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New Reads to Celebrate Black History Month with Kids and Teens

by the Brightly Editors

From illustrated biographies to seldom-seen profiles to stunning prose, there are many wonderful and varied new reads to help young readers celebrate Black History Month. Filled with important histories, timely narratives, and rich traditions, these books help bring history to life and into the now. These stories are great to share with kids and teens not only this month, but throughout the year.

  • Young Adult

  • The Hate U Give

    by Angie Thomas

    Angie Thomas's debut novel — a timely look at racism, police violence, justice, and community, inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement — has already garnered heaps of critical praise. It its starred review, Booklist called it "[a]n inarguably important book that demands the widest possible readership." The story of Starr Carter, a 16-year-old who sees her childhood best friend fatally shot by a police officer, is compelling, thought-provoking, and conversation-enabling. Already slated for movie treatment, it's one readers are sure to be talking about for a long time.

  • Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom: My Story of the 1965 Selma Voting Rights March

    by Lynda Blackmon Lowery, illustrated by PJ Loghran, retold by Elspeth Leacock and Susan Buckley

    Now available in paperback, with an all-new discussion guide, this beautifully illustrated memoir brings readers inside the Civil Rights Movement and shows us what it looked like from a young person's perspective. Lynda Blackmon Lowery was the youngest person to take part in the 1965 voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. She was jailed eleven times before her fifteenth birthday, fighting for the rights of African Americans alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and many others. Personal and accessible, this book provides an excellent teen-to-teen perspective for high school readers.

  • American Ace

    by Marilyn Nelson

    An engrossing novel in verse from three-time National Book Award Finalist Marilyn Nelson. Inspired by her father's experiences as a Tuskegee Airman, Nelson tells this compelling story of family, history, and identity. As Connor works to uncover his grandfather's identity, he discovers a new, richer understanding of his own.

  • March

    by Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell

    John Lewis makes his second appearance on this list — this time older and in graphic novel form. This year's National Book Award Winner for Young People's Literature (for the third and final installment), the March trilogy follows Congressman Lewis on his lifelong struggle for civil rights. These vivid novels depict some of the most pivotal, turbulent, and searing moments in the Civil Rights Movement and in American history. With John Lewis as a throughline, readers can connect the events of the past to the events of today, reflecting on where we've been and where we're headed.

What other books would you recommend to help young readers celebrate Black History this month and every month?

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