25 Compelling Books for Tweens Exploring Black History

Civil rights history is American history, as these books show, with heroes like Frederick Douglas and Martin Luther King Jr. blazing a trail to freedom and equal protection under the law for all. Courageous stories of African American men, women, and kids who stood up for justice and overcame prejudice to excel in their fields will inspire kids and help them understand the legacy of slavery and segregation. For more exciting historical reads, check out our Civil Rights Books and Award-Winning African American Books lists. 

Browse 25 Compelling Books for Tweens Exploring Black History

Hidden Figures Young Readers' Edition Book Poster Image
Powerful true story of African American women at NASA.
By Margot Lee Shetterly
(2017)
(2016)
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Finish the Fight: The Brave and Revolutionary Women Who Fought for the Right to Vote Book Poster Image
Inspiring history of the suffrage movement's women of color.
By Veronica Chambers, The Staff of the New York Times
(2020)
(2020)
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Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History Book Poster Image
Inspirational bios of trailblazing African American women.
By Vashti Harrison
(2017)
(2017)
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Madam C.J. Walker Builds a Business Book Poster Image
Inspiring bio of wealthy Black female entrepreneur in 1800s.
By Rebel Girls
(2019)
(2019)
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My Name Is Truth: The Life of Sojourner Truth Book Poster Image
Inspirational and informative intro to an American hero.
By Ann Turner
(2015)
(2015)
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A Place to Land: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Speech That Inspired a Nation Book Poster Image
Beautiful art adds to deep tale of "I Have a Dream" speech.
By Barry Wittenstein
(2019)
(2019)
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Martin Rising: Requiem for a King Book Poster Image
Powerful poems examine the final months of MLK's life.
By Andrea Davis Pinkney
(2017)
(2018)
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Never Caught, the Story of Ona Judge: George and Martha Washington's Courageous Slave Who Dared to Run Away; Young Readers Edition Book Poster Image
Riveting bio is a great resource for teaching about slavery.
By Erica Armstrong Dunbar, Kathleen Van Cleve
(2019)
(2019)
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Becoming Kareem: Growing Up On and Off the Court Book Poster Image
Thoughtful memoir by basketball star and civil rights icon.
By Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Raymond Obstfeld
(2018)
(2017)
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Becoming Muhammad Ali Book Poster Image
Lyrical novel traces childhood, evolution of sports legend.
By Kwame Alexander, James Patterson
(2020)
(2020)
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Facing Frederick: The Life of Frederick Douglass, a Monumental American Man Book Poster Image
Compelling, fact-filled bio of the abolitionist icon.
By Tonya Bolden
(2018)
(2018)
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Lifting As We Climb: Black Women's Battle for the Ballot Box Book Poster Image
Powerful history of Black women fighting for the vote.
By Evette Dionne
(2020)
(2020)
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Reaching for the Moon: The Autobiography of NASA Mathematican Katherine Johnson Book Poster Image
Must-read true story of trailblazing NASA mathematician.
By Katherine Johnson
(2019)
(2019)
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The Fierce 44: Black Americans Who Shook Up the World Book Poster Image
Inspiring profiles of black Americans in history and today.
By The Staff of the Undefeated
(2020)
(2019)
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Streetcar to Justice: How Elizabeth Jennings Won the Right to Ride in New York Book Poster Image
Inspiring story of resisting segregation in 1850s New York.
By Amy Hill Hearth
(2018)
(2018)
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This Promise of Change: One Girl's Story in the Fight for School Equality Book Poster Image
Compelling, inspiring memoir of integrating Southern school.
By Jo Ann Allen Boyce, Debbie Levy
(2019)
(2019)
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Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom: My Story of the Selma Voting Rights March Book Poster Image
Vivid recollections of a teen girl in the Selma march.
By Lynda Blackmon Lowery, Elspeth Leacock, Susan Buckley
(2015)
(2015)
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Twelve Days in May: Freedom Ride 1961 Book Poster Image
Vivid photos, clear text bring heroic protest to life.
By Larry Dane Brimner
(2018)
(2018)
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March Forward Girl: From Young Warrior to Little Rock Nine Book Poster Image
Must-read memoir of a childhood in the segregated South.
By Melba Pattillo Beals
(2018)
(2018)
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One Crazy Summer Book Poster Image
A gem, with strong girl characters, '60s black history.
By Rita Williams-Garcia
(2010)
(2010)
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The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights Book Poster Image
Little-known disaster gets overdue, in-depth treatment.
By Steve Sheinkin
(2014)
(2014)
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Loving vs. Virginia: A Documentary Novel of the Landmark Civil Rights Case Book Poster Image
Powerful true tale of mixed-race couple's fight for justice.
By Patricia Hruby Powell
(2017)
(2017)
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Making Our Way Home: The Great Migration and the Black American Dream Book Poster Image
Compelling history of an epic journey that changed America.
By Blair Imani
(2020)
(2020)
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March: Book One Book Poster Image
Powerful graphic novel captures spirit of desegregation.
By John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell
(2013)
(2013)
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The Awakening of Malcolm X Book Poster Image
Intimate fictional memoir brings Malcolm X to life.
By Ilyasah Shabazz, Tiffany D. Jackson
(2021)
(2021)
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