February is Black History Month. If you’re anything like me, you want to talk to your kids about our nation’s history, even when it means talking about the parts of it we’re not so proud of, but you may not know how to approach hard topics in an accessible way for kids, or you may worry about misrepresenting the facts. You don’t have to go it alone! There are many books, podcasts and resources out there to help you celebrate Black achievement and history with your kids and approach hard conversations in a positive way.



Books are a great way to introduce historical concepts and events to our kids. Pick up these books for your kids at your local library or from local booksellers like Black Pearl Books.

Picture Books

  • The United States vs Jackie Robinson by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen
  • When The Schools Shut Down by Yolanda Gladden
  • Freedom’s a-Callin’ Me by Ntozake Shange
  • The People Remember by Ibi Zoboi
  • When Harriet Met Sojourner and Hold The Flag High by Catherine Clinton
  • Brick By Brick by Charles R. Smith, Jr.
  • Shaking Things Up: 14 Young Women Who Changed the World by Susan Hood
  • The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander

Early Readers

It’s never too early to introduce your beginning reader to Black History. Here are some I Can Read books for your early readers:

  • Level 2 – Martin Luther King, Jr.: A Peaceful Leader
  • Level 2 – Harriet Tubman: Freedom Fighter
  • Level 3 – Wagon Wheels
  • Level 3 – The Drinking Gourd

Middle Grade

  • The VIP biography series by Heather Alexander
  • The Fierce 44 by The Staff Of The Undefeated
  • Hidden Figures Young Readers’ Edition by Margot Lee Shetterly
  • Streetcar to Justice by Amy Hill Hearth

Young Adult

  • Black Birds in the Sky by Brandy Colbert
  • Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip M. Hoose
  • Double Victory: How African American Women Broke Race and Gender Barriers to Help Win World War II by Cheryl Mullenbach
  • Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom: My Story of the Selma Voting Rights March by Lynda Blackmon

Graphic Novels

  • March by John Lewis (series)
  • Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation by Octavia Butler
  • Across the Tracks by Alverne Ball
  • Fights and Strange Fruit by Joel Christian Gill


Not only do podcasts make great conversation starters for families, they’re passively educational and ideal for car rides. Here are some podcasts about Black history that are 15 minutes or less for little people and little attention spans.

Bedtime History

The Bedtime History: Inspirational Stories for Kids and Family podcast has become a favorite of parents and educators for its relaxing, accessible approach to introducing children to historical events and figures. Episodes rarely exceed 12 minutes, and cover history from many aspects. Bedtime History has numerous stories about African and African-American historical figures, Black pioneers, and the Civil Rights movement.

Black History in Two Minutes

Black History in Two Minutes is an award-winning digital video series with dozens of short, engaging stories about Black people and events that shaped history, from the well known to the obscure. The show has garnered praise for its accessibility to people of all ages and educational levels. Episodes are 2-ish minutes, making them digestible for even the shortest attention spans.

Hey Black Child

Hey Black Child: The Podcast is hosted by brother and sister Jackson and Avery, the youngest members of the Ausmer family. The Ohio family started the podcast as a way for their children to tell stories of Black excellence after identifying a void in educational programming for black children by other black children. Episodes average 7 minutes and discuss the accomplishments of many lesser-known Black heroes of the past and present.

Black History Month at the Austin Public Library

The month of February is full of events for children and teens to celebrate Black History Month at all APL branch libraries while you’re picking up all those wonderful books.

Black History Trivia

  • Athletes: Feb 5, Little Walnut Branch
  • Icons A-Z: Feb 12, Menchaca Road Branch
  • Who Sampled Who?: Feb 18, Ruiz Branch

Black History Month Celebration

Feb 18, Central Library

A free all-day, all-ages celebration of black history with musical performances, artist and author talks, stories and activities, and a Black Panther watch party.

Black Joy & Resistance Music Series

  • Chief Cleopatra: Feb 4, Twin Oaks Branch
  • Rochelle & The Sidewinders: Feb 11, Ruiz Branch
  • Riders Against The Storm: Feb 18, Central Library

Remember that sharing and celebrating Black history doesn’t have to be limited to the month of February! The great thing about books and podcasts is that you and your kids can enjoy them all year, anywhere. And you know I live by my advice for life – wherever you go, whatever you do, don’t forget to bring baby wipes and a book!

Kelly I. Hitchcock
Kelly I. Hitchcock is a literary fiction author, humorist, and poet in the Austin, Texas area. She is the author of three books and has published poems, short stories, and creative non-fiction works all over the country. Raised by a single father in the small town of Buffalo, Missouri, Kelly has fond memories of her poor rural upbringing in the Ozarks that strongly influence her writing and way of life. She’s a graduate of Missouri State University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing. She has six-year-old identical twins and a full-time job, so writing and picking up LEGO are the only other things she can devote herself to. You can find all Kelly's work at kellyhitchcock.com.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here