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|The latest in my series of reading lists for Black History Month, this list will focus on books for middle grade children. These are typically children between the ages of eight and twelve. I have included primarily fiction stories, but some nonfiction is included. They all focus on different points in history, ranging from the eighteenth century to present. They are primarily historically based, but I have included some with a contemporary setting, including a fantasy story.
Midnight Without a Moon by Linda Williams Jackson
Rose Lee Carter, a 13 year old black girl in Mississippi, dreams of a different life until her world is changed by the murder of Emmett Till, in the first book in this series.
The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis
A young and brilliant girl has a bright future until the Great Depression strikes, and her whole family is uprooted so her father can find work where it is still available for black men.
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
Woodson shares the story of her own childhood through poetry, tackling issues that come with being a black girl in America in the 60s and 70s.
One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
Young sisters go to California to stay with their mother for the summer in the 1960s and meet the Black Panthers, in the first book in a series.
The Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pinkney, Illustrated by Shane W. Evans
Told in poetry, and set in Sudan, a young girl looks forward to a bright future until the Janjaweed militia group terrorize her village. While living in a refugee camp, she is given a red pencil that restores her hope.
Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor
A young albino girl in Nigeria discovers she and her friends have unique magical abilities, and they use those abilities to hunt a serial killer.
Look to the Hills: The Diary of Lozette Moreau, a French Slave Girl by Patricia C. McKissack
Part of the Dear America series. Lozette is a slave in France. Her masters move her over to America, where she must adapt to a different life.
Color Me Dark: The Diary of Nellie Lee Love, the Great Migration North, Chicago, Illinois, 1919 by Patricia C. McKissack
Part of the Dear America series. Nellie Lee lives in Tennessee until Uncle Pace is murdered by the KKK. Like many black people at the time, her family relocates to Chicago.
No Crystal Stair: A Documentary Novel of the Life and Work of Lewis Michaux, Harlem Bookseller by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, Illustrations by R. Gregory Christie
Award winning author Vaunda Micheaux Nelson tells the story of her own great-uncle, a man who ran one of the most important bookstores in Harlem.
Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes
Lanesha lives in the Ninth Ward in New Orleans in the mid 2000s. She and her family must prepare for the incoming storm that is Hurricane Katrina.
Stella by Starlight by Sharon M. Draper
Stella lives in North Carolina, and Jim Crow laws are in full effect. The story takes place just in time to see the KKK make a return to her town.
The Land by Mildred D. Taylor
The first in a series about the Logan family, here we see Paul-Edward Logan, a biracial boy in post-Civil War Georgia, grow tired of being discriminated against by white people, black people, and his own family, and set out to find land of his own.
Ghetto Cowboy by G. Neri, illustrated by Jesse Joshua Watson
Cole is left, unhappily, to live in Philadelphia with his dad. He expects to hate it, but finds solace with a group who rescues horses and uses them to keep youth out of trouble.
Hidden Figures Young Readers’ Edition by Margot Lee Shetterly
Hidden Figures, the nonfiction book on the black women who helped make space travel possible, has been adapted for middle grade readers.
Previous posts in the series are:
"A Black History Month Reading List: Introduction"
"Black History Month Reading List: Poetry"
"Black History Month Reading List: Children's Books"