Celebrate Black History/Black Futures Month with Stories that Inspire


We’ve carefully updated our children’s book recommendations for Black History/Black Futures Month — from colorful picture books to thought-provoking YA reads.

Here are a few of our favorites:

The Kindest Red by Ibtihaj Muhammad with S.K. Ali with illustrations by Hatem Ali

Grade Level: PK-1

The sequel to the acclaimed New York Times bestseller The Proudest Blue shows the power of friendship and kindness from Olympic medalist Ibtihaj Muhammad.

It’s picture day, and Faizah can’t wait to wear her special red dress with matching hair ribbons, passed down from her mother and sister. Faizah’s teacher starts the day by asking her students to envision the kind of world they want, inspiring Faizah and her friends to spend the day helping one another in ways large and small. 

But when it’s time for sibling pictures, Faizah realizes that she and her older sister, Asiya, don’t match like her classmates do with their siblings. With help from her classmates inspired by Asiya’s hijab, Faizah finds that acts of kindness can come back to you in unexpected ways. 

From Olympic medalist Ibtihaj Muhammad and fellow bestselling, award-winning creators S.K. Ali and Hatem Aly comes a heartfelt exploration of friendship, faith, and the joy of spreading kindness wherever you go.

Dear Black Child by Rahma Rodaah with illustrations by Lydia Mba

Grade Level: K-1

In the spirit of I Am Enough, this is a moving and lyrical tribute to and affirmation of Black children around the world—by an exciting new author and illustrator team.

Dear Black Child,

We are here to remind you of your glory…

An inspiring love letter to Black children from all cultures, this book is a celebration of their beauty, joy, and resilience.

Dear Black Child is a story of self-acceptance, love, and empowerment for Black immigrant children and families of the diaspora around the world and features joyful and vibrant illustrations.

A Hero Like Me by Jein Reid and Angela Joy with illustrations by Leire Salaberria

Grade Level: 3-5

A Hero Like Me is inspired by the events of June 7, 2020, when a statue of seventeenth-century slave trader Edward Colston was pulled down and thrown into Bristol Harbour during an anti-racism protest. Co-author Jen Reid was one of the protesters that day, and despite being afraid of heights, she spontaneously climbed onto the empty plinth and raised her fist high above her head – a moment that was captured on camera and shared around the world.

On the morning of July 15, a statue of Jen by Marc Quinn was added to the empty plinth. It was called A Surge of Power, and it gained national attention for the 24 hours it was in place and beyond. 

This inspiring picture book tells the story of these events through the eyes of a little girl who sees a towering statue every day on her way to school. A statue of a man who sold freedom for cotton and tea. The world around her says this man is a hero. But she knows he’s not a hero – not a real one.

Shark Teeth by Sherri Winston

Grade Level: 4-8

From National Book Award longlisted author Sherri Winston comes an important middle-grade novel about a girl’s tumultuous journey to keep her family together, even when she’s falling apart.

Sharkita “Kita” Hayes is always waiting. Waiting for her mama to mess up. Waiting for social services to be called again. Waiting for her and her siblings to be separated. Waiting for her worst fear to come true.

But Mama promises things are different now. She’s got a good job, she’s stopped drinking, stopped going out every night. It’s almost enough to make Kita believe her this time. But even as Kita’s life is going good, she can’t shake the feeling that everything could go up in flames at any moment. When her assistant principal and trusted dance coach starts asking questions about her home life, Kita is more determined than ever to keep up appearances and make sure her family stays together — even if it means falling apart herself.

As the threat of her family being separated again circles like a shark in the water, the pressure starts to get to Kita. But could it be that Kita’s worst fear is actually the best thing that could happen to her family . . . and to her?

Wearing My Mother’s Heart by Sophia Thakur

Grade Level: 9-12

In her heartfelt second poetry collection, Sophia Thakur takes us on an emotionally charged journey through the lives of women in the past and considers what it means to be a woman today. Exploring topics such as identity, race, politics, mental health, and self-love, she weaves together the voices of a grandmother, mother, and daughter and examines how previous generations have given us the freedom to speak out. Encompassing love from first crush to breakup, as well as the history that comes before us and the brave moments that make us, this collection will resonate with all young women as they approach the joys and pain of adulthood.

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