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Mark Black History Month with these top children's titles

Written by · Published Oct 1, 2018

Little People, Big Dreams: Rosa Parks, Young, Gifted and Black, Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History

Young, Gifted and Black, by Jamia Wilson & Andrea Pippins

“Jamia Wilson brings together 52 icons of colour from the past and present and celebrates their inspirational achievements. Meet figureheads, leaders and pioneers such as Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and Rosa Parks, as well as cultural trailblazers and sporting heroes, including Stevie Wonder, Oprah Winfrey and Serena Williams.

“Strong, courageous, talented and diverse, these extraordinary men and women’s achievements will inspire a new generation to chase their dream.”

Hidden Figures: the true story of four black women and the space race, by Margot Lee Shetterly & Laura Freeman

“Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden were good at math - really good. They participated in some of NASA’s greatest successes, like providing the calculations for America’s first journeys into space. And they did so during a time when being black and a woman limited what they could do. But they worked hard. They persisted. And they used their genius minds to change the world.

“In this picture book edition, we explore the story of four female African American mathematicians at NASA and how they overcame gender and racial barriers to succeed in a highly challenging STEM-based career.”

Grandad Mandela, by Zindzi Mandela, Zazi Mandela, Ziwelene Mandela & Sean Qualls

“One day, they ask their Grandma Zindzi Mandela 15 questions about him and his life. Zazi and Ziwelene learn that their great-grandad was a freedom fighter, a President and a Nobel Peace Prize-winner, and that they can carry on his work today.

“The only children’s picture book to be created in collaboration with the Mandela family and Mandela Legacy, this cross-generational title promises to bring Nelson Mandela’s incredible story alive for the next generation.”

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History, by Vashti Harrison

“Featuring 40 trailblazing black women in the world’s history, this book educates and inspires as it relates true stories of women who broke boundaries and exceeded all expectations.

“Debut author/illustrator Vashti Harrison pairs captivating text with stunning illustrations as she tells the stories of both iconic and lesser-known female figures of black history - from nurse Mary Seacole, to politician Diane Abbott, mathematician Katherine Johnson and singer Shirley Bassey.”

Little Leaders is also available in board book format for even littler leaders.

Ella, Queen of Jazz, by Helen Hancocks

“Ella Fitzgerald sang the blues and she sang them good. Ella and her fellas were on the way up!

“It seemed like nothing could stop her, until the biggest club in town refused to let her play. and all because of her colour. But when all hope seemed lost, little did Ella imagine that a Hollywood star would step in to help.

“The inspiring, true story of how a remarkable friendship between Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe was born - and how they worked together to overcome prejudice and adversity.”

I Have a Dream: Martin Luther King and the fight for equal rights, by Anita Ganeri

“This title tells the remarkable story of Dr King’s leadership of non-violent efforts to overcome appalling institutionalized racism and prejudice. Presented in a graphic, magazine-style format, the book follows King’s life from his childhood in Atlanta to the March on Washington in 1963 and his assassination in 1968.”

Little People, Big Dreams books

“In the Little People, Big Dreams series, discover the lives of outstanding people, from designers and artists to scientists. All of them achieved incredible things, yet each began life as a child with a dream.”

Rosa Parks, by Lisbeth Kaiser & Marta Antelo

“Rosa Parks grew up during segregation in Alabama, but she was taught to respect herself and stand up for her rights. In 1955, she refused to give up her seat to a white man on a segregated bus, sparking the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

“Her decision had a huge impact on civil rights, eventually leading to the end of segregation on public transport. Rosa has been described as The Mother of the Freedom Movement.”

Maya Angelou, by Lisbeth Kaiser & Leire Salaberria

“Maya Angelou spent most of her childhood in Stamps, Arkansas. After a traumatic event at age eight, she stopped speaking for five years. However, Maya rediscovered her voice through books, and went on to become one of the world’s most beloved writers and speakers.”

Harriet Tubman, by Ma Isabel Sánchez Vegara & Pili Aguado

“Discover the incredible life of Harriet Tubman, the Underground Railroad conductor who ‘never lost a single passenger’.”

Ella Fitzgerald, by Ma Isabel Sánchez Vegara, Bàrbara Alca & Raquel Plitt

“Meet Ella Fitzgerald, one of the most influential jazz singers of all time. This mini biography charts Ella’s life, from her early singing days on the streets of Harlem, to her success as a jazz legend, with the message: ‘It’s not where you come from, but where you’re going that counts’.”

Sophie Green

Sophie Green

I work for the Suffolk Libraries stock team. I also write children’s fiction, short stories and comedy. Visit my website.