Stories of Joy and Excellence for Black History Month

A graphic that reads "Stories of Black joy and excellence, Picture books for Black History Month"

This Black history month, share picture books that tell stories of Black joy, love and excellence.

The cover of the picture book Another, which features a little Black girl with brightly beaded braids and a black catAnother, by Christian Robinson

Kids will love making up their own story for this wordless picture book featuring a little girl and her cat who crawl through a portal and enter a wild and colorful world. Robinson has brought his vibrant illustration style to many other picture books, including Twenty Questions, which comes out in March 2023.

The cover of the picture book Little Melba and Her Big Trombone, which features a Black girl in a dress playing a gold tromboneLittle Melba and Her Big Trombone by Katheryn Russell-Brown, illustrated by Frank Morrison

This book celebrates Black jazz musician and composer Melba Doretta Liston, who taught herself to play trombone. If this book sparks a love of trombones in young readers, don’t miss Trombone Shorty, a biography of modern jazz trombonist Troy Andrews.

The cover of the picture book Whistle for Willie, which shows a Black boy and a dachshund on a bright red and pink backgroundWhistle for Willie by Ezra Jack Keats

Ezra Jack Keats’ The Snowy Day is a beloved classic, but he wrote many other books too! This story reunites readers with Snowy Day character Peter, who longs to learn to whistle for his dog.

The cover of the picture but Mae Among the Stars, which shows a Black girl in an astronaut helmet looking out at a starry landscape

Mae Among the Stars by Roda Ahmed, illustrated by Stasia Burrington

Learn the story of Mae Jemison, the first Black woman to travel in space, in this inspiring book with gorgeously painted scenes of the universe.

The cover of the picture book Tar Beach, which shows two Black children lying on a blanket and four adults around a table on a colorful city rooftop

Tar Beach, by Faith Ringgold

Harlem-born artist Faith Ringgold has written and illustrated more than 20 children’s books. Her classic Tar Beach tells the story of a little girl named Cassie who imagines flying over New York city while recalling the triumphs and trials of her family. Watch Ringgold read the story here.

The cover of the picture book The Undefeated, which includes detailed portraits of Black historical figures

The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander, illustrated by Kadir Nelson

Highlight the history of Black American heroes in civil rights, the arts, sports and more with this spectacular, and often heartbreaking, book. Alexander, a poet, performs the book in this video.


For more wonderful stories created by Black authors and illustrators, check out the Coretta Scott King Book Awards.