We all know that reading to kids has lifelong benefits. From enriching vocabulary to encouraging brain development, reading is one of the best activities we can do with our children. Books fire up imaginations, and through them, we expose our children to facts and fantasy, the world as it is, and how we want it to be.
The best bookshelf is a diverse bookshelf. Children should see themselves in the stories. When you read to your child, you want them to see a representation of the neighbor down the street, their BFF from school, their math teacher, and the owner of your favorite family restaurant in the pages of their books. People of all colors and abilities make our world wonderfully rich, and the characters that spring to life in your child’s mind as they read should reflect that.
This month is Black History month, and the books we are recommending will enrich your bookshelves not only this month but all year long.
By Brad Meltzer
For younger kids, this book (one of a series) introduces kids to the biographies of American heroes in a fun and engaging way that teaches them that anyone can be a hero.
This series, Ordinary People Change the World, also highlights other heroes of many races and abilities. Here you will find board books for early readers and advanced books for older kids. Fill your shelves with inspiration from:
Harriet Tubman (helped African American slaves escape to freedom)
Frida Kahlo (a Mexican artist)
Anne Frank (a Jewish girl and her story of living through WW2)
Sonia Sotomayor (Latina Supreme Court Justice)
Gandhi (helped free India from British rule and inspired civil rights)
Sacagawea (Native American girl turned explorer)
Helen Keller (a girl who became deaf and blind, yet overcame and fought for the rights of others)
By T. Marie Harris
Every child deserves to have their dreams validated. This book does that, and more!
By Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Illustrated by Kadir Nelson
The words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous speech come to life with the rich illustrations in this book. The book also comes with an audio CD.
By Barack Obama
Who better to tell our kids about what is possible than our first African American president? Barack Obama pens this story as a letter to his daughters in which he honors thirteen American heroes and their stories.
This book for older kids (5th grade and up) reads like an inspiring letter in the words of Ruby Bridges, the first Black child to integrate into a New Orleans elementary school in the 1960s.
By Deloris Jordan and Roslyn M. Jordan
Written by Michael Jordan’s mother and sister, this book tells the tale of a boy who did not think he had what it took to make it in basketball, but his will and determination took him all the way to the top.
By Amanda Gorman
Amanda Gorman caught our eyes and hearts at the presidential inauguration; however, her words have inspired people for years. This is a picture book for younger kids, and it illustrates the power to change.
By Amanda Gorman
This book is history in real-time! Amanda Gorman’s poem, “The Hill We Climb,” will inspire people of all ages.