Are you looking for some chapter books for Black History Month? Here are three suggestions for middle and high school students. I love to read books that spark great discussion and allow students to think beyond basic comprehension and go deeper. These books do just that!
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Black Enough is a book that compiles short stories from various authors. These short stories are narratives of the Black teen experience in America. The characters have different backgrounds and personalities and their stories capture all the different ways one can be Black enough. If you’re looking for books for Black history, this one will give you many stories to choose from!
Next, we have All American Boys. The plot is ignited after a police officer attacks a 16 year old black boy named Rashad. The event was witnessed by Quinn, a white boy who was being raised by the officer. The story is told from the perspectives of both Rashad and Quinn as they deal with the aftermath of the incident. Teens will definitely be able to connect this book to recent events and is perfect for students with an interest in social justice and race relations.
This one is for all the gamers! Kiera Johnson is a top student that has developed a game, but no one knows she is the developer. Eventually, things take a turn for the worst when there is a murder over a dispute in the game and the game gets a bad reputation. Kiera has to find a way to protect her reputation and protect her game.
Being a Black man in America requires men to learn to navigate social injustices and systems that target them. Raising young Black men requires parents to have certain conversations with their kids that others may not. Between the World and Me is one of my favorite books for Black history. In this book Ta-Nehisi Coates pens a letter to his son and addresses the past and present issues in this country as he hopes to guide his son in the right direction. Though it’s a letter to his son, this is a beneficial read for everyone.
This historical fiction novel tells the story of a young girl named Amari. Slave traders captured Amari from her African village and she lost everything, including her family and her freedom. We see Amari’s journey from her capture to being sold to slavery. Throughout the book, we see her struggles and her strength as she adjusts to her new life. I love this book because it teaches students the horrors of slavery through the eyes of a captured girl. History books fail to go into detail about slavery and this book is a great supplement to teaching about slavery.
This book brings light to the women that played a pivotal role in NASA and the Space Race. Women and African Americans were seen as inferior during this time. However, that did not stop them from using their expertise and breaking many barriers. They are true examples of extending beyond borders. I love this book because it makes me think about how many other “hidden figures” there are in our history that we fail to recognize. I’ve learned that I can’t depend on others to teach me my history, but that I must do my own research to get the complete story. It’s my hope that my students will learn the same lesson.
Dear Martin addresses the current Black Lives Matter Movement. Justyce McAllister is a senior at Braselton Preparatory Academy where he excels on the debate team. Though very intelligent and Ivy League Bound, Justyce learns that being black creates some barriers for him. As Justyce goes through his senior year, he writes letters to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr sharing his frustrations. The book offers many opinions on the various topics surrounding social justice and is a relevant book for teenagers to read.