The rich tapestry of history is interwoven with the remarkable stories of black women who defied societal norms and blazed a trail for generations to come. These women have overcome adversities, and broken barriers, and made significant contributions to various fields, from civil rights activism to the arts and sciences. While it’s important for children to learn about these extraordinary individuals, it can sometimes be a challenge to find the right resources. In this blog post, we explore a selection of books that highlight the lives and achievements of these trailblazing black women in history, ensuring that their legacies continue to inspire and educate young readers.
Table of Contents
Little Leaders: Bold Women In Black History By Vashti Harrison
Vashti Harrison Little Leaders is a beautifully illustrated and engaging book that introduces young readers to 40 trailblazing Black women who have left an indelible mark on history. From Harriet Tubman to Mae Jemison, this book offers a glimpse into the lives of remarkable women who broke barriers in various fields. Each profile is accompanied by a captivating illustration, making it an excellent choice for young readers.
Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly
For kids with an interest in science and space, Hidden Figures is an excellent choice. This adaptation of Margot Lee Shetterly’s book tells the true story of brilliant African-American women – Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson – who played crucial roles in the early days of NASA’s space program. Hidden Figures is also available in picture book format for younger readers. This inspiring book shows how these women’s contributions were integral to space exploration and encourage young readers to reach for the stars.
Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Harmer, Spirit Of The Civil Rights Movement by Carole Boston Weatherford
Carole Boston Weatherford’s beautifully written and poetic book introduces young readers to Fannie Lou Harmer, a civil rights activist known for her powerful voice and unyielding commitment to equality. Voices of Freedom uses a unique blend of verse and collage-style artwork to convey the story of a woman who left an indelible mark on the fight for civil rights.
Rosa by Nikki Giovanni
The name Rosa Parks is synonymous with the Civil Rights Movement. Nikki Giovanni’s Rosa provides young readers with an opportunity to learn about the woman who, with a single act of courage, ignited the Montgomery Bus Boycott. This beautifully illustrated book paints a vivid picture of Rosa Parks and her pivotal role in the struggle for civil rights.
Mae Among The Stars by Roda Ahmed
Inspired by the life of astronaut Mae Jemison, Mae Among The Stars, is a heartwarming story that encourages children to read for their dreams. Young Mae’s passion for space and exploration and determination to become an astronaut are beautifully captured in this book. It’s a wonderful resource for aspiring young scientists, and dreamers.
Who Was Maya Angelou? By Ellen Labreque
Maya Angelou was a prolific author, poet, and civil rights activist whose powerful words continue to inspire people of all ages. This book from the Who Was series takes young readers on a journey through Angelou’s life, sharing her experiences and achievements, while also highlighting her enduring impact on literature and social justice.
The Youngest Marcher by Cynthia Levison
The Youngest Marcher tells the remarkable story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, who at just 9 years old, played a pivotal role in the Civil Rights Movement by participating in the Children’s Crusade in Birmingham, Alabama. Through Audrey’s story, young readers can learn about the importance of standing up for justice and equality, no matter their age.
The Girl With A Mind For Math: The Story of Raye Montague by Julia Finley Mosca
Raye Montague was an engineer who revolutionized the way ships were designed. This beautifully illustrated book tells the story of her journey to become an influential figure in the male-dominated world of engineering. It encourages young readers, especially girls, to pursue their dreams in STEM fields and never underestimate the power of their own abilities.
Sewing Stories: Harriet Powers’ Journey From Slave To Artist by Barbara Herkert
This charming picture book tells the story of Harriet Powers, a formerly enslaved woman who became a renowned quilter and artist in the late 19th century. Sewing Stories beautifully illustrates how Harriet used her quilts to narrate stories from African and African-American folklore, preserving her heritage and leaving a lasting legacy. This book provides an excellent opportunity to introduce kids to the power of art and storytelling as a means of resistance and expression.
Josephine: The Dazzling Life Of Josephine Baker by Patricia Hruby Powell
Josephine Baker was a force of nature, and her extraordinary life is brought to life in this captivating biography. Patricia Hruby Powell’s Josephine tells the story of the iconic singer, dancer, and civil rights activist, taking readers on a journey from her childhood in St. Louis to her dazzling career in Paris. The book celebrates Josephine’s determination, fearlessness, and commitment to fighting for justice and equality.
The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles
Ruby Bridges made history as the first African-American child to desegregate an all-white elementary school in New Orleans. The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles offers young readers a glimpse into her courageous journey, emphasizing the importance of education and the power of one individual to make a difference.
Harlem’s Little Blackbird: The Story of Florence Mills by Renée Watson
Florence Mills was a trailblazing Black woman known for her talent as a singer and dancer during the Harlem Renaissance. Renée Watson’s Harlem’s Little Blackbird brings Florence’s story to life for young readers. The book celebrates her contributions to the arts and her unwavering commitment to civil rights.
When Marian Sang: The True Recital of Marian Anderson by Pam Muñoz Ryan
Marian Anderson was a groundbreaking African-American opera singer who overcame racial barriers to become an internationally acclaimed performer. When Marian Sang tells the story of her journey, highlighting her talent, perseverance, and the power of music to break down barriers.
Sisters and Champions: The True Story of Benus and Serena Willams by Howard Bryant
Sisters and Champions tells the story of tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams, who rose from humble beginnings to dominate the world of professional tennis. This biography celebrates their remarkable journey and the unbreakable bond between two sisters who support and inspire each other. It’s a story of hard work, determination, and sisterhood, making it an excellent choice for young readers.
Mary Seacole by Jane Robinson
This children’s biography tells the story of Mary Seacole, a pioneering nurse during the Crimean War. Born in Jamaica, Seacole overcame racial prejudice to tend to wounded soldiers and is celebrated for her significant contributions to British Healthcare.
Teaching children about the extraordinary lives of trailblazing black women in history should be essential in the school curriculum when studying black history. These books offer an excellent starting point for young readers to explore the remarkable achievements of women who defied the odds, broke barriers, and left an indelible mark on history. By providing young minds with a window into the lives and contributions of these inspiring women, you can inspire, empower, and educate current and future generations. Reading these stories instills important values such as perseverance, courage, commitment to justice, and equality. Sharing these stories can help build a more inclusive, understanding, and equitable future.