Books For Black History Month

Day of Tears

By Julius Lester

In 1859, in Savannah, Georgia, Pierce Butler stages the biggest stave auction in American history to pay off his mounting gambling debts. Determined to cash in his ‘assets’ this auction earns Butler over $300,000. Julius Lester has taken this little-known bit of American history and woven it into a novel about relationships, dignity and humanity. This masterfully written narrative told in the first person illustrates the life of the black slave in the mid-1800’s and tells the story of love, escape, and the people who despised slavery enough to risk their own safety to help free the slaves in their midst. Perfect for older elementary and middle school. Day of Tears is available in bookstores nationwide or online at .

Martin Luther King, Jr.

A Photographic Story of a Life

By Amy Pastan

One of our most famous civil rights leaders is the beloved Martin Luther King. As a young boy in Atlanta, Georgia, Dr. King grew up in a safe happy environment where he was painfully aware that the world outside would be hostile to him simply because his skin was black. His mother told him that the world would change one day, but he vowed to ‘turn this world upside down.’ And so he did. Follow the story of Martin Luther King’s life with this well-written timeline of events that chronicle the life and times of Dr. King and how he kept his promise and made our world a better place. Available from DK Publishing at bookstores nationwide and online .

The Underground Railroad for Kids

From Slavery to Freedom

By Mary Kay Carson

The Underground Railroad. This familiar but sometimes misunderstood term is one we all are familiar with. The Underground Railroad for Kids gives children and their parents a better understanding of the range of ways slaves escaped bondage in the middle 1800’s. Every chapter begins with a chronicle of the life of Harriet Tubman, perhaps the Railroad’s most famous ‘conductor,’ but contains narratives of many other men and women who helped others to travel to freedom in this way. Complete with 21 activities to aid children in understanding the way of life of the slave; starting from his roots in Africa and ending with his life in America. Complete with reprints of historical materials whose syntax has not been changed to give the young reader a clear idea of the time represented. Available at bookstores everywhere and through Independent Publishers Group. Visit them online  or call 1-800-888-4741.

Hold the Flag High

By Catherine Clinton

The Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves in January of 1863, and many slaves joined the Union Army to fight for the end of slavery in the United States. The Battle of Fort Wagner in July of 1863 was one of the battles fought with black troops. Sergeant William H. Carney, a black officer in the 54th Regiment, leads his soldiers into battle and, mindful of the inspiration the flag flying overhead, keeps it from touching the ground even after being shot. Historically correct, this wonderful picture book helps open discussion about bravery, loyalty, nobility and wartime. Available from Harper Collins Publishers at bookstores or online

The School is Not White

A True Story About the Civil Rights Movement

By Doreen Rappaport

Illustrated by Curtis James

When Mae Bertha and Matthew Carter signed their children up for the all-white school, they knew it wouldn’t be easy. And when the plantation owner where they lived stopped by to offer to help them get their kids out of the school, they proudly told them they needed no help, that their children would be attending the school of their choice. But on September 3, 1965 when their seven children boarded the bus to go to school, Mae and Matthew knew they were sending them to war. For five years they attended a school where they were not welcomed, but remained secure in their own conviction and determined to be educated. Follow the footsteps of these children as they battled hate and discrimination to make their world better for themselves and the children who came after them. The School is Not White is appropriate for kids ages 7-12, and is available from Hyperion Books for Children at  or in bookstores.


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