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African American Booklist


A Celebration of Heritage, Tradition, and Achievement



Timed to coincide with Black History Month, the National Education Association (NEA) has released a comprehensive reading list of 100 titles that celebrate African American heritage, tradition, and achievement.

  • A. Philip Randolph: Union Leader and Civil Rights Crusader (African-American Biographies) by Catherine Reef. (Grades 5-8)

  • The Adventures of Midnight Son by Denise Lewis Patrick. (Grades 4-8)

  • All Night, All Day: A Child's First Book of African American Spirituals by Ashley Bryan (All grades)

  • Almost to Freedom by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson (Grades 1-4)

  • Arthur Ashe by Caroline Evensen Lazo (Grades 5-8)

  • Aunt Clara Brown, Official Pioneer by Linda Lowery (Grades 2-4)

  • One More Valley, One More Hill: The Story of Aunt Clara Brown by Linda Lowery (Grades 6 and up)

  • Aunt Flossie's Hats (and Crab Cakes Later) by James Ransome (Grades K-3)

  • Bigmama's by Donald Crews (Grades PreK-2)

  • The Black Cowboys by Gina De Angelis (Grades 5-8)

  • The Black Snowman by Phil Mendez (Grades 3-5)

  • Black Wheels by Michael Halperin (Grades 8 and up)

  • The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison (Grades 11 and up)

  • Booker T. Washington: A Modern Moses by Lois P. Nicholson (Grades 4-7)

  • Born in Sin by Evelyn Coleman (Grades 7 and up)

  • Brown Honey in Broomwheat Tea by Joyce Carol Thomas (All grades)

  • Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis (Grades 4-7)

  • Carter G. Woodson: The Man Who Put "Black" in American History by James Haskins (Grades 4-6)

  • Carver: A Life in Poems by Marilyn Nelson (Grades 6 and up)

  • Cassie's Word Quilt Faith Ringgold (Grades PreK-K)

  • Champion: The Story of Muhammad Ali by James Haskins (Grades 3-6)

  • The Color Purple by Alice Walker (Grades 10 and up)

  • Conjure Times: Black Magicians in America by James Haskins and Kathleen Benson (Grades 6 and up)

  • Don't Say Ain't by Irene Smalls (Grades 2-4)

  • Ellington Was Not a Street by Ntozake Shange (All grades)

  • Escape from Slavery: The True Story of My Ten Years in Captivity and My Journey to Freedom in America by Francis Bok (Grades 8 and up)

  • Especially Heroes by Virginia L. Kroll (Grades 3-5)

  • The Fire Next Time by James A. Baldwin (Grades 10 and up)

  • Fishing Day by Andrea Davis Pinkney (Grades K-3).

  • Forty Acres and Maybe a Mule by Harriett Gillem Robinet (Grades 4-7)

  • Frederick Douglass: Leader against Slavery Patricia and Fredrick McKissack (Grades 1-4)

  • Freedom River by Doreen Rappaport (Grades 2-5)

  • Freedom Roads: Searching for the Underground Railroad Joyce Hansen and Gary McGowan (Grades 5-9)

  • Goin' Someplace Special by Pat McKissack (Grades 2-5)

  • Hold Fast to Dreams by Andrea Davis Pinkney (Grades 5 and up)

  • Hush by Jacqueline Woodson (Grades 7 and up)

  • I Dream of Trains by Angela Johnson (Grades PreK-2)

  • I Love My Hair by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley (Grades PreK-2)

  • Ida B. Wells: Mother of the Civil Rights Movement by Dennis Brindell Fradin and Judith Bloom Fradin (Grades 5 and up)

  • In Daddy's Arms I Am Tall: African Americans Celebrating Fathers illustrated by Javaka Steptoe (Grades 3 and up)

  • In My Momma's Kitchen by Jerdine Nolan (Grades K-3)

  • In the Land of Words: New and Selected Poems by Eloise Greenfield (Grades 2-6)

  • Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison (Grades 11 and up)

  • Juneteenth: A Celebration of Freedom by Charles A. Taylor (Grades 4-7)

  • Kings and Queens of West Africa by Sylviane Anna Diouf (Grades 4-7)

  • The Land by Mildred D. Taylor (Grades 6 and up)

  • A Lesson for Martin Luther King Jr. by Denise Lewis Patrick (Grades K-2)

  • Like Sisters on the Homefront Rita Williams-Garcia (Grades 8 and up)

  • Lookin' for Bird in the Big City by Robert Burleigh (Grades 1-3)

  • Makes Me Wanna Holler: A Young Black Man in America by Nathan McCall (Grades 10 and up)

  • Malcolm X: By Any Means Necessary by Walter Dean Myers (Grades 5 and up)

  • Mansa Musa by Khephra Burns (Grades 3-6)

  • Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Doreen Rappaport (Grades PreK-3)

  • Masai and I by Virginia Kroll (Grades 2-4)

  • Me and Uncle Romie: A Story Inspired by the Life and Art of Romare Bearden by Claire Hartfield. (Grades 1-4)

  • The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter G. Woodson (Grades 11 and up)

  • Money Hungry by Sharon G. Flake (Grades 7-9)

  • More than Anything Else by Marie Bradby (Grades K-3)

  • Native Son by Richard Wright (Grades 11 and up)

  • A Negro Explorer at the North Pole by Matthew A. Henson (Grades 8 and up)

  • Night Golf by William Miller (Grades 2-4)

  • Oh Lord, I Wish I Was a Buzzard by Polly Greenberg (Grades PreK-K)

  • Only Passing Through: The Story of Sojourner Truth by Anne Rockwell (Grades 2-5)

  • Papa's Mark by Gwendolyn Battle-Lavert (Grades 1-3)

  • Pass it on: African-American Poetry for Children edited by Wade Hudson (Grades K-5)

  • The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales by Virginia Hamilton (All grades)

  • Phenomenal Woman: Four Poems Celebrating Women by Maya Angelou (Grades 8 and up)

  • Pictures for Miss Josie by Sandra Belton (Grades K-4)

  • Rap a Tap Tap: Here's Bojangles-Think of That by Leo and Diane Dillon.(Grades PreK-2)

  • The Return of Gabriel by John Armistead (Grades 5-8)

  • Richard Wright and the Library Card by William Miller (Grades 2-5)

  • Rock of Ages : A Tribute to the Black Church by Tonya Bolden (Grades K-3)

  • Roots: The Saga of an American Family by Alex Haley (Grades 11 and up)

  • Separate but Not Equal: The Dream and the Struggle by James Haskins (Grades 7 and up)

  • Seven Spools of Thread: A Kwanzaa Story by Angela Shelf Medearis (Grades 2-5)

  • Something Beautiful by Sharon Dennis Wyeth (Grades 2-4)

  • The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. DuBois (Grades 10 and up)

  • Sounder by William H. Armstrong (Grades 4-7)

  • Stealing Freedom by Elisa Carbone (Grades 6-10)

  • A Strong Right Arm: The Story of Mamie "Peanut" Johnson by Michelle Y. Green (Grades 4-7)

  • Sukey and the Mermaid by Robert D. San Souci (Grades K-3)

  • Summer Snow: Reflections from a Black Daughter of the South by Trudier Harris (Grades 11 and up)

  • Sunday Week by Dinah Johnson. Henry Holt, 1999 (Grades PreK-2)

  • Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt by Deborah Hopkinson (Grades K-3)

  • Taking Liberty: The Story of Oney Judge, George Washington's Runaway Slave by Ann Rinaldi (Grades 6 and up)

  • Talkin' About Bessie by Nikki Grimes (Grades 3-6)

  • Talking With Tebé: Clementine Hunter, Memory Artist by Mary E. Lyons (Grades 5 and up)

  • Tambourine Moon by Joy Jones (Grades K-2)

  • Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (Grades 11 and up)

  • Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe (Grades 10 and up)

  • Through My Eyes: The Autobiography of Ruby Bridges by Ruby Bridges (Grades 4 and up)

  • To Be a Slave by Julius Lester (Grades 5 and up)

  • Tree of Hope by Amy Littlesugar (Grades K-3)

  • Twelve Travelers, Twenty Horses by Harriette Gillem Robinet (Grades 5-7)

  • Uncle Jed's Barbershop by Margaree King Mitchell (Grades PreK-3)

  • Virgie Goes to School With Us Boys by Elizabeth Fitzgerald Howard (Grades 2-5)

  • Vision of Beauty: the Story of Sarah Breedlove Walker by Kathryn Lasky (Grades 3-6)

  • Visiting Langston by Willie Perdomo (Grades 2-4)

  • The Watsons Go To Birmingham- 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis (Grades 4-7)

  • When Marian Sang: The True Recital of Marian Anderson by Pam Munoz Ryan (Grades K-3)