Black History Month picture books

What does Black History Month look like for our homeschooling? I checked out 28 picture books. We are using two for month long lessons so they’ll show up later and we’re reading, watching, writing, talking about one book a day. Yes, this means even weekends we’ll have books to read. Our first three have been terrific.

My Name is James Madison Hemings is for older kids who you can have deeper conversations with. Thomas Jefferson had 4 children with his slave Sally Hemings and this is their story from the perspective of one of the sons. How would you feel if you lived in one room under the terraces built in the hillside with your three siblings and mother while your father had his other family in the palatial Monticello? What if your father listed you as property, next to the sheep and hogs in the farm book?

There was so much to unpack and it led to great discussions about how people who do great good can also do bad things. By focusing only on the good doesn’t that show an incomplete picture of history? I could go on, but you get the idea 😁. We also watched a video that I’ll try to link to below. Such an important story.

Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave was a real man who made approximately 40,000 pots with poetry sometimes carved in. Some of these pots are still around today, 200 years later. We paired this with videos of current potters and learned more about the process.

Freedom in Congo Square is about a real place in New Orleans where black people could meet once a week (it became the only place they could congregate on their one day off a week) and keep their African traditions alive. The pictures are colorful and the reading easy for younger kids.

We’re going chronologically through a history book, so not all the books will be about slavery.

I’ll keep our picture books to a once a week recap, but want to make sure I highlight the really good ones – like these!

4 thoughts on “Black History Month picture books

  1. rhapsodyinbooks says:

    If you can find it, “Thomas Jefferson: Life, Libety and the pursuit of Everything” – picture book by Maira Kalman – has a great kid-level discussion of the inconsistencies of Jefferson and how one might think about them and evaluate him based on them. And Kalman’s artwork is the best! These 3 you reviewed are great too. I love the way movement is depicted in Congo Square. And Dave the Potter – you mean you didn’t pair that with watching Ghost? (ha ha, you know, pottery for adults – sort of)

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