Here’s ten Black History Read Alouds that are recommended for students of all ages. I wanted to find and share some stories that aren’t the typical stories we hear about every year. There is so much rich history that is skipped over in the classrooms. My hope is that this list will provide some new information for students and encourage continued learning about Black History.
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Counting on Katherine by Helaine Becker
This read aloud teaches students the many accomplishments of Katherine Johnson, a mathematician at NASA. Many of the astronauts counted on her to ensure they had a safe journey. When trouble arose during Apollo 13, they were able to count on Katherine Johnson to help them safely return. She is a remarkable person and I hope her story continues to be told!
Let the Children March by Monica Clark Robinson
What a powerful story! Teach your students about the 1963 Children’s March in Birmingham, Alabama. When adults had hesitations about stepping up, the children stood in their place. Children need to see that young people can make a difference. This book uses beautiful language to tell the history of the Children’s March.
Someday is Now by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich
This is yet another book that shows how students took on leadership roles during protests in order to change our country. The students in this book wanted to work to end segregation and with the help of their teacher, they made a plan of action. This book can be used to teach students the purpose and process of planning and implementing protests during the Civil Rights Movement.
Pies from Nowhere by Dee Romito
We often talk about Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott, but we rarely hear about the people behind the scenes supporting the movement. In Pies from Nowhere, we learn about how Georgia Gilmore’s cooking helped keep the boycott going. There are many unsung heroes of the Civil Rights Movement and this books takes the time to highlight one.
Mae Among the Stars by Roda Ahmed
This Black History read aloud introduces children to the first African American woman astronaut, Dr. Mae Jemison. She was also the first African American woman in space and the first real astronaut to act in Star Trek. Her parents taught her a valuable lesson, to dream big and work hard. However, her dream was put into question one day in her classroom while her teacher discussed careers with the students.
This book lends itself to great discussion questions.What happens when others don’t believe in your dreams? Should you still pursue them? Do you need others permission or approval to pursue your dreams? Dr. Mae Jemison’s situation may be one your students can relate and one they can learn from.
Jackie’s Bat by Marybeth Lorbiecki
Jackie’s Bat describes Jackie Robinson’s first year as the first African American to play Major Leagues baseball. This book is very interesting as it is told from the perspective of Robinson’s bat boy. Through the eyes of the bat boy, students will see examples of doing what’s right when everyone else is doing wrong. They will learn what black leaders and pioneers had to endure for equality.
This is a great book to analyze a characters actions and to track character changes over time.
Barack Obama, Son of Promise, Child of Hope by Nikki Grimes
In this book, a mother teaches her son about Barack Obama’s life. A special component of this book is the boys thoughts while learning about Barack Obama. It’s a great model of thinking while reading, asking questions while reading and making connections.
Wilma Unlimited by Kathleen Krull and David Diaz
Wilma Rudolph was the first American to win 3 gold medals in a single olympics. In Wilma Unlimited, students will learn about how she never gave up and overcame many obstacles. This is the perfect book to model identifying the theme of a story.
Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer by Carole Boston Weatherford
This is a book that needs to be digested slowly. There are so many lessons in this book about Fannie Lou Hamer, the spirit of the Civil Rights Movement. She isn’t a person that children normally learn about, but that needs to change! This book takes us through her life and shows us how she is a pivotal figure in American history. This book doesn’t hold back and is a must read!
Midnight Teacher by Janet Halfmann
Imagine having to sneak off to school in the middle of the night in order to get an education. Students will have the opportunity to reflect on the importance of education with the book Midnight Teacher. Read all about why slave owners didn’t want the slaves to learn how to read and the risks some slaves took to learn anyway.