Books to read

Here’s a selection of books we’ve collated that we think would be great reads, for the whole family, during Black History Month.


Books: Younger Children:

  1. Grace Byers: I am enough (Age 3-8) A child-friendly simple picture book that reminds us to love ourselves for who we are, to be kind and to respect others
  2. Innosanto Nagara: A is for Activist (1+) An ABC book packed with definitions and eye-catching pictures that help children engage in and understand activism
  3. Ann Hazzard: Something Happened In Our Town (age 4-8) The story of a white family and a black family as they explore a police shooting of a Black man in their town. The book aims to help children understand and identify racial injustice and help answer questions on the nature of traumatic events.
  4. Matthew Cherry: Hair Love A short book and film that narrates an African-American father’s relationship with his daughter and styling her hair. The book encourages love and mainstream exposure to people of colour’s hair.
  5. Cobzi A. Cobrera: My Hair is a Garden Mackenzie is upset about mean comments about her hair. We follow her story as she learns to love her hair with the help of her neighbour Miss Tillie. Using her garden as a metaphor Mackenzie learns not to fear her hair but to see it as beautiful.
  6. Vashti Harrison: Little Leaders: Bold Women In Black History (Age 7-10) An illustrated history book of the stories of amazing Black women in history and their achievements
  7. Andrea Davis Pinkey: Let it Shine (ages 5-9) An illustrated story of Black women doing amazing acts in history, speaking out against racism and oppression.
  8. Fran Manushkin Happy in our Skin (Age 2+) A book to teach kids about diversity. The illustrations feature children with different skin colours, glasses, freckles, unibrows, wheelchairs, and birthmarks to help encourage the beauty of diversity
  9. Ilyasah Shabazz: Malcolm Little: The Boy Who Grew Up To Be Malcolm X (Age 5-10) The childhood story of one of the most influential Black American men, Malcolm X, written by his daughter
  10. Ibtihaj Muhammad: The Proudest Blue (Age 4-7) A beautiful story of being proud of your identity. In the face of hurtful words, Faizah finds the way to be proud of her bright blue hijab.
  11. Jacqueline Woodson: The Day You Begin (Age 4-7) The story of finding the courage and bravery to be different and connect with people when you feel alone or when “no one is quite like you”

(Books 1-11 Reference: A parents Guide to Black Lives Matter)

  1. 30 books to help you talk to children about racism:

Books Older children:

  1. Malorie Blackman: Noughts and Crosses series (age 11-16) Takes social norms and flips them on their head and confronts the legacy of slavery in an engaging and comprehensible manner for teenagers.
  2. Maya Angelou: I know why the caged birds sing (14+) The first of seven autobiographies of the writer Maya Angelou, describing how her love of literature and personal strength helped her face racism throughout childhood and early adolescence
  3. Angie Thomas: The Hate You Give (14+) Inspired by the Black Lives Matter Movement this story follows Starr Carter and we follow her journey as she tries to speak up for the tragic death of her childhood friend, Khalil.
  4. Lisa Heathfield: I am not a number (14+) Set in a dystopian future, we follow the story of the rise of ultra-conservatism through the protagonist Ruby.

Parents (and older children):

  1. The Lonely Londoners: Sam Selvon The story of black immigrants coming to Britain after WW2, explains how Britain in need treated immigrants with racism and prejudice
  2. Nikesh Shukla: The Good Immigrant A collection of short personal experiences of the experience of 21 influential British Asian and minority ethnic voices in Britain today. They paint a picture of what it is like to be ‘other’ in Britain today. Poignant, challenging, funny, interesting, and inspiring, this is a must for your teenage child to see Britain outside of a white lens.
  3. Reni Eddo-Lodge: Why I’m no longer talking to White people about race A sharp wake up call to institutionalised racism and outlines what it means to be a person of colour in Britain in 2020.
  4. Afua Hirsch: Brit(ish) An exploration into what it really means to be Black and not accepted in British society and how the impact of the past on the present.
  5. David Olusoga: Black and British: A Forgotten History A historical exploration of the long relationship between Britain and the people of Africa dating to Roman times.
  6. Bernadine Evaristo: Girl, Woman, Other A novel that follows 12 women over several decades and a sweeping history of the black British experience
  7. Ijeoma Oluo, So You Want to Talk About Race An exploration of race in America, aspects of white supremacy–from police brutality to the mass incarceration of African Americans

(13-24 Reference Parents Guide to Black Lives Matter)

  1. The Heart of the Race: Black Women’s Lives in Britain by Beverley Bryan, Stella Dadzie, and Suzanne Scafe:
  2. Your Silence Will Not Protect You by Audre Lorde:
  3. Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams:
  4. Know Why The Caged Birds Sing by Maya Angelou:
  5. Bame is Not My Name: Article in The Law Society Gazette:
  6. If You are Serious About Racism You Better Stop Calling Me Bame:  Article by Amanda Parker in The Independent independent/Bame


Bernardine Evaristo’s Waterstones 20 Recommendations Booker Prize winner Bernardine Evaristo recommends her Top 20 Books by Black British Woman Writers