michelle Obama at the National Portrait Gallery.
7. “Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters” by Barack Obama and illustrated by Loren Long. It is our choice for “Read a Book about Barack or Michelle Obama”. It is the endearing story of the qualities President Obama sees in a selection of famous Americans that he also sees in his daughters. We paired it with Fingerprint Unity Art, you can find that post here.
8. “Dear Benjamin Banneker” by Andrea Davis Pinkney and illustrated by Brian Pinkney. It is our choice for “Read a Book about an African American Inventor”. It is the story of Benjamin Banneker , an almanac author, surveyor, & he invented a clock made entirely of wood that worked for over 50 years!
9. “Ron’s Big Mission” by Rose Blue and illustrated by Corinne Nadin is our choice for “Read a Book about an African American woman/man in STEM (Science, Math, Technology, Engineering)”. It is the story of Ron McNair as a boy fighting for his right to borrow books from the library. He was successful and later became an Astronaut and physicist.
10. “Harlem’s Little Blackbird” by Renee Watson and illustrated by Christian Robinson is our choice for “Read a Book about a famous musician of African decscent”. It is the story of Florence Mills, Harlem Renaissance singer, known for her generosity.
11. “When Marian Sang: The True Recital of Marian Anderson” by Pam Munoz Ryan and illustrated by Brian Selznick. It is our choice for “Read a Book about a famous musician of African decscent”. It is the story of Marian Anderson, amazing opera singer who attracted an integrated crowd of 75,000 people in pre-Civil Rights America in 1939 at the Lincoln Memorial! You can watch a quick clip of her singing at this momentous occasion on YouTube here.
12. “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” by James Weldon Johnson and illustrated by Jan Spivey Gilchrist. It is our choice for “Sing the lyrics to ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing’ or read a picture book about the song”. It is a book depicting this very special song. We listened to Melinda Doolittle’s rendition found on YouTube here as we flipped through the pages and it was beautiful.
13. “Rosa” by Nikki Giovanni and illustrated by Brian Collier is our choice for “Read a Book about the Montgomery Bus Boycott”. It is the story of Rosa Parks and the difference that came from her standing up and saying “No”!
14. “Pies from Nowhere: How Georgia Gilmore Sustained the Montgomery Bus Boycott” by Dee Romito and illustrated by Laura Freeman is our choice for “Read a Book about the Montgomery Bus Boycott”. It is the story of Georgia Gilmore and how she helped support the Montgomery Bus Boycott by cooking & baking!
15. “The Other Side” by Jacqueline Woodson and illustrated by E. B. Lewis is our choice for “Read a Book about the Civil Rights Movement”. It is the story of two young girls who don’t understand why a literal and metaphorical fence separates them!
16. “Lillian’s Right to Vote: A Celebration of the Voting Rights Act of 1965” by Jonah Winter and illustrated by Brian Collier is our choice for “Read a Book about the Voting Rights Act of 1965”. It is the powerful story of a 100 year old woman, who recalls the history of her family’s struggles and celebrates the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
17. “The Stone Thrower” by Jael Ealey Richardson and illustrated by Matt James is our choice for “Read a book about an athlete of African decent”. It is the story of Chuck Ealey, an amazing Quarterback that was denied a place on a Professional American Team because of the color of his skin. It is told by his daughter. Learn more & check out our Bookish Play featuring this book here!
18. “Henry’s Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad” by Ellen Levine and illustrated by Brian Collier is our choice for “Read a Book about Henry “Box” Brown”. It is the story of Henry Brown, an enslaved man who shipped himself in a box to Philadelphia to find freedom.
19. “Gordon Parks: How the Photographer Captured Black and White America” by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by Jamey Christoph. It is our choice for “Read a Book about a famous artist of African descent”. It is the story of Gordon Parks, one of the most important photographers of the 20th Century!
20. “Two Friends: Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass” by Dean Robbins and illustrated by Sean Qualls & Selina Alko. It is our choice for “Read a Book about a famous political figure of African descent”. It is the story of Susan B. Anthony & Frederick Douglass becoming friends over tea & working together to fight for the rights of African Americans & Women! Learn more & check out our Bookish Play featuring this book here!
21. “Follow the Drinking Gourd: A Story of the Underground Railroad” by Bernadine Connelly and illustrated by Yvonne Buchanan. It is our choice for “Read a Book about the Underground Railroad”. It is a story of the Underground Railroad & a tiny glimpse of what it was like for an enslaved Mom and her 2 kids trying to escape to freedom!
22. “Unspoken: A Story from the Underground Railroad” by Henry Cole is our choice for “Read a Book about the Underground Railroad”. It is a powerful wordless story of the Underground Railroad.
23. “Juneteenth for Mazie” by Floyd Cooper is our choice for “Read a Book about Juneteenth”. It is a story about Juneteenth, the celebration of June 19, 1865’s announcement of the abolition of slavery in Texas.
24. “Muhammad Ali The People’s Champion” by Walter Dean Myers and illustrated by Alix Delinois. It is our choice for “Read a Book about Muhammad Ali” It is a look into the incredible life story of Muhammad Ali.
25. “Grandma’s Purse” written & illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton is our choice for “Read a Book written by a Black author and illustrated by a Black illustrator”. It is the sweetest book about a little girl, her grandma and all the fun they have exploring the contents of Grandma’s purse!
26. “I have a Dream” by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and illustrated by Kadir Nelson is our choice for “Read or listen to Dr. King’s I have a Dream Speech”. It is a beautifully illustrated pairing of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s powerful “I Have a Dream” Speech. We also watched his speech on Youtube here.
27. “Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13” by Helaine Becker and illustrated by Tiemdow Phumiruk is our choice for “Read a Book about Katherine Johnson”. It is a story about Katherine Johnson, an incredible Mathematical genius who helped NASA launch Apollo 11, help Apollo 13 return safely and so much more!
28. “Skit-Scat Raggedy Cat: Ella Fitzgerald” by Roxane Orgill and illustrated by Sean Qualls is our choice for “Read a Book about Ella Fitzgerald”. It is a story about Ella Fitzgerald, an incredible singer who went from rags to riches.
29. “The Water Princess” by Susan Verde and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds is our choice for “Read a Book about a famous Black environmentalist or climate activist”. It is a story basted on the childhood experience of Georgie Badíel. Life in Burkina Faso and a reminder of how important clean drinking water is.
30. “The Red Bicycle: The Extraordinary Story of One Ordinary Bicycle” by Jude Isabella and illustrated by Simone Shin is our choice for “Read a Book about a famous Black environmentalist or climate activist”. It is the story of how one donated bicycle can make a difference in the lives of many!
If you’re interested in donating your bicycle the book recommends checking out the following websites…
31. “Wind Flyers” by Angela Johnson and illustrated by Loren Long is our choice for “Read a Book about a Black person or Black people who served in the military”. It is the story of how a boys love of flight turned into a man in the under celebrated World War II heroes, the Tuskegee Airmen.
32. “The United States v. Jackie Robinson” by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen and illustrated by R. Gregory Christie is our choice for “Read a Book about a Black person or Black people who served in the military”. It is the story of Jackie Robinson. Long before he was a famous baseball player, he was a soldier during World War II. He experienced segregation everyday and refused to move to the back of the bus long before Rosa Parks.
33. “Sisters: Venus & Serena Williams” by Jeanette Winters and illustrated by Loren Long is our choice for “Read a Book about Venus or Serena Williams”. It is the story of the lives of two of the greatest tennis players in the world.
34. “The Undefeated” by Kwame Alexander and illustrated by Kadir Nelson is our choice for “Read a poetry book written by an African American author”. This powerful book won the Caldecott Award for Top Picture Book for Children in 2020. It is a poem, originally written and performed on The Undefeated website found here, turned into this remarkable book.
Are you ready to join in? Remember Black History is an important topic any time of year not just in February, so join in when you can! 🙂