The following books feature Black characters and/or celebrate Black history and achievements.

Age 0-3

I Love My Hair! Natasha Anastasia Tarpley and E. B. Lewis *New*

A modern classic, this whimsical story has been celebrating the beauty of African-American hair for 20 years!

In this imaginative, evocative story, a girl named Keyana discovers the beauty and magic of her special hair, encouraging black children to be proud of their heritage and enhancing self-confidence.

 

Dream Big, Little One, Vashti Harrison *New*

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.

My Hair, Hannah Lee *New*

My birthday's coming up so soon, I'll need new clothes to wear. But how shall I style my hair? Joyous and vibrant, this captures the excitement of getting ready for a celebration, as well as showcasing a dazzling array of intricate hairstyles.

Hooray for May Seacole, Trish Cooke

Mary is a brave nurse. When a war starts in the Crimea she sails across the sea to help, and even enters the battlefield!

Coming to England, Floella Benjamin

A warm and moving autobiographical story of Floella's journey from Trinidad to England in the 1960s as part of the Windrush generation.

 

Age 3-5

 

Change Sings, A Children's Anthem, Amanda Gorman and Loren Long *New*
A lyrical picture book debut from presidential inaugural poet Amanda Gorman and No.1 New York Times bestselling illustrator Loren Long. "I can hear change humming In its loudest, proudest song. I don't fear change coming, And so I sing along."

 

Looking for Jumbie, Tracey Baptiste and Amber Ren *New*
New York Times bestselling author Tracey Baptiste and acclaimed illustrator Amber Ren take readers on a fun, creepy, storytime-ready romp through a forest filled with creatures from Caribbean folklore.

Mae Among the Stars, Roda Ahmed and Stasia Burrington *New*
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.

I Am Enough, Grace Byers *New*
This gorgeous, lyrical ode to loving who you are, respecting others, and being kind to one another. We are all here for a purpose. We are more than enough. We just need to believe it.

Hair Love, Matthew A. Cherry *New*
It's up to Daddy to give his daughter an extra-special hair style in this story of self-confidence and the love between fathers and daughters. Zuri knows her hair is beautiful, but it has a mind of its own!

The Day You Begin, Jacqueline Woodson and Rafael Lopez *New*
There will be times when you walk into a room and no one there is quite like you. There are many reasons to feel different. Maybe it's how you look or talk, or where you're from; maybe it's what you eat, or something just as random. It's not easy to take those first steps into a place where nobody really knows you yet, but somehow you do it. 


Kamala Harris: Rooted in Justice (Hardback), Nikki Grimes and Laura Freeman *New*
Discover the incredible story of a young daughter of immigrants who would grow up to be the first woman, first Black person, and first South Asian American ever elected Vice President of the United States in this moving picture book biography of Kamala Harris.
 

The No. 1 Car Spotter series, Atinuke *New*
Oluwalase Babatunde Benson is No. 1. He's the No. 1 car spotter in his village - probably the No. 1 car spotter in the world! Follow his adventures in his west African village. 

 

Anna Hibiscus series, Atinuke *New*
Anna Hibiscus lives in amazing Africa with her mother, her father, her baby twin brothers, and lots and lots of her family. Join her as she splashes in the sea, prepares for a party, sells oranges, and hopes to see sweet, sweet snow!

 

My Beautiful Voice, Joseph Coelho *New*

A moving, lyrical picture book about a shy child unlocking the power of their own voice through poetry, with the helping hand of an extra special teacher.

I Am Every Good Thing, Derrick Barnes and Gordon C James *New*
A poetic paean to the brilliance of black boys, its energetic pages filled with courage, joy and vivid, dynamic illustrations. “I am a roaring flame of creativity,” it asserts, “and without a shadow of a doubt, I am worthy to be loved.”

A Story About Afiya, James Berry *New*
Poetry from James Berry. Afiya has only one dress, but that dress is all she needs – each day it takes on the beautiful imprints of her memories (flowers, birds, tigers or shoals of fish), and is washed clean in time for morning.

Sulwe, Lupita Nyong'o

It follows the story of a young girl who wishes for her dark skin to be lighter. The story is ultimately about colorism and learning to love oneself, no matter one's skin tone.

Age 5-7

Nina, A story of Nina Simone, Traci N. Todd and Christian Robinson *New*

This illuminating and defining picture book biography tells the story of little Eunice who grew up to become the acclaimed singer Nina Simone and her bold, defiant, and exultant legacy.


Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut, Derrick Barnes and Gordon C. James*New*
A young boy's trip to the barber shop is a joyful celebration of confidence and self-esteem.The barber shop is where magic happens! Boys go in as lumps of clay and, with princely robes draped around their shoulders, a dab of cool shaving cream on their foreheads and a slow, steady cut, they become royalty.

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History, Vashti Harrison *New*
Meet the little leaders. They're brave. They're bold. They changed the world. Featuring 40 trailblazing black women in the world's history, this book educates and inspires as it relates true stories of women who broke boundaries and exceeded all expectations. 

 

Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library, Carole Boston Weatherford *New*
Amid the scholars, poets, authors, and artists of the Harlem Renaissance stood an Afro–Puerto Rican named Arturo Schomburg. This law clerk’s life’s passion was to collect books, letters, music, and art from Africa and the African diaspora and bring to light the achievements of people of African descent through the ages. When Schomburg’s collection became so big it began to overflow his house (and his wife threatened to mutiny), he turned to the New York Public Library.

 

Jump at the Sun: The True Life Tale of Unstoppable Storycatcher Zora Neale Hurston, Alicia D. Williams *New*
A shimmering picture book that shines the light on Zora Neale Hurston, the extraordinary writer and storycatcher extraordinaire who changed the face of American literature. Zora was a girl who hankered for tales like bees for honey. Zora jumped from place to place, from the porch of the general store where she listened to folktales, to Howard University, to Harlem. And everywhere she jumped, she shined sunlight on the tales most people hadn’t been bothered to listen to until Zora. 

Windrush Child, Benjamin Zephaniah *New*

In this heart-stopping adventure based on real historical events, Benjamin Zephaniah shows us an important and intriguing time in Britain that's sure to fascinate young readers.

Space Detectives, Mark Powers and Dapo Adeola *New*

Two Earth boys stumble into a mystery on Starville, the world’s first orbiting city. Someone has set the station on a course to collide with the moon – but who? 

The Undefeated, Kwame Alexander and Kadir Nelson

This poem is a love letter to black life in the United States. It highlights the unspeakable trauma of slavery, the faith and fire of the civil rights movement, and the grit, passion, and perseverance of some of the world's greatest heroes.

The Story of the Windrush, K.N. Chimbiri

In June 1948, hundreds of Carribean men, women and children arrived in London on a ship called the HMT Empire Windrush.  This brilliantly informative book tells their story, combining facts with accounts from people who were there, archive photos, mini biographies, maps and a timeline.  

Voices (series) - Diver's Daughter: A Tudor Story, Patrice Lawrence

Eve’s a black girl in Tudor London – and she’s diving into a shipwreck. They’re just like any other poor family, except that Eve’s mum was stolen from East Africa as a child. When the legendary warship Mary Rose is shipwrecked, a survivor named George Symon tells them some news. One of the crew sent to salvage its treasures is an African free diver! Well – Eve’s mum knows how to dive, too. If she can team up with this man, they could make their fortunes! But soon all of them are in dangerous water. Can Eve dive deep to save her mum?

 

Voices (series) - Son of the Circus - A Victorian Story, E. L. Norry

From the slums to the circus, a mixed-race Victorian boy seeks a place to belong. Ted lives with his mum and poorly big brother in the city of Bradfield. When a stranger turns up in their kitchen, Ted gets two big surprises. Firstly, the man – Pablo Fanque – is the first black circus owner in Britain. Secondly, he is Ted’s father. Before Ted can recover from his shock, he’s sent away with Pablo to learn the tricks of the circus trade. Pablo is determined that Ted should follow in his footsteps. But Ted isn’t at all keen on this terrifying new life among strangers. Can he adapt to it? And will he ever see his mother and brother again?

 

Voices (series) - Empire's End - A Roman Story, Leila Rasheed

Secrets, danger and cold! A North African girl faces royal intrigue at the edge of the Roman world: Britannica. When Camilla travels with her parents from Leptis Magna to Rome in 207 AD, she thinks she’s going to the centre of the world. But just a few months later, their little family is posted to the very edge of it: the alien and remote Britannica. When tragedy strikes, Camilla is left alone with the Empress while her father travels north. But this hostile, cold country she must now call home is also rife with deadly secrets.

 

Who was Rosa Parks?, Yona Zeldis McDonough

In 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give her bus seat to a white passenger in Montgomery, Alabama. This seemingly small act triggered civil rights protests across America and earned Rosa Parks the title "Mother of the Civil Rights Movement. 

 

Who was Martin Luther King, Jr?, Bonnie Bader

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was only 25 when he helped organize the Montgomery Bus Boycott and was soon organizing black people across the country in support of the right to vote, desegregation, and other basic civil rights. Maintaining nonviolent and peaceful tactics even when his life was threatened, King was also an advocate for the poor and spoke out against racial and economic injustice until his death from an assassin's bullet in 1968. 

Who was Nelson Mandela?, Pam Pollack

As a child he dreamt of changing South Africa; as a man he changed the world. Nelson Mandela spent his life battling apartheid and championing a peaceful revolution. He spent twenty-seven years in prison and emerged as the inspiring leader of the new South Africa. He became the country's first black president and went on to live his dream of change. 

Who was Harriet Tubman?, Yona Zeldis McDonough

Born a slave in Maryland, Harriet Tubman knew first-hand what it meant to be someone's property; she was whipped by owners and almost killed by an overseer. It was from other field hands that she first heard about the Underground Railroad which she travelled by herself north to Philadelphia.

 

Who Was Ida B. Wells?, Sarah Fabiny

Born into slavery in 1862, Ida Bell Wells was freed as a result of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1865. Yet she could see just how unjust the world she was living in was. This drove her to become a journalist and activist. Throughout her life, she fought against prejudice and for equality for African Americans. Ida B. Wells would go on to co-own a newspaper, write several books, help cofound the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and fight for women's right to vote.

 

Who is Barack Obama?, Roberta Edwards

As the world now knows, Barack Obama has made history as our first African-American president. With black-and-white illustrations throughout, this biography is perfect for primary graders

 

Martin's Big Words: The Life of Martin Luther King Jr., Doreen Rappaport

This picture book biography of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. brings his life and the profound nature of his message to young children through his own words.

Malcolm Little: The Boy Who Grew Up to Become Malcolm X, IIyasah Shabazz

Malcolm X grew to be one of America’s most influential figures. But first, he was a boy named Malcolm Little. Written by his daughter, this inspiring picture book biography celebrates a vision of freedom and justice.

 

Age 7-11

Root Magic, Eden Royce *New*

A wondrous story of love, bravery, friendship, and family, filled to the brim with magic great and small.

Ghost, Jason Reynolds *New*

Ghost has been running for the wrong reasons -until he meets Coach, an ex-Olympic Medallist who sees something in Ghost: crazy natural talent. 

The Extraordinary Life of Katherine Johnson, Devika Jina *New*

As a child, Katherine Johnson loved maths. She went on to be one of the most important people in the history of space travel. Discover her incredible life story in this beautifully illustrated book complete with narrative biography, timelines and facts.

Black Athletes Who Changed Sports: Black History Matters, L.A. Amber

A beautifully crafted collection of poetry and rhymes of Black Athletes who changed sport history and inspire us.

Civil Rights Movement Heroes: Black History Matters, L.A. Amber

A beautifully crafted collection of poetry and rhymes of black leaders who fought for what is right and changed history.

Voice (series) - Empire's End - A Roman Story, Leila Rasheed

From the North African coast of Libya via Rome to Britain, this title offers a thrilling portrayal of life in the Roman empire through the eyes of Camilla, the daughter of the Emperor’s physician.

Voices (series) - Diver's Daughter: A Tudor Story, Patrice Lawrence

A gripping heart-in-your-mouth adventure told by Eve, a black girl living in Tudor London, who sets out on a dangerous journey to change her life for the better.

Voices (series) - Son of the Circus - A Victorian Story, E. L. Norry

Ted is a 12-year-old mixed-race boy living with his mother and brother in South Yorkshire in 1867. But his whole world is flipped upside down when a man rolls into town, announcing himself as Ted’s father and a well-respected circus owner, looking to get his son involved in the family business of horse tricks and acrobatics.

Respect, Michaela Morgan

The true story of Walter Tull - Barnardo's Boy, Spurs footballer and officer in the First World War. Michaela also wrote Walter Tull's Scrapbook, a very accessible introduction suitable for children aged 7+.

The Life of Stephen Lawrence, Verna Wilkins

A book dedicated to remembering Stephen and celebrating his life and legacy. Others on Stephen Lawrence Day Primary Annotated Reading List.

A Child’s Introduction to African American History, Jabari Asim and Lynn Gaines

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.

The Book Itch: Freedom, Truth, and Harlem’s Greatest Bookstore, Vaunda Micheaux Nelson and R. Gregory Christie

In the 1930s, Lewis's dad, Lewis Michaux Sr., had an itch he needed to scratch—a book itch. How to scratch it? He started a bookstore in Harlem and named it the National Memorial African Bookstore. And as far as Lewis Michaux Jr. could tell, his father's bookstore was one of a kind.

The Story of the Windrush, K.N. Chimbiri

In June 1948, hundreds of Caribbean men, women and children arrived in London on a ship called the HMT Empire Windrush.  This brilliantly informative book tells their story, combining facts with accounts from people who were there, archive photos, mini biographies, maps and a timeline.  

The Place for Me: Stories About the Windrush Generation, Floella Benjamin 

This beautiful book brings together 12 moving and inspiring stories written by authors. Each powerful tale is inspired by the personal stories of the Windrush generation. Produced in partnership with Black Cultural Archives, it also features photos and facts.

 
 

Age 11-14

Cane Warriors, Alex Wheatle *New*

Moa is fourteen. The only life he has ever known is toiling on the Frontier sugar cane plantation for endless hot days, fearing the vicious whips of the overseers. Then one night he learns of an uprising, led by the charismatic Tacky.

Young, Gifted and Black, Jamia Wilson *New*

This inspiring anthology invites young readers to discover and celebrate phenomenal forebears and contemporary catalysts, while encouraging them to blaze their own inimitable trails.

Raybearer series, Jordan Ifueko *New*

Tarisai has always longed for the warmth of a family. She was raised in isolation by a mysterious, often absent mother known only as The Lady. The Lady sends her to the capital of the global empire of Aritsar to compete with other children to be chosen as one of the Crown Prince's Council of Eleven. If she's picked, she'll be joined with the other Council members through the Ray, a bond deeper than blood.

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, Mildred D. Taylor

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry is a 1976 novel by Mildred D. Taylor, sequel to her 1975 novella Song of the Trees. It is a book about racism in America during the Great Depression and Jim Crow era. The novel won the 1977 Newbery Medal.

 

Brown Girl Dreaming, Jacqueline Woodson

Brown Girl Dreaming is a 2014 adolescent novel told in verse by author Jacqueline Woodson. It discusses the author's childhood as an African American growing up in the 1960s in South Carolina and New York.

 

A Wreath for Emmett Till, Marilyn Nelson

A Coretta Scott King and Printz honor book now in paperback. A Wreath for Emmett Till is "A moving elegy," says The Bulletin.In 1955 people all over the United States knew that Emmett Louis Till was a fourteen-year-old African American boy lynched for supposedly whistling at a white woman in Mississippi.

The Story of the Windrush, K.N. Chimbiri

In June 1948, hundreds of Carribean men, women and children arrived in London on a ship called the HMT Empire Windrush.  This brilliantly informative book tells their story, combining facts with accounts from people who were there, archive photos, mini biographies, maps and a timeline.  

Age 14-16

Orangeboy, Patrice Lawrence  *New*

A young man has an impossible choice to make, in this powerful urban story that will challenge preconceptions and melt the hardest heart.

Punching the Air, Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam *New*
Amal’s name means Hope, but when he’s imprisoned after a fight with a gang of white boys, he finds it hard to hold on to the future. He’s always been an artist, but there’s little scope for his talent in prison. An extraordinary verse novel.

Staying Power, Peter Fryer

Staying Power is a panoramic history of black Britons. Stretching back to the Roman conquest, encompassing the court of Henry VIII, and following a host of characters from Mary Seacole to the abolitionist Olaudah Equiano, Peter Fryer paints a picture of two thousand years of Black presence in Britain.

 

Hell and High Water, Tanya Landman

Mystery turns to mortal danger as one young man’s quest to clear his father’s name ensnares him in a net of deceit, conspiracy, and intrigue in 1750s England.

Musical Truth, Jeffrey Boakye

Get to know more about the black British history through a playlist of 28 songs, each of which acts as a jumping-off point to explore important moments.  Starting in 1948, with the arrival of the Empire Windrush and the son London Is the Place for Me by Lord Kitchener, this book is a fascinating read. 

Black and British, David Olusoga

This award-winning book provides a short introduction to black British history for young readers, written by historian David Olusoga. Here, you'll see how the story of the Windrush generation fits within black British history, stretching from the Roman Africans who guarded Hadrian's Wall right up to present day.