From Unit Plan: Black History in America Teaching Guide

Recommended Books

Scholastic's Black History Month Book List
Celebrate the African American individuals who have made exceptional contributions in the history of our country and the world.

African American Collection: Grades K–3

The Adventures of Spider

Anansi Does the Impossible

The Bat Boy and His Violin


The Book of Black Heroes From A to Z

Boundless Grace

Donavan's Word Jar

Duke Ellington: The Piano Prince and His Orchestra

Fair Ball!: 14 Great Stars From Baseball's Negro Leagues

Follow the Drinking Gourd

The Ghost of Sifty Sifty Sam

Great Black Heroes: Five Notable Inventors

Little Bill: Hooray for the Dandelion Warriors

My First Kwanzaa Book

Peter's Chair

Sam and the Tigers


Tell Me a Story, Mama

These Hands

Through My Eyes

Black Eagles: African Americans in Aviation
by Jim Haskins (Grades 5–7)

Documenting the neglected history of black pioneers in American aviation, this Coretta Scott King Award winner looks at African Americans in aviation, from early aces forced to earn their wings in Europe to the first female African American astronaut.

The Day Martin Luther King, Jr. Was Shot
by Jim Haskins (Grades 6–8)

With powerful photos and illustrations, this book is a stirring look at the history of the fight for civil rights and the gains made since the fateful day of King's death. American Bookseller Pick of the Lists.

Duke Ellington: The Piano Prince and His Orchestra
by Andrea Davis Pinkney (Grades 3–5)

Hailed as the "King of Keys," most people called his music jazz, but Duke Ellington said it was "the music of my people."

Great Black Heroes: Five Notable Inventors
by Wade Hudson (Grades PreK–3)

Follow five inventors: Elijah "the real" McCoy, machinery oiling equipment; Madame C.J. Walker, hair products for black women; Granville Woods, electrical signal system for trains; Garrett Morgan, gas masks and traffic signals; and Jan Matzeliger, shoe last machinery.

by Walter Dean Myers (Grades 3–5)

Father and son celebrate a rich and vibrant neighborhood that has been a historic center of African American culture in New York City. Caldecott Honor Book, Coretta Scott King Honor Book, ALA Best Books for Young Adults, ALA Notable Children's Books.

If You Traveled on the Underground Railroad
by Ellen Levine (Grades 2–5)

The vast and complex network known as the Underground Railroad helped thousands of slaves reach freedom. Told in a vivid question-and-answer format, this text provides true stories of slaves who faced an enormous number of dangers.

Down to the Last Out: The Journal of Biddy Owens
by Walter Dean Myers (Grades 3–7)

Journey to the days of segregated baseball. This story is told through the eyes of a batboy thrilled to travel with his Negro League team, yet disheartened by the racism he faces on the road. An inspiring story where Biddy's realization that even if he doesn't have the talent for Major League Baseball, he can help fight for the rights of African Americans who do.

Let's Read About... Martin Luther King, Jr.
by Courtney Baker (Grades K–2)

Martin Luther King Jr. grew up in the South, and it was there that he learned about racism. He became a leader and taught the world about equality. Young readers will learn his story and why we still celebrate this man and his dream today.

A Picture Book of Frederick Douglass
by David A. Adler (Grades 3–5)

Great Americans are brought to life in this critically acclaimed series of Picture Book Biographies. This book introduces young readers to Frederick Douglass in a sensitive, accurate, and accessible portrayal. Following the narrative is an author's note with further information, as well as a chronology of important dates in Douglass' life.

The Story of Ruby Bridges
by Robert Coles (Grades PreK–3)

A Pulitzer Prize-winning author and Coretta Scott King Award-winning illustrator present the extraordinary true story of the first African American child to integrate a New Orleans school.

Through My Eyes
by Ruby Bridges (Grades 3–7)

In November 1960, all of America watched as a tiny six-year-old black girl, surrounded by federal marshals, walked through a mob of screaming segregationists and into her school. An icon of the civil rights movement, Ruby Bridges chronicles each dramatic step of this pivotal event in history.

Rosa Parks: My Story
by Rosa Parks and Jim Haskins (Grades 6–12)

Written in her own straightforward and moving words, Rosa Parks' compelling life story reveals her deliberate choices that led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott. ALA Notable Children's Book, ALA Best Book for Young Adults.

The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963
by Christopher Paul Curtis (Grades 4–8)

Enter the hilarious world of the 10-year-old Kenny and his family, the Weird Watsons of Flint, Michigan. When Momma and Dad decide its time for a visit to Grandma, Dad comes home with the amazing Ultra-Glide, and the Watsons head south to Birmingham, Alabama, toward one of the darkest moments in America's history.

Web Sites

The African American Mosaic
The Library of Congress presents this resource guide for the study of African American history and culture including colonization, the abolition of slavery, and migration patterns. These primary resources include maps, images, advertisements, and more.

The Black Inventor Online Museum
Find biographies of African American inventors by name, by time period, and even by invention.

Jazz for Young People Curriculum Online
Produced by Jazz at Lincoln Center, this website is a resource for learning about jazz music and history and is geared toward students of all ages and their teachers.

Harlem 1900-1940
The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture's online exhibit about Harlem from 1900-1940 includes information about activism, arts, business, community, sports, writers, and intellectuals in Harlem. Be sure to check out the other Digital Schomburg Online Exhibitions.