Black Reading List for Children and Young Adults


© Copyright 2013 CorbisCorporationELEMENTARY (GRADES PREK-3)

A Bus of Our Own, Freddi Williams Evans

Africa Dream, Eloise Greenfield

Allie’s Basketball Dream, Barbara E. Barber

Almost to Freedom, Vaunda Micheaux Nelson

Ananse’s Feast : An Ashanti Tale, Tololwa M. Mollel

Ashley Bryan’s ABC of African American Poetry, Ashley Bryan

Before John Was a Jazz Giant, Carole Boston Weatherford

Big boy, Tololwa M. Mollel

Big Mama’s, Donald Crews

Bill Pickett: Rodeo-Ridin Cowboy, Andrea Pinkney & Brian Pinkney

Bright Eyes, Brown Skin, Cheryl Hudson & Bernette Ford

Dia’s Story Cloth, Dia Cha

Drylongso, Virginia Hamilton

Dume’s Roar, Tololwa M. Mollel

Everett Anderson’s Good-bye, Lucille Clifton

Gettin’ Through Thursday, by Melrose Cooper

Goin’ Someplace Special, by Patricia C. McKissack

Grandpa’s Face, Eloise Greenfield

Honey, I Love, Eloise Greenfield

I Am Rosa Parks, Rosa Parks & James Haskins

I Dream of Trains, Angela Johnson

I’ve Seen the Promised Land: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Walter Dean Myers

In the Land of Words: New and Selected Poems, Jan Spivey Gilchrist

Kitoto The Mighty, Tololwa M. Mollel

Let It Shine, Ashley Bryan

Mama’s Window, Lynn Rubright

Mary McLeod Bethune, Eloise Greenfield

My Rows And Piles Of Coins, Tololwa M. Mollel

Neeny Coming, Neeny Going, Karen English

Nelson Mandela’s Favorite African Folktales, Nelson Mandela

Our Gracie Aunt, Jacqueline Woodson

Running the Road to ABC, Denize Lauture

Sometimes My Mommy Gets Angry, Bebe Moore Campbell

Subira Subira, Tololwa M. Mollel

The Dream Keeper and Other Poems, Langston Hughes & Brian Pinkney

The Hard-Times Jar, by Ethel Footman Smothers

The Orphan Boy : A Maasai Story, Tololwa M. Mollel

The Other Side, Jacqueline Woodson

The Palm of My Heart: Poetry by African American Children, Gregorie Christie

The Patchwork Quilt, Valerie Flournoy

Thunder Rose, Jerdine Nolen

Uptown, Bryan Collier

Visiting Day, Jacqueline Woodson

Visiting Langston, Bryan Collier

Elementary (Grades 4-5)

A Little Love, Virginia Hamilton

Aida, Leontyne Price

Brothers in Hope: The Story of the Lost Boys of Sudan, R. Gregory Christie

Duke Ellington: The Piano Prince and His Orchestra, Andrea Davis Pinkney

Ellington Was Not a Street, Ntozake Shange & Kadir Nelson

Harlem, Walter Dean Myers

I Have Heard of a Land, Joyce Carol Thomas

Maritcha, Tonya Bolden

Meet Danitra Brown, Nikki Grimes

Mirandy and Brother Wind, Patricia McKissack

Nathaniel Talking, Eloise Greenfield

Night on the Neighborhood Street, Eloise Greenfield

Rainbow Jordan, Alice Childress

Something on My Mind, Nikki Grimes

Talkin’ About Bessie: The Story of Aviator Elizabeth Coleman, Nikki Grimes

The Bat Boy and His Violin, Gavin Curtis

The Great Migration: An American Story, Jacob Lawrence

The Hunterman and the Crocodile, Baba Waguè Diakitè

The Road to Memphis, Mildred Taylor

The Singing Man, Angela Shelf Medearis

The Strange New Feeling, Julius Lester

Under the Sunday Tree, Eloise Greenfield


Middle School (Grades 6-8)

A Thief in the Village and Other Stories, James Berry

Eighth-Grade Superzero, Olugbemiosola Rhuday-Perkovich

Andrew Young: Young Man With a Mission, James Haskins

Another Way to Dance, Martha Southgate

Bayard Rustin: Behind the Scenes of the Civil Rights Movement, James Haskins

Black Hands, White Sails: The Story of African American Whalers, Patricia C. & Frederick L. McKissack

Childtimes: A Three-Generation Memoir, Eloise Greenfield and Lessie Jones Little

Dark Sons, Nikki Grimes

Days of Jubilee: The End of Slavery in the United States, Patricia C. and Frederick L. McKissack

Days of Tears: A Novel in Dialogue, Julius Lester

Elijah of Buxton, Christopher Paul Curtis

Forged by Fire, Sharon M. Draper

Francie, Karen English

Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story, Ben Carson

Heaven, Angela Johnson

I See the Rhythm, Toyomi Igus

Junius Over Far, Virginia Hamilton

Justin and the Best Biscuits in the World, Mildred Pitts Walter

Keeping the Night Watch, Hope Anita Smith

Let It Shine! Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters, Andrea Davis Pinkney

Let the Circle Be Unbroken, Mildred D. Taylor

Locomotion, Jacqueline Woodson

Maizon at Blue Hill, Jacqueline Woodson

Maritcha: A Nineteenth-Century American Girl, Tonya Bolden

Miracle’s Boys, Jacqueline Woodson

Now is Your Time: The African American Struggle for Freedom, Walter Dean Myers

Rebels Against Slavery: American Slave Revolts, Patricia C. and Frederick L. McKissack

Soujourner Truth: Ain’t I a Woman?, Patricia C. and Frederick L. McKissack

Sweet Whispers, Brother Rush, Virginia Hamilton

The Battle of Jericho, Sharon Draper

The Land, Mildred Taylor

The Legend of Buddy Bush, Sheila P. Moses

The Other Side: Shorter Poems, Angela Johnson

The Road to Paris, Nikki Grimes

The Skin I’m In, Sharon Flake

The Way a Door Closes, Hope Anita Smith

The Words of Martin Luther King, Jr., Coretta Scott King

Toning the Sweep, Angela Johnson

Twelve Rounds to Glory: The Story of Muhammad Ali – Charles R. Smith, Jr.

W.E.B. Du Bois, David Levering Lewis

We are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball, Kadir Nelson


High School (Grades 9-12)

Anthony Burns: The Defeat and Triumph of a Fugitive Slave, Virginia Hamilton

Barbara Jordan, James Haskins

Becoming Billie Holiday, Carole Boston Weatherford

Benjamin Banneker, Lillie Patterson

Carver: A Life in Poems, Marilyn Nelson

Copper Sun, Sharon Draper

Coretta Scott King, Lillie Patterson

Cornrows, Camille Yarborough

Darkness Before Dawn, Sharon Draper

Don’t Explain: A Song of Billie Holiday, Alexis De Veaux

Fallen Angels, Walter Dean Myers

Fortune’s Bones: The Manumission Requiem, Marilyn Nelson

I Never Had It Made: the Autobiography of Jackie Robinson, Alfred Duckett

James Van Der Zee: The Picture Takin’ Man, James Haskins

Just Another Hero, Sharon M. Draper

Lena Horne, James Haskins

Let the Lion Eat Straw, Ellease Southerland

Lou in the Limelight, Kristin Hunter

Malcolm X: By Any Means Necessary, Walter Dean Myers

Mississippi Challenge, Mildred Pitts Walter

Monster, Walter Dean Myers

Movin’ Up, Berry Gordy

My Chill Wind, Janet McDonald

Remember: The Journey to School Integration, Toni Morrison

The First Part Last, Angela Johnson

The Magical Adventures of Pretty Pearl, Virginia Hamilton, Lena Horne, James Haskins

The Middle Passage: White Ships Black Cargo, Tom Feelings

The Story of Stevie Wonder, James Haskins

The Young Landlords, Walter Dean Myers

This Life, Sidney Poitier

We Beat the Street: How a Friendship Led to Success, Sampson Davis, George Jenkins, Rameck Hunt and Sharon Draper


Prepared by Dr. Askhari Johnson Hodari, author of The African Book of Names (HCI, 2009) and Lifelines: The Black Book of Proverbs (Broadway Books, 2009) (both available wherever books are sold). For more information, or to download this document, visit You have permission to copy and distribute this document as long as this entire footer remains visible and intact. Copyright ©2011 Dr. Askhari Johnson Hodari. All rights reserved.

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