5 Bedtime Books for Black History Month
It’s never too early to talk about race with your kids — and it’s never too late to educate yourself as a parent. One of the best ways to learn and teach about black culture is to pick up a book by a black author. Textbooks can miss a lot when it comes to the black experience, so one of the most valuable sources of inspiration, education, and tradition is the black community itself.
In honor of Black History Month, we’ve curated a list of our favorite children’s books by black authors and illustrators. However, we’re sure you and your little ones will continue enjoying these bedtime stories all year long.
Rio Cortez penned the perfect book for all ages. Vibrant illustrations and rhyme schemes make learning black history fun! Introduce black visionaries and major civil rights events early through this easy ABC format. You’ll probably even learn a little bit yourself!
Looking for a book that will grow with your baby? We love The Jazz Man by Karen Ehrhardt. Rhythm is front and center in her book that introduces legends of the African American jazz community from Parker to Ellington. Ehrhardt’s book is a light and fun read that will lull the littlest of babies to sleep. And as your kiddo grows, they’ll start to learn about the history of jazz and the role it plays in black history and culture.
Have you heard of Mae Jemison? If not, that’s even more reason to pick up this inspiring children’s book. Mae Among the Stars tells the story of Mae Jemison, the first African American woman to travel in space. We love the message this gives kids: dream big and shoot for the stars! Plus, not enough books on our shelves highlight amazing black women from history, which is another reason why this beautiful picture book by Roda Ahmed makes our list.
Juneteenth officially became a national holiday in 2021, which makes this book a perfect addition to your bedtime rotation this year! Coretta Scott King Award Winner, Floyd Cooper tells the story of a little girl learning about her ancestors' road to freedom in Juneteenth for Mazie. No matter your race, explaining slavery to young kids can be difficult. We love the way this book highlights the importance of freedom and the meaning of liberty while still recognizing that not all Americans have always had this privilege. We recommend this book for ages 6 and up.
There aren’t enough portrayals of amazing black fathers in the media, which is why we adore Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry. Well, one of the many reasons! This book focuses on a young girl’s journey to loving her unique hair. The message of this book can be taken literally, as a tool to teach children of color self-love. But, we also love that his book sends a general message of confidence and the beauty in being different, which all readers can relate to.
We hope this list has left you inspired to add a few new books to your little one’s bedtime story list. Yes, February is Black History Month, but we should be celebrating and learning about black culture and traditions all year long. We also wanted to note, all of these titles can be found at any major bookseller, but we have used links to Mahogany Books. Mahogany Books is a black-owned online bookstore that takes a leadership role in the African American community promoting reading, writing, and cultural awareness as tools to improve communities as well as enrich the lives of motivated individuals. We encourage you to support your local black-owned businesses whenever you can, especially during Black History Month!