Black History Month gives parents and teachers the opportunity to share African-American history and pride with their children. While some schools may do activities all month long, others may do one lesson or even nothing at all. Unfortunately, my children’s school does not do much other than recognize the month and a brief lesson on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Celebrating and honoring Black History Month gives me the opportunity to teach my children about the struggles and injustices that African-Americans faced in the United States so that they have a better understanding of not just who they are, but the journey taken to get here. I take this time to remind my children that we are not so far removed from a time when African-Americans did not have basic civil rights like the right to vote, equal and fair pay, equality, freedom. While we learn some history, we also celebrate the accomplishments of famous and even lesser-known African-American leaders, inventors, authors, and talent in the United States.
And finally, I take this time to encourage my children to be proud of who they are and where they come from. My children understand they are multicultural with rich backgrounds in Mexican, Haitian, and African-American culture. Black History Month gives me a chance to instill pride in who they are and to celebrate what makes them different.
We do a number of different things to honor the history of African-Americans like watch documentaries, biopics, movies, and YouTube clips from real life events. Sometimes I ask them to write a paragraph on what we watched and what they learned. Learning about African-American History doesn’t just happen in February. While we do some of these activities during Black History Month and on Martin Luther King Day, Black History for us is year round, whenever learning opportunities present themselves.
While there are a number or activities and resources for parents and teachers to celebrate Black History Month, I have put together a list of books that help parents and teachers discuss and celebrate Black history and black culture.
8 Black History Month Books And Resources for Parents or Teachers
1. Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This book does an excellent job in portraying the philosophy and teachings of Dr. King in a way suitable for young children. After reading this book, parents or teachers can discuss what life was like for African-American’s in the 60s. Following the book, you can show children this seven minute video from The Corporation for the National Day of Service. It is an excellent video that discusses the life of Dr. King and how MLK day is a day of service to recognize how Dr. King served our country.
2. The Patchwork Path: A Quilt Map to Freedom is a story about a young girl and her father who escape slavery. The quilt is not just a memory of her mother, but a series of hidden clues that will guide them along the Underground Railroad to Canada. Perfect lesson in African-American history and the Underground Railroad.
3. Stella by Starlight is a great book for your older child. My daughter who is in the fifth grade read it in just two days, not because it’s an easy read but because she loved the story so much. Segregation, the Klu Klux Klan, and courage as Stella and her family try to survive in Bumblebee, North Carolina.
4. 100 African-Americans Who Shaped American History is a great resource for teens and young adults during Black History Month. Young to learn about know and lesser known African-Americans that helped shape American history. The book includes short biographies of African American educators, entertainers, inventors, authors, athletes, and others who have made important contributions to American life.
5. Princess Cupcake Jones and the Missing Tutu is great for encouraging brown girls to love themselves. Princess Cupcake Jones is the brown little princess who is simply adorable. Whether Princess Cupcake Jones is searching for her lost tutu, refusing to go to school, or rummaging through her mom stylish closet she always brings her readers on a fun journey while teaching them important lessons such as gratitude, kindness, and helpfulness. The Princess Cupcake Jones books were authored by Ylleya Fields when she was struck by the limited number of titles featuring African American characters.
6. Disney It’s A Small World celebrates diversity, an important topic during Black History Month. This book and a CD with a recording of the song is great to discuss different cultures in many large urban cities and around the world. Artist Joey Chou’s colorful illustrations are inspired by Mary Blair’s concept art for the Disney theme park attraction. The 12 coloring pages are great for younger kids.
7. Salt in His Shoes: Michael Jordan in Pursuit of a Dream is the story of basketball legend Michael Jordan. Written by Michael Jordan’s mom, Deloris Jordan, and his sister Roslyn, the two share a heartwarming and inspirational story about following your dreams.
8. ABC Me Flashcards help share the rich history of African-Americans and a great resource for teachers or parents during Black History Month. Designed for fun, history, and cultural pride, ABC Me Flashcards are illustrated in vibrant colors with easy to understand wording on the back. They begin with the alphabet but A isn’t for apple. This time, A is for Africa. And so from A to Z or from Africa to Zora Neal Hurston, younger children can learn their ABC’s and use the same cards to learn about their history.