Black American History

All year long our shelves are stocked with books celebrating the achievements and impact of Black Americans in our collective American experience. This is a curated selection of new, award-winning, and staff beloved books that commemorate these personal and historic achievements despite facing prejudice, discrimination, and racism throughout our nation's history. These books shared with family and friends illuminate our world & our history and engage necessary discussions about our collective responsibility to combat racism. They are available to order for shipping or contact free pickup.

 

Woke: A Young Poet's Call to Justice Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781250311207
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Roaring Brook Press - March 10th, 2020

"This collection of poems by women of color covers topics relating to social justice, activism, discrimination and empathy, focusing on the need to speak out and inspiring middle-graders." -Vogue

Woke: A Young Poet's Guide to Justice
is a collection of poems to inspire kids to stay woke and become a new generation of activists.


Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780316453691
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - March 10th, 2020

The #1 New York Times bestseller and a USAToday bestseller!

A timely, crucial, and empowering exploration of racism--and antiracism--in America


This is NOT a history book.
This is a book about the here and now.
A book to help us better understand why we are where we are.


Brave. Black. First.: 50+ African American Women Who Changed the World Cover Image
By Cheryl Hudson, Erin K. Robinson (Illustrator)
$18.99
ISBN: 9780525645818
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Crown Books for Young Readers - January 7th, 2020

Published in collaboration with the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, discover over fifty remarkable African American women whose unique skills and contributions paved the way for the next generation of young people. Perfect for fans of Rad Women Worldwide, Women in Science, and Girls Think of Everything.


The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read Cover Image
By Rita Lorraine Hubbard, Oge Mora (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9781524768287
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Schwartz & Wade - January 7th, 2020

Imagine learning to read at the age of 116! Discover the true story of Mary Walker, the nation's oldest student who did just that, in this picture book from a Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator and a rising star author.


Ride to Remember: A Civil Rights Story Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781419736858
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harry N. Abrams - January 7th, 2020

Lizzie Demands a Seat!: Elizabeth Jennings Fights for Streetcar Rights Cover Image
By Beth Anderson, E. B. Lewis (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9781629799391
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Calkins Creek - January 7th, 2020

In 1854, Elizabeth "Lizzie" Jennings, an African American schoolteacher, fought back when she was unjustly denied entry to a New York City streetcar, sparking the beginnings of the long struggle to gain equal rights on public transportation.


A Voice Named Aretha Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781681198507
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Bloomsbury Children's Books - January 7th, 2020

From acclaimed author and illustrator pairing comes a beautiful picture book biography about the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin and how she fought for respect throughout her life.

Aretha Franklin is the Queen of Soul, a legend. But before she became a star, she was a shy little girl with a voice so powerful it made people jump up, sway, and hum along.


The Secret Garden of George Washington Carver Cover Image
By Gene Barretta, Frank Morrison (Illustrator)
$18.99
ISBN: 9780062430151
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Katherine Tegen Books - January 14th, 2020

The inspirational story of George Washington Carver and his childhood secret garden is brought to life in this picture book biography by the author-illustrator team behind Muhammad Ali: A Champion Is BornThis nonfiction picture book is an excellent choice to share during homeschooling, in particular for children ages 4 to 6.


The Power of Her Pen: The Story of Groundbreaking Journalist Ethel L. Payne Cover Image
By Lesa Cline-Ransome, John Parra (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9781481462891
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books - January 14th, 2020

“A powerful story.” —The Horn Book
“A worthy addition to children’s biography collections.” —Booklist
“A solid treatment of an important but little-known figure, and it may prompt kids to think about the role and composition of a free press.” —BCCB
“Cline-Ransome tells [Ethel


Feed Your Mind: A Story of August Wilson Cover Image
By Jen Bryant, Cannaday Chapman (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9781419736537
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harry N. Abrams - November 12th, 2019

Zora!: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston Cover Image
$10.99
ISBN: 9780358097464
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Clarion Books - December 17th, 2019

Zora Neale Hurston was confident, charismatic, and determined to be extraordinary. As a young woman, Hurston lived and wrote alongside such prominent authors as Langston Hughes and Alain Locke during the Harlem Renaissance. But unfortunately, despite writing the luminary work Their Eyes Were Watching God, she was always short of money.


What Were the Negro Leagues? (What Was?) Cover Image
$5.99
ISBN: 9781524789985
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Workshop - December 24th, 2019

This baseball league that was made up of African American players and run by African American owners ushered in the biggest change in the history of baseball.


Madam C.J. Walker Builds a Business (A Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls Chapter Book) Cover Image
By Rebel Girls, Salini Perera (Illustrator)
$12.99
ISBN: 9781733176194
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Rebel Girls - November 12th, 2019

From the world of Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls comes a story based on the life of Madam C.J. Walker, America’s first female self-made millionaire.

Sarah is the first person in her family who wasn’t born into slavery in Delta, Louisiana. But being free doesn’t mean that Sarah doesn’t have to work.


Little Legends: Exceptional Men in Black History Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780316475143
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - November 19th, 2019

Author-illustrator Vashti Harrison shines a bold, joyous light on black men through history in this #1 New York Times bestseller.


Meet the Artist: Frank Bowling Cover Image
By Zoe Whitley, Hélène Baum (Illustrator)
$12.95
ISBN: 9781849766302
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tate - December 17th, 2019

Infinite Hope: A Black Artist's Journey from World War II to Peace Cover Image
By Ashley Bryan, Ashley Bryan (Illustrator)
$21.99
ISBN: 9781534404908
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books - October 15th, 2019

Recipient of a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Award
Recipient of a Bologna Ragazzi Non-Fiction Special Mention Honor Award
A Kirkus Reviews Best Middle Grade Book of 2019

From celebrated author and illustrator Ashley Bryan comes a deeply moving picture book memoir about serving in the segregated army during World War II, and how love and the pur


Thurgood Cover Image
By Jonah Winter, Bryan Collier (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9781524765330
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Schwartz & Wade - September 3rd, 2019

Thurgood Marshall--the first black justice on the Supreme Court and a giant of the civil rights movement--jumps to life in this inspiring picture-book biography from an award-winning author and six-time Coretta Scott King, four-time Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator.


One Person, No Vote (YA edition): How Not All Voters Are Treated Equally Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781547601073
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Bloomsbury YA - September 17th, 2019

In her New York Times bestseller White Rage, Carol Anderson laid bare an insidious history of policies that have systematically impeded black progress in America, from 1865 to our combustible present.


Child of the Dream (A Memoir of 1963) Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781338282801
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scholastic Press - September 3rd, 2019

An incredible memoir from Sharon Robinson about one of the most important years of the civil rights movement.


A Place to Land: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Speech That Inspired a Nation Cover Image
By Barry Wittenstein, Jerry Pinkney (Illustrator)
$18.99
ISBN: 9780823443314
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Neal Porter Books - August 27th, 2019

As a new generation of activists demands an end to racism, A Place to Land reflects on Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech and the movement that it galvanized.

Winner of the Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children
Selected for the Texas Bluebonnet Master List


Rise!: From Caged Bird to Poet of the People, Maya Angelou Cover Image
By Bethany Hegedus, Tonya Engel (Illustrator)
$20.95
ISBN: 9781620145876
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Lee & Low Books - August 13th, 2019

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the publication of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, this beautiful biography of Maya Angelou describes how she rose above a childhood of trauma and emotional pain to become one of the most inspiring voices of our lifetime.

Writer, activist, trolley car conductor, dancer, mother, and humanitarian--Maya Angelou's life was marked by transfor


Biddy Mason Speaks Up Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781597144032
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Heyday Books - February 1st, 2019

Building on the brilliance of Fred Korematsu Speaks Up, the newest installment in the Fighting for Justice series introduces young readers to another real-life champion for civil rights: Bridget "Biddy" Mason, an African American philanthropist, healer, and midwife who was born into slavery.


Birth of the Cool: How Jazz Great Miles Davis Found His Sound Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781624146909
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Page Street Kids - April 16th, 2019

Miles can’t sleep.
Taps his toes,
snaps his fingers,
can’t stop thinking of ways
to make music his own.


This Promise of Change: One Girl’s Story in the Fight for School Equality Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781681198521
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Bloomsbury Children's Books - January 8th, 2019

Recipient of a Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Honor
Winner of the 2019 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Nonfiction
A NYPL Top Ten of 2019
A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year


What Do You Do with a Voice Like That?: The Story of Extraordinary Congresswoman Barbara Jordan Cover Image
By Chris Barton, Ekua Holmes (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9781481465618
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Beach Lane Books - September 25th, 2018

“When Barbara Jordan talked, we listened.” —Former President of the United States, Bill Clinton

Congresswoman Barbara Jordan had a big, bold, confident voice—and she knew how to use it!


Who Were the Tuskegee Airmen? (Who Was?) Cover Image
$5.99
ISBN: 9780399541940
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Workshop - August 7th, 2018

It's up, up, and away with the Tuskegee Airmen, a heroic group of African American military pilots who helped the United States win World War II.


Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13 Cover Image
By Helaine Becker, Dow Phumiruk (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9781250137524
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) - June 19th, 2018

The bold story of Katherine Johnson, an African-American mathematician who worked for NASA during the space race and was depicted in the film Hidden Figures.

You've likely heard of the historic Apollo 13 moon landing. But do you know about the mathematical genius who made sure that Apollo 13 returned safely home?


Good Trouble: Lessons from the Civil Rights Playbook Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9781419732355
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harry N. Abrams - January 8th, 2019

The Life of Frederick Douglass: A Graphic Narrative of a Slave's Journey from Bondage to Freedom Cover Image
By David F. Walker, Damon Smyth (Illustrator), Marissa Louise (Illustrator)
$19.99
ISBN: 9780399581441
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ten Speed Press - January 8th, 2019

A graphic novel biography of the escaped slave, abolitionist, public speaker, and most photographed man of the nineteenth century, based on his autobiographical writings and speeches, spotlighting the key events and people that shaped the life of this great American.


A Child's Introduction to African American History: The Experiences, People, and Events That Shaped Our Country (A Child's Introduction Series) Cover Image
By Jabari Asim, Lynn Gaines (Illustrator)
$19.99
ISBN: 9780316436427
Availability: Backordered
Published: Black Dog & Leventhal - January 2nd, 2018

A comprehensive, entertaining look at heroes, heroines, and critical moments from African American history -- from the slave trade to the Black Lives Matter movement --by award-winning author Jabari Asim.


A Few Red Drops: The Chicago Race Riot of 1919 Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780544785137
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Clarion Books - January 2nd, 2018

On a hot day in July 1919, five black youths went swimming in Lake Michigan, unintentionally floating close to the "white" beach. An angry white man began throwing stones at the boys, striking and killing one. Racial conflict on the beach erupted into days of urban violence that shook the city of Chicago to its foundations.


Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062742469
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperCollins - January 16th, 2018

Based on the New York Times bestselling book and the Academy Award–nominated movie, author Margot Lee Shetterly and Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Award winner Laura Freeman bring the incredibly inspiring true story of four black women who helped NASA launch men into space to picture book readers! 


Overground Railroad Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780823438730
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Holiday House - January 7th, 2020

A window into a child's experience of the Great Migration from the award-winning creators of Before She Was Harriet and Finding Langston.


Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History (Vashti Harrison) Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780316475112
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - December 5th, 2017

This beautifully illustrated board book edition of instant bestseller Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History showcases women who changed the world and is the perfect goodnight book to inspire big dreams.


Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780763680466
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Candlewick - September 12th, 2017

In luminous paintings and arresting poems, two of children’s literature’s top African-American scholars track Arturo Schomburg’s quest to correct history.

Where is our historian to give us our side? Arturo asked.


The Quilts of Gee's Bend Cover Image
$21.95
ISBN: 9781419721311
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harry N. Abrams - June 13th, 2017

Fancy Party Gowns: The Story of Fashion Designer Ann Cole Lowe Cover Image
By Deborah Blumenthal, Laura Freeman (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9781499802399
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: little bee books - January 17th, 2017

A beautiful picture book about Ann Cole Lowe, a little-known African-American fashion designer who battled personal and social adversity in order to pursue her passion of making beautiful gowns and went on to become one of society's top designers.

Wisps of cloth would fall from their worktables like confetti,

and Ann would scoop them up and turn them into flowers


The Legendary Miss Lena Horne Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781481468244
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Atheneum Books for Young Readers - January 24th, 2017

Celebrate the life of Lena Horne, the pioneering African American actress and civil rights activist, with this inspiring and powerful picture book from award-winning author Carole Boston Weatherford.

You have to be taught to be second class; you’re not born that way.

Lena Horne was born into the freedom struggle, to a family of teachers and activists.


The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights Cover Image
$12.99
ISBN: 9781250073495
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Square Fish - January 3rd, 2017

An astonishing World War II military story of civil rights from New York Times bestselling author and Newbery Honor recipient Steve Sheinkin.

A National Book Award Finalist
A YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction Finalist
A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year


Unpunished Murder: Massacre at Colfax and the Quest for Justice (Scholastic Focus) Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9781338239461
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scholastic Focus - January 7th, 2020

The riveting story of how the Supreme Court turned a blind eye on justice, stripped away the equal rights promised to all Americans, and ushered in the era of Jim Crow.


A thrilling and incisive examination of the post-Reconstruction era struggle for and suppression of African American voting rights in the United States.

Following the Civil War, the Reconstruction era raised a new question to those in power in the US: Should African Americans, so many of them former slaves, be granted the right to vote?


Ready to Fly: How Sylvia Townsend Became the Bookmobile Ballerina Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780062888785
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperCollins - January 28th, 2020

Lyrical, inspiring, and affecting text paired with bright, appealing illustrations make Ready to Fly perfect for aspiring ballerinas everywhere who are ready to leap and to spread their wings!


Althea Gibson: The Story of Tennis' Fleet-of-Foot Girl Cover Image
By Megan Reid, Laura Freeman (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062851093
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Balzer + Bray - January 21st, 2020

A spirited picture book biography about Althea Gibson, the first black Wimbledon, French, and U.S.


Malcolm X: By Any Means Necessary (Scholastic Focus) Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9781338309850
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scholastic Nonfiction - December 26th, 2019

A classic and highly acclaimed biography of civil rights activist Malcolm X, ever more relevant for today's readers.


Breakthrough!: How Three People Saved
$10.99
ISBN: 9780358094258
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Clarion Books - November 19th, 2019

In 1944, a groundbreaking operation repaired the congenital heart defect known as blue baby syndrome. The operation’s success brought the surgeon Alfred Blalock international fame and paved the way for open-heart surgery.


The Escape of Robert Smalls: A Daring Voyage Out of Slavery Cover Image
By Jehan Jones-Radgowski, Poppy Kang (Illustrator)
$18.99
ISBN: 9781543512816
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Capstone Editions - September 1st, 2019

The mist in Charleston Inner Harbor was heavy, but not heavy enough to disguise the stolen Confederate steamship, the Planter, from Confederate soldiers. In the early hours of May 13, 1862, in the midst of the deadly U.S. Civil War, an enslaved man named Robert Smalls was about to carry out a perilous plan of escape.


Accused!: The Trials of the Scottsboro Boys: Lies, Prejudice, and the Fourteenth Amendment Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781629797755
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Calkins Creek - October 15th, 2019

An ALSC Notable Children's Book * A Kirkus Reviews Best Book * A Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People


Reaching for the Moon: The Autobiography of NASA Mathematician Katherine Johnson Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781534440838
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atheneum Books for Young Readers - July 2nd, 2019

A Kirkus Reviews Best Middle Grade Book of 2019

“This rich volume is a national treasure.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Captivating, informative, and inspiring…Easy to follow and hard to put down.” —School Library Journal (starred review)

The inspiring autobiography of NASA mathematici


The Undefeated Cover Image
By Kwame Alexander, Kadir Nelson (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9781328780966
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Versify - April 2nd, 2019

Winner of the 2020 Caldecott Medal
A 2020 Newbery Honor Book
Winner of the 2020 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award

The Newbery Award-winning author of THE CROSSOVER pens an ode to black American triumph and tribulation, with art from a two-time Caldecott Honoree.

Originally performed for ESPN's The Undefeated, this poem is a love letter to black life


Dark Sky Rising: Reconstruction and the Dawn of Jim Crow (Scholastic Focus) Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9781338262049
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Scholastic Nonfiction - January 29th, 2019

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. presents a journey through America's past and our nation's attempts at renewal in this look at the Civil War's conclusion, Reconstruction, and the rise of Jim Crow segregation.


The Vast Wonder of the World: Biologist Ernest Everett Just Cover Image
By Mélina Mangal, Luisa Uribe (Illustrator)
$19.99
ISBN: 9781512483758
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Millbrook Press (Tm) - November 1st, 2018

A must-purchase picture book biography of a figure sure to inspire awe and admiration among readers.--School Library Journal (starred review)
Extraordinary illustrations and lyrical text present pioneering African American scientist Ernest Everett Just.


Attucks!: Oscar Robertson and the Basketball Team That Awakened a City Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9780374306120
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) - October 23rd, 2018

An ALA Notable Book of 2019
NYPL Best Book for Teens of 2018
A 2018 Booklist Youth Editors' Choice
A Center for the Study of Multicultural Children's Literature Best Book of 2018
A Kirkus Reviews Best YA Nonfiction Book of 2018
An ALSC Notable Children's Book of 2019
A YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award Nominee


The Bell Rang Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781442421134
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books - January 15th, 2019

Recipient of a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Award
A Kirkus Reviews Best Picture Book of 2019

A young slave girl witnesses the heartbreak and hopefulness of her family and their plantation community when her brother escapes for freedom in this brilliantly conceived picture book by Coretta Scott King Award winner James E.


Standing Up Against Hate: How Black Women in the Army Helped Change the Course of WWII Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781419731600
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harry N. Abrams - January 8th, 2019

Young Gifted and Black: Meet 52 Black Heroes from Past and Present Cover Image
By Jamia Wilson, Andrea Pippins (Illustrator)
$22.99
ISBN: 9781786031587
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Wide Eyed Editions - February 1st, 2018

“...to be revisited again and again…The candy-colored pages and straightforward stories are hard to resist…” –The New York Times

“...diverse collection of iconic figures…vibrantly illustrated…beautifully crafted volume…” –Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review


“…exuberant


Mae Among the Stars Cover Image
By Roda Ahmed, Stasia Burrington (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062651730
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperCollins - January 9th, 2018

A beautiful picture book for sharing and marking special occasions such as graduation, inspired by the life of the first African American woman to travel in space, Mae Jemison. An Amazon Best Book of the Month!

A great classroom and bedtime read-aloud, Mae Among the Stars is the perfect book for young readers who have big dreams and even bigger hearts.