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Celebrating Black History Month: Books and Activities for Young Children

February is Black History Month, a great opportunity to bring new materials to your curriculum that introduce children to Black history, stories, and culture. When we celebrate the diversity in our communities, we help to create more equitable classrooms. In this article, we share a variety of resources that can be incorporated into your curriculum to celebrate Black History Month with young children. These resources are great for the month of February – and all year long! 

Children’s Books

This Jazz Man by Karen Ehrhardt

This book is a tribute to famous African-American jazz musicians, such as Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, set to the tune of the children’s song “This Old Man.” Children will enjoy this book’s rhythm, colorful pictures, and invitations to sing along with the musicians.


Life Doesn’t Frighten Me by Maya Angelou

This children’s book was written by the famous African American poet Maya Angelou, and illustrated by Jean-Michel Basquiat. The book’s dark, eye-catching paintings will engage children in both the words and imagery. Maya Angelou wrote the book as a message to young children to help them find their inner courage.

“M” is for Melanin by Tiffany Rose

This alphabet book introduces letters of the alphabet through positive, affirming messages that promote and preserve pride in Black children. This book is an empowering read for young children, encouraging them to be strong, bold, and to celebrate all of the special things that make them unique.


Joyful ABCs Activity Booklet

The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) created Joyful ABC Activity Booklets, which invites caregivers and educators to support children’s positive identity development while growing language and literacy skills. Each letter has free printables available to download that include easy-to-implement activities for young children in your care. Click here to find an example of activity printables for infants and toddlers.

Learn more about the series and download the free activity booklets here. There are activities available for both preschoolers (3-5 years old) and infants and toddlers.

Celebrating with Art by Black Artists

In an article for PBS Kids, Dr. Aisha White, director of the P.R.I.D.E. (Positive Racial Identity Development in Early Education) Program at the University of Pittsburgh Office of Child Development, describes activities caregivers and educators can share with young children. Dr. White points out that the arts are a powerful learning tool, and Black art can help empower and educate young children. Dr. White shares activity ideas using the artist, Jacob Lawerence, as inspiration:

Lawrence liked to use very few colors in his paintings. In The Migration Series, he painted with the same colors from panel to panel. Ask your child to use only the colors red, yellow, dark green, slate blue, and brown ­— The Migration Series colors — in a picture they draw themselves. Next, they can fill in black and white paintings. Afterwards, ask them to talk about their pictures. Was it hard to use only five colors? If so, why? 

As another way to introduce the visual arts to young children, ask them to look at a Lawrence image. What do they see? Have them call out the various colors and which ones they believe the artist used most. Ask questions like: Why do you think the artist chose to use those colors in particular? Where do you think people are in this particular image? Are there particular shapes that appear frequently, like circles, squares, or diagonal lines? Do the people look happy, sad, anxious? Why?

If you are looking for additional books to share with young learners, you might enjoy this article from the G2K archives: Books to Celebrate Black History Month.

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