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Youth Reading Recommendations for Black History Month

Faith Ringgold, Tar Beach

February is Black History Month, and it’s never too early to start learning! Our Youth and Family educators at the museum have put together a list of resources and age-appropriate reading recommendations to learn about Black history, including some resources for adults on how to approach topics of race and racism with children.

What does this have to do with me? Why is Black History Month important?

Children must learn and understand that the color of someone’s skin doesn’t make them worth any more or any less than someone else. Children in the upper-grade levels study slavery, abolition, segregation, and prominent Black figures, but this type of instruction can begin as early as preschool. It’s never too early to begin teaching children about acceptance and equality. Studying Black History Month with young children is a good way to slowly introduce these values to the decision-makers of the future. Learn together with these resources and reading recommendations!

Emma Amos, The Reader
Emma Amos, The Reader, 1967, 41 1/8 × 61 1/8 in., oil on canvas in artist's frame, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas. Courtesy of the artist and RYAN LEE Gallery, New York.

Reading Recommendations

Ages 2 – 4

The Skin You Live In by Michael Tyler

Dream Big, Little One by Vashti Harrison

Follow Your Dreams, Little One by Vashti Harrison

Ages 5 – 7

This Jazz Man By Karen Ehrhardt

We March by Shane W. Evans

Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold


Here are some recommendations for adults and parents on how to talk to children about race and racism.

Talking About Race” is a compilation of resources from the National Museum of African American History and Culture. There’s also a section just for parents and caregivers on why and how to have these important conversations with children.

“PBS KIDS Talk About: Race & Racism” is a 30-minute special that features real conversations between children and their parents. These conversations model how to talk about race and racial justice topics in an age-appropriate way. Your children can watch too.

So You Want to Talk about Race by Ijeoma Oluo


Written by Marie Hofer, museum educator, and Kim Ly, art instructor, Crystal Bridges.