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Feb 9, 2024 3 min read

Celebrating Diversity: ECE Books for Black History Month

Leah Woodbury By: Leah Woodbury
Teacher in preschool classroom reads a book to students during story time.

Black History Month provides a perfect opportunity to introduce early childhood education books that celebrate Black heritage and triumphs while helping children envision themselves as part of a vibrant history and a future full of potential!

Why ECE Literature Matters in Black History Month

The celebration of Black History Month in ECE helps cultivate a sense of inclusion and respect for diversity. By carefully selecting books that reflect the lives and accomplishments of Black individuals and communities, you can instill a deeper understanding of history and the value of representation.

Throughout this month and all year round, consider leaning into literature that not only recounts the past but inspires the next generation. 

Let’s take a look at one such book that does just that.

“Baby Young, Gifted, and Black: With a Mirror!”

With stories of dynamic figures from Black history and today, this book is a wonderful starting point to diversify your classroom bookshelves.

Description: Jamia Wilson’s board book is filled with captivating and age-appropriate stories of iconic Black leaders. This book introduces children to influential figures such as writer James Baldwin, astronaut Mae Jemison and artists Jean-Michel Basquiat and Zadie Smith.

This book is suitable for babies and children up to 4 years old. 

Activity Suggestion for Preschool Classrooms: After reading, lead a collaborative artwork project in which each child can create a portrait of their heroes or engage in role play that reflects these leaders’ achievements.

Make the Most of Black History Month Resources

Beyond bookshelves, Black History Month is the perfect time to incorporate various educational resources into your lesson plans:

Interactive Multimedia: Videos and music that pay homage to Black history can be a dynamic addition to your curriculum.

Classroom Decoration: Celebrate Black heritage by decorating classroom spaces with artwork, quotes and displays that honor Black history.

Community Engagement: Invite local Black leaders or storytellers to share their experiences with your class, offering a live glimpse into the narratives that have shaped their lives.

Want to learn more about Black leaders in ECE? Check out this blog that details the accomplishments of three leaders, including Fannie C. Williams, who opened the first nursery school and kindergarten classes for Black children in New Orleans in the early years of the Depression; of Dr. Edmund Gordon, who helped design the Head Start program; and of Dr. Evangeline Ward, who created a code of ethics for early childhood professionals that provides a foundation of professionalism for educators that continues to guide and motivate child care advocates today.

And if you’re looking for more book ideas, this list from Scholastic Schoolworks includes beloved stories for Black History Month, including a powerful play about a child who led a series of sit-down strikes to a gripping nonfiction article about the co-discoverer of the North Pole. 

Penguin Random House Education shares another list of Black History books you might find helpful!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Leah Woodbury

Leah Woodbury is the head of content at Procare Solutions. Her job includes writing about topics that matter to child care professionals and finding ways to help them do their important work. She’s a mom of two who loves getting updates about what her preschooler is doing during the day via the Procare child care mobile app!

Leah Woodbury