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Black History for Children

Recommended reading from the Juvenile Collections to support understanding and appreciation of Black History.

Celebrating Black History

What we now commemorate as Black History Month began as Negro History Week back in 1926. 

Take a look at these guides for more information about African American children's book authors and illustrators, as well as books about the African American experience:

African American Authors for Children

African American Illustrators for Children

Coretta Scott King Award 

Carter G. Woodson

Dr. Carter G. Woodson, generally considered the father of Black History, was the driving force behind the establishment of this annual celebration.  He selected February as a tribute to Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln -- both of whom were born in February.

Woodson, the son of former slaves, did not begin his formal schooling until the age of 20.  However, he quickly went on to earn both bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Chicago and later he became the second African American man to earn a doctorate from Harvard.

Awards and Best Book Lists

Awards:  Various groups of librarians, teachers and reviewers administer awards that identify outstanding books for children and teens. Among the awards cited in this bibliography are:

Caldecott Medal

Coretta Scott King Author Award

Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award

Coretta Scott King New Talent Award

National Book Award

Newbery Medal

Sibert Medal

Best Book Lists:  The American Library Association and many reviewing journals develop lists of what they consider the most outstanding books for children and teens in any given year.  Books named on the following best books lists are included in this bibliography:

ALA Notables



Publisher's Weekly

School Library Journal


This guide is designed to help today's children learn about the rich history and the significant struggles of America's Black community. The books listed have been nationally recognized for their quality and represent a wide variety of reading and interest levels.