Award-Winning African American Books

Not only do the books on this list celebrate African American people and culture, but they've also earned some of the most distinguished honors in children's literature. Among these excellent kids' stories, you'll find winners of the Newbery Medal, the Caldecott Medal, and the Coretta Scott King Book Award, which is given out to outstanding African American authors and illustrators. Each one is a great pick for Black History Month or any time of year. For more books about diverse experiences, try our list of Books with Characters of Color.

Browse Award-Winning African American Books

Last Stop on Market Street Book Poster Image
Tender story of Nana showing grandson city beauty via bus.
By Matt de la Peña
(2015)
(2015)
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Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race Book Poster Image
Picture book intro to important, inspirational story.
By Margot Lee Shetterly, Winifred Conkling
(2018)
(2018)
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Jazz on a Saturday Night Book Poster Image
Kids will groove to this toe-tapping treasure.
By Leo Dillon, Diane Dillon
(2008)
(2007)
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Me & Mama Book Poster Image
Warmhearted tale celebrates everyday mother-daughter love.
By Cozbi A. Cabrera
(2021)
(2020)
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R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul Book Poster Image
Dazzling art captures Aretha's career and activism.
By Carole Boston Weatherford
(2021)
(2021)
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Rosa Book Poster Image
Spectacular illustrations spotlight Parks' historic protest.
By Nikki Giovanni
(2006)
(2006)
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Sulwe Book Poster Image
Girl learns to embrace her dark skin in magical tale.
By Lupita Nyong'o
(2019)
(2019)
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Trombone Shorty Book Poster Image
Fun, upbeat story of a boy, a trombone, and jazz.
By Troy Andrews
(2016)
(2015)
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What Is Given from the Heart Book Poster Image
Lovely art, heartwarming story about the joy of giving.
By Patricia C. McKissack
(2019)
(2019)
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Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut Book Poster Image
Joyful, foot-tapping celebration of fresh haircut, culture.
By Derrick Barnes
(2018)
(2017)
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Firebird Book Poster Image
Soaring, rhythmic story for dancers with big dreams.
By Misty Copeland
(2014)
(2014)
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Freedom in Congo Square Book Poster Image
Slaves' lives, jazz roots shown in stunning nonfiction book.
By Carole Boston Weatherford
(2017)
(2016)
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Henry's Freedom Box Book Poster Image
Heartrending but hopeful, true story of slave boy's escape.
By Ellen Levine
(2008)
(2008)
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My People Book Poster Image
Photos bring sparkling tone to simple poem of celebration.
By Langston Hughes
(2010)
(2009)
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A Place Inside of Me: A Poem to Heal the Heart Book Poster Image
Powerful poem reflects on Black Americans' emotional story.
By Zetta Elliott
(2021)
(2021)
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Exquisite: The Poetry and Life of Gwendolyn Brooks Book Poster Image
Splendid biography of first Black Pulitzer Prize winner.
By Suzanne Slade
(2021)
(2020)
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Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan Book Poster Image
Document inspires vivid, moving portraits of slaves' lives.
By Ashley Bryan
(2016)
(2016)
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I Have a Dream Book Poster Image
Stunning art amplifies meaning of King's words for kids.
By Kadir Nelson
(2013)
(2012)
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Magnificent Homespun Brown: A Celebration Book Poster Image
Joyous look at the color brown in the world around us.
By Samara Cole Doyon
(2021)
(2020)
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The Negro Speaks of Rivers Book Poster Image
Words and watercolors sing in a voice as deep as the river.
By Langston Hughes
(2010)
(2009)
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Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat Book Poster Image
Exuberant bio celebrates artist who had success when young.
By Javaka Steptoe
(2017)
(2016)
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The Undefeated Book Poster Image
Poetic tribute to African American heroes and struggles.
By Kwame Alexander
(2019)
(2019)
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When the Beat Was Born: DJ Kool Herc and the Creation of Hip Hop Book Poster Image
Insightful, kid-friendly intro to the history of hip-hop.
By Laban Carrick Hill
(2013)
(2013)
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Finding Langston Book Poster Image
In lovely, moving story, boy who lost mom discovers poetry.
By Lesa Cline-Ransome
(2018)
(2018)
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Gone Crazy in Alabama Book Poster Image
Harrowing tale of Gaither girls' summer in the South.
By Rita Williams-Garcia
(2015)
(2015)
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New Kid Book Poster Image
Funny, heartfelt middle school tale explores race, class.
By Jerry Craft
(2019)
(2019)
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The Parker Inheritance Book Poster Image
Kids investigate past racist incident in thrilling mystery.
By Varian Johnson
(2018)
(2018)
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The Season of Styx Malone Book Poster Image
Heartwarming story of friendship and adventure.
By Kekla Magoon
(2018)
(2018)
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Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky: Tristan Strong, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Teen connects with African folklore in exciting fantasy.
By Kwame Mbalia
(2019)
(2019)
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Bud, Not Buddy Book Poster Image
Well-crafted tale of orphan boy's search for home.
By Christopher Paul Curtis
(2004)
(1999)
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The Crossover Book Poster Image
Soaring, poignant, novel in verse hits all the right spots.
By Kwame Alexander
(2014)
(2014)
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Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men Who Changed America Book Poster Image
Captivating storytelling makes these heroes relatable.
By Andrea Davis Pinkney
(2013)
(2012)
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Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans Book Poster Image
Beautifully illustrated account of African American history.
By Kadir Nelson
(2011)
(2011)
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P.S. Be Eleven Book Poster Image
Tween coming-of-age set amid shifting family, '60s dynamics.
By Rita Williams-Garcia
(2013)
(2013)
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As Brave As You Book Poster Image
Poignant summer adventure brims with family love and hope.
By Jason Reynolds
(2016)
(2016)
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Before the Ever After Book Poster Image
Tween copes with father's illness in touching verse novel.
By Jacqueline Woodson
(2020)
(2020)
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Brown Girl Dreaming Book Poster Image
Captivating poems depict coming-of-age in tumultuous 1960s.
By Jacqueline Woodson
(2014)
(2014)
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Elijah of Buxton Book Poster Image
Funny, powerful tale of free Black community in 1859 Canada.
By Christopher Paul Curtis
(2007)
(2007)
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King and the Dragonflies Book Poster Image
Beautifully told coming-of-age tale full of grief and hope.
By Kacen Callender
(2020)
(2020)
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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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Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks Book Poster Image
Moving, interwoven stories of Black middle schoolers.
By Jason Reynolds
(2019)
(2019)
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Ninth Ward Book Poster Image
Gripping story of a girl's bravery during Hurricane Katrina.
By Jewell Parker Rhodes
(2011)
(2010)
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Genesis Begins Again Book Poster Image
Teen learns to love herself in uplifting tale of misfits.
By Alicia D. Williams
(2019)
(2019)
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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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All American Boys Book Poster Image
Haunting tale of two boys' lives changed by police assault.
By Jason Reynolds, Brendan Kiely
(2015)
(2015)
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The Boy in the Black Suit Book Poster Image
Soul-gripping story of teen's grief and hope.
By Jason Reynolds
(2016)
(2015)
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How I Discovered Poetry Book Poster Image
Poet's moving memoir in free verse charts '50s childhood.
By Marilyn Nelson
(2015)
(2014)
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Long Way Down Book Poster Image
Gripping, unnerving story of teen boy contemplating revenge.
By Jason Reynolds
(2017)
(2017)
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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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Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice Book Poster Image
Dramatic story of forgotten teen civil rights hero.
By Phillip M. Hoose
(2009)
(2009)
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Darius & Twig Book Poster Image
Quiet, sometimes poetic story of teens' scholarship quest.
By Walter Dean Myers
(2013)
(2013)
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The Hate U Give Book Poster Image
Powerful story of police shooting of unarmed Black teen.
By Angie Thomas
(2017)
(2017)
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Monster Book Poster Image
Provocative book about teen on trial for murder.
By Walter Dean Myers
(2003)
(1999)
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November Blues Book Poster Image
Gritty, honest look at teen pregnancy. Teens and up.
By Sharon M. Draper
(2008)
(2007)
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Piecing Me Together Book Poster Image
Powerful, insightful tale of self-awareness, power of art.
By Renée Watson
(2017)
(2017)
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Every Body Looking Book Poster Image
Teen explores identities in brave novel in verse.
By Candice Iloh
(2020)
(2020)
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Legendborn Book Poster Image
Riveting Arthurian legend retelling set in secret societies.
By Tracy Deonn
(2020)
(2020)
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The Stars and the Blackness Between Them Book Poster Image
Teen girls fall in love, face death in breathtaking tale.
By Junauda Petrus
(2019)
(2019)
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All the Days Past, All the Days to Come Book Poster Image
Young woman finds independence in compelling saga finale.
By Mildred D. Taylor
(2020)
(2020)
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Beloved Book Poster Image
Haunting Pulitzer Prize winner about slavery's impact.
By Toni Morrison
(2005)
(1987)
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The Color Purple Book Poster Image
Edgy tale of poor, abused woman's journey to independence.
By Alice Walker
(2011)
(1982)
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