In recognition of Black History Month, we put together a list of children’s books that explore black history and the black experience, in Canada and elsewhere. These books are a great way to start a conversation with your kids and for them to learn about themselves and others.
Viola Desmond Won’t Be Budged by Jody Nyasha (Ages 5-9)
This beautifully illustrated book is about Viola Desmond and Canadian segregation. It follows her journey of being asked to move to the balcony in a movie theatre, and her refusal to do so. She inspired a group of African Canadians to appeal the fine she received and challenge segregation laws in Nova Scotia.
Mae Among the Stars by Roda Ahmed (Ages 4-7)
This is the story of Mae Jemison, the first female African-American astronaut. As a little girl she decides to become an astronaut, but after her teacher tells her she should be a nurse instead, her parents encourage Mae to follow her dream.
Rosa Parks (Little People Big Dreams) by Lisbeth Kaiser (Ages 3-6)
This is a great book about Rosa Parks and her stand against segregation in the United States. It’s well written and the concepts racism, segregation, and perseverance are presented in a way that is easy for young children to understand.
Be a King: Dr. Martin Luther Kind Jr.’s Dream and You by Carol Boston Weatherford (Ages 5-9)
This book shows kids how to incorporate Dr. King’s messages in their everyday lives. It gives examples of how to be loving and accepting of others.
Greetings, Leroy by Itah Sadu (Ages 5-9)
Leroy and his family have just moved to Canada from Jamaica. He finds that he can make connections with the people in his life through a shared love of Bob Marley’s music. This book tells the immigrant experience from a child’s perspective and demonstrates that we have more in common than not.
Are there other great books that you think should be on this list? Comment on our Facebook page.