4 Must-Read Children’s Books for Black History Month

To celebrate February as Black History Month, we’ve picked four of our favorite children’s books that we feel as a must-read. From left to right the titles are as follows: My Fade is Fresh, The Door of No Return, Freewater, and Ain’t Burned All the Bright.

Black History Month is celebrated every February to honor the history and achievements of generations of African Americans. Uplift and appreciate Black voices by spending this month (and beyond!) with children's books by Black authors. We've picked out some of our favorites to get you started.

My Fade Is Fresh by Shauntay Grant, illustrated by Kitt Thomas 

Shauntay Grant, a girl, is styling her freshly cut hair in a salon mirror and is surrounded by hair products. In the mirror reads the book’s title, My Fade is Fresh, and has Fresh in red font and underlined.
In this fun and empowering picture book from multi-talented author Shauntay Grant, a little girl walks into her local barber shop and knows she wants the “flyest, freshest fade on the block!” With so many awesome hairstyles to choose from, the choice can be tricky, but she knows the importance of staying true to herself and makes sure she walks out with the haircut that she feels fabulous in. This rhyming story celebrates the beauty and diversity of Black hair and reminds young readers to be confident in themselves. (Ages 3-7)

The Door of No Return by Kwame Alexander
In the lower half of the book, against a bright orange background, are lighter orange ocean waves. In front of the waves is a light yellow bird silhouette and to the left of it, written in black block letters, spells the title: The Door of No Return.

The Door of No Return is the latest release from the critically acclaimed author Kwame Alexander. Set in 1860, this first book of a soon-to-be trilogy follows eleven-year-old Kofi, who lives with his family in the African village of Upper Kwanta and loves spending time with his best friend Ebo and crush Ama. When tragedy strikes, Kofi's life is upended. He suddenly finds himself in a fight for his life, set on a journey miles away from home and everything he knows to be true. (Ages 10+)

Freewater by Amina Luqman-Dawson
Homer, a boy, is in a white shirt and is submerged in water surrounded by green plants. In the lower part of the book, in front of the rippled water in the lower part is written in white block letters: Freewater.

Winner of the Coretta Scott King Author Award and the John Newbery Medal, this historical fiction novel is centered around twelve-year-old Homer and his little sister Ada as they escape a plantation, leaving their mother behind. When the two enslaves siblings flee, they stumble upon a secret community called Freewater. Homer finds new friends as he explores this magical new place, but soon discovers a threat that could mean the end of his new home. Homer must hatch a plan to save his community and his mother. An inspiring tale of survival and courage. (Ages 10+)

Ain't Burned All the Bright by Jason Reynolds, artwork by Jason Griffin
Against a light blue white background, a black hand silhouette is holding a bright red flame in its palm. Scribbled all over the book, the title, Ain’t Burned All the Bright, is repeated all over to give the book cover a notebook effect.

From lifetime achievement award-winner author Jason Reynolds and renowned artist Jason Griffin comes Ain't Burned All the Bright, a multimedia work that poetically captures what it's like to be Black in America. Three hundred pages of gorgeous artwork and thought-provoking text come together to weave a powerful narrative—a nameless Black narrator guides the reader through the poignant story of his family and their experience with current social issues (such as police brutality and the COVID-19 pandemic). A must-read for teens and adults alike. (Ages 12+)