Books by Theme
Celebration and Remembrance: Children’s Books About Black Lives
This collection includes a comic-book re-telling of real Wild West characters, plus picture book biographies of a young boy who shipped himself to freedom during the Civil War, a teenage Civil Right activist, a trailblazing pilot, a brilliant writer — and a sensitive but honest retelling of the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921. You'll also meet Kenny in a picture book about the pleasures of everyday activities, and Milo, who realizes on a subway ride to visit his Mom that you can't really know anyone just by looking at them.
Black Heroes of the Wild West
Meet colorful characters of the Wild West including a cigar-chewing stagecoach driver named Mary as well as other formerly enslaved people. The comic book format provides a brief but factual introduction to the period, to spark young readers' interest in learning more about lesser known people of the Old West.
Box: Henry Brown Mails Himself to Freedom
Henry Brown’s unique method to escape from slavery is presented in lyrical language and rich, multi-layered mixed media illustration. A box took Henry from slavery to freedom after his entire family had been “sold south.” Further resources are included.
Ida B. Wells, Voice of Truth
Ida B. Wells was an educator, journalist, feminist, businesswoman, newspaper owner, public speaker, suffragist, civil rights activist, and women’s club leader. She was a founder of the NAACP, the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs, the Alpha Suffrage Club, and the Negro Fellowship League. She wrote, spoke, and traveled, challenging the racist and sexist norms of her time.
Jump at the Sun: The True Life Tale of Unstoppable Storycatcher Zora Neale Hurston
The author first “met” Zora Neale Hurston in college intrigued by a friend’s delight in Hurston’s stories. With equal delight, Hurston's life and “storycatching” comes to life through an informal telling echoed in animated illustrations worth multiple examinations.
On Her Wings: The Story of Toni Morrison
Born Chloe Ardelia Wofford in Ohio, Toni Morrison grew up listening to her family tell myths, legends, and stories from the Bible. She loved hearing the music and power of the words. After an early childhood of soaking up tales from those around her, it was no surprise Toni grew into a voracious reader. When it came time for her to write her own stories, she knew she wanted to write about her people — Black people — and she began working on what would become an acclaimed and trailblazing body of work. Back matter includes further reading on Toni Morrison’s life and work.
Opal Lee and What It Means to Be Free: The True Story of the Grandmother of Juneteenth
Black activist Opal Lee had a vision of Juneteenth as a holiday for everyone. This true story celebrates Black joy and inspires children to see their dreams blossom. Growing up in Texas, Opal knew the history of Juneteenth, but she soon discovered that many Americans had never heard of the holiday. Join Opal on her historic journey to recognize and celebrate “freedom for all.”
She Persisted: Claudette Colvin
She was named after a white actress of the time, but this young Black girl’s life took a very different path. Claudette Colvin became a 15-year-old activist who refused to give up a bus seat to a white woman — before Rosa Parks. This early chapter biography makes a difficult and complex time and life accessible to younger readers. Look for additional titles in this thoroughly researched, well conceived, and thoughtfully presented series.
Sprouting Wings: The True Story of James Herman Banning, the First African American Pilot to Fly Across the United States
Extensive research about a previously unknown African American aviator whose story of perseverance and desire to fly resulted in a handsome, well told biography. Banning crossed the country gaining support and respect along the way. Extensive back matter is included.
The Secret Garden of George Washington Carver
The inspiring life and history of George Washington Carver, from a baby born into slavery to celebrated botanist, scientist, and inventor. When George Washington Carver was just a young child, he had a secret: a garden of his own, and it was in this very place that George’s love of nature sprouted into something so much more — his future. His passion and determination are the seeds to this lasting story about triumph over hardship.
Time for Kenny
Kenny is a whirlwind of everyday activities. Children will recognize what Kenny does in four vignettes — from getting up to getting dressed to getting ready for bed with lots in-between. Swirling black lines and touches of color on open pages present an active boy in a warm family.
Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre
Tulsa, Oklahoma, once housed an area called Black Wall Street. Successful African Americans owned and operated business in Greenwood, a section of the city. Without downplaying the horror, author and illustrator combine talents to present this brutal historical event in words and image. Additional resources are included.
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