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.

Painting of Coretta Scott King held by three children.
BOOK

She Persisted: Coretta Scott King

age 6+

Inspiring true story of the civil rights legend.

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The ABC's of Black History Cover
BOOK

The ABC's of Black History

age 8+

Colorful book is rich in history and positive messages.

By: Rio Cortez (2020)
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Black Heroes Cover
BOOK

Black Heroes: A Black History Book for Kids: 51 Inspiring People from Ancient Africa to Modern-Day U.S.A.

age 8+

Wonderful showcase of Black history for young readers.

By: Arlisha Norwood (2022)
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Hidden Figures Young Readers' Edition Poster Image
BOOK

Hidden Figures Young Readers' Edition

age 8+

Powerful true story of African American women at NASA.

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Finish the Fight: The Brave and Revolutionary Women Who Fought for the Right to Vote Poster Image
BOOK

Finish the Fight: The Brave and Revolutionary Women Who Fought for the Right to Vote

age 8+

Inspiring history of the suffrage movement's women of color.

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Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History Poster Image
BOOK

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History

age 8+

Inspirational bios of trailblazing African American women.

By: Vashti Harrison (2017)
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Madam C.J. Walker Builds a Business Poster Image
BOOK

Madam C.J. Walker Builds a Business

age 8+

Inspiring bio of wealthy Black female entrepreneur in 1800s.

By: Rebel Girls (2019)
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My Name Is Truth: The Life of Sojourner Truth Poster Image
BOOK

My Name Is Truth: The Life of Sojourner Truth

age 8+

Inspirational and informative intro to an American hero.

By: Ann Turner (2015)
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A Place to Land: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Speech That Inspired a Nation Poster Image
BOOK

A Place to Land: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Speech That Inspired a Nation

age 8+

Beautiful art adds to deep tale of "I Have a Dream" speech.

By: Barry Wittenstein (2019)
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Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre Poster Image
BOOK

Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre

age 8+

Illuminating retelling of a tragic American event.

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Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me 'round: My Story of the Making of Martin Luther King Day Poster Image
BOOK

Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me 'round: My Story of the Making of Martin Luther King Day

age 9+

Lyrical memoir in verse traces fight for MLK Day.

By: Kathlyn J. Kirkwood (2022)
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Freewater Poster Image
BOOK

Freewater

age 9+

Siblings escape slavery, find a home in awe-inspiring tale.

By: Amina Luqman-Dawson (2022)
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Martin Rising: Requiem for a King Poster Image
BOOK

Martin Rising: Requiem for a King

age 9+

Powerful poems examine the final months of MLK's life.

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This Is Your Time Poster Image
BOOK

This Is Your Time

age 9+

Powerful true tale of girl who desegregated school in 1960.

By: Ruby Bridges (2020)
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African Icons: Ten People Who Shaped History Poster Image
BOOK

African Icons: Ten People Who Shaped History

age 10+

Illuminating profiles, vivid images reveal nuanced history.

By: Tracey Baptiste (2021)
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Becoming: Adapted for Young Readers Poster Image
BOOK

Becoming: Adapted for Young Readers

age 10+

Candid and inspiring memoir from a former First Lady.

By: Michelle Obama (2021)
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Becoming Kareem: Growing Up On and Off the Court Poster Image
BOOK

Becoming Kareem: Growing Up On and Off the Court

age 10+

Thoughtful memoir by basketball star and civil rights icon.

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Becoming Muhammad Ali Poster Image
BOOK

Becoming Muhammad Ali

age 10+

Lyrical novel traces childhood, evolution of sports legend.

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Facing Frederick: The Life of Frederick Douglass, a Monumental American Man Poster Image
BOOK

Facing Frederick: The Life of Frederick Douglass, a Monumental American Man

age 10+

Compelling, fact-filled bio of the abolitionist icon.

By: Tonya Bolden (2018)
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