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325 West Gaines Street, Suite 514  ·  Tallahassee, FL 32399-0400  ·  Phone: 850-245-0503  ·  Fax: 850-245-9530

2014 Black History Month Recommended Reading from Just Read, Florida!

Grades PreK-3 · Grades 4-5 · Grades 6-8 · Grades 9-12

This recommended reading list, in celebration of Florida's Black History Month, highlights African-American literature. This list provides an excellent source of suggested books for children of all ages. Just Read, Florida! makes reading a priority in Florida's public schools and among the community groups and volunteer organizations that support them. For more information, please visit Just Read, Florida!

Elementary (Grades PreK-3)

  • I Dream of Trains, by Johnson, Angela
  • The Moon Over Star, by Aston, Dianna Hutts
  • Let It Shine, by Bryan, Ashley
  • Before John Was a Jazz Giant, by Weatherford, Carole Boston
  • I’ve Seen the Promised Land: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., by Myers, Walter Dean
  • Papa’s Mark, by Lavert, Gwendolyn
  • In the Land of Words: New and Selected Poems, by Gilchrist, Jan Spivey
  • Almost to Freedom, by Nelson, Vaunda Micheaux
  • Thunder Rose, by Nolen, Jerdine
  • Visiting Langston, by Collier, Bryan
  • Freedom River, by Rappaport, Doreen
  • In Daddy’s Arms I am Tall: African Americans Celebrating Fathers, by Schroeder, Alan
  • Ashley Bryan’s ABC of African American Poetry, by Bryan, Ashley
  • Minty: A Story of Young Harriet Tubman, by Schroeder, Alan
  • Running the Road to ABC, by Lauture, Denize
  • Neeny Coming, Neeny Going, by English, Karen
  • Little Eight John, by Wahl, Jan
  • All Night, all Day: A Child’s First Book of African American Spirituals, by Bryan, Ashley
  • When I Am Old With You, by Johnson, Angela
  • The Patchwork Quilt, by Flournoy, Valerie
  • Bright Eyes, Brown Skin, by Hudson, Cheryl & Ford, Bernette
  • Something Beautiful, by Wyeth, Sharon
  • The Quilt, by Jonas, Ann
  • Bill Pickett: Rodeo-Ridin Cowboy, by Pinkney, Andrea & Pinkney, Brian
  • Drylongso, by Hamilton, Virginia
  • I Am Rosa Parks, by Parks, Rosa Parks & Haskins, James
  • Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., by Rappaport, Doreen
  • Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt, by Hopkinson, Deborah
  • The Dream Keeper and Other Poems, by Hughes, Langston & Pinkney, Brian
  • The Palm of My Heart: Poetry by African American Children, by Christie, Gregorie
  • The Invisible Hunters: A Legend from the Miskito Indians of Nicaragua, by Rohmer, Harriet et al
  • Africa Dream, by Greenfield, Eloise
  • Mary McLeod Bethune, by Greenfield, Eloise
  • Ray Charles, by Mathis, Sharon Bell
  • Jazzy Miz Mozetta, by Roberts, Brenda C.
  • Family Plays Music, by Cox, Judy
  • The Moon Ring, by DuBurke, Randy
  • Freedom Summer, by Wiles, Deb
  • The Piano Man, by Chocolate, Debbie
  • Porch Lies: Tales of Slicksters, Tricksters, and Other Wily Characters, by McKissack, Patricia C. illustrated by Carrilho, Andre
  • Beautiful Blackbird, by Bryan, Ashley
  • Before There Was Mozart: The Story of Joseph Boulogne, Chevalier de Saint-George, by Cline-Ransome, Lesa
  • Moses, by Weatherford, Carole
  • My Brother Martin, by Farris, Christine King
  • We are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball, by Nelson, Kadir
  • Rosa, by Giovanni, Nickki
  • Aunt Harriet's Underground Railroad in the Sky, by Ringgold, Faith
  • Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves - Deputy U.S. Marshal, by Nelson, Vaunda Micheaux
  • My People, by Hughes, Langston
  • Molly Bannaky, by Soentpiet, Chris K. and McGill, Alice
  • Dear Benjamin Banneker, by Pinkney, Andrea Davis and Pinkney, Brian
  • Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, by van Wyk, Chris and Bouma, Paddy
  • Wilma Unlimited: How Wilma Rudolph Became the World's Fastest Woman, by Krull, Kathleen and Diaz, David
  • What Color Is My World?: The Lost History of African-American Inventors, by Abdul-Jabbar, Kareem, Obstfeld, Raymond, and Boos, Ben
  • Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down, by Pinkney, Andrea Davis and Pinkney, Brian

Elementary (Grades 4-5)

  • Romare Bearden: Collage of Memories, by Greenberg, Jan
  • Against All Odds: Artist Dean Mitchell's Story, by James, Betty R.
  • Talkin' About Bessie: The Story of Aviator Elizabeth Coleman, by Grimes, Nikki
  • Only Passing Through: The Story of Sojouner Truth, by Rockwell, Anne
  • I Have Heard of a Land, by Thomas, Joyce Carol
  • Duke Ellington: The Piano Prince and His Orchestra, by Pinkney, Andrea Davis
  • The Hunterman and the Crocodile, by Diakitč, Baba Waguč
  • The Singing Man, by Medearis, by Shelf, Angela
  • Meet Danitra Brown, by Grimes, Nikki
  • Soul Looks Back in Wonder, by Fogelman, Phyllis
  • The Origin of Life on Earth: An African Creation Myth, by Anderson, David A.
  • Night on the Neighborhood Street, by Greenfield, Eloise
  • The Road to Memphis, by Taylor, Mildred
  • Aida, by Price, Leontyne
  • Nathaniel Talking, by Greenfield, Eloise
  • Mirandy and Brother Wind, by McKissack, Patricia
  • Under the Sunday Tree, by Greenfield, Eloise
  • Storm in the Night, by Stolz, Mary
  • Maritcha, by Bolden, Tonya
  • Ellington Was Not a Street, by Shange, Ntozake & Nelson, Kadir
  • The Bat Boy and His Violin, by Curtis, Gavin
  • The Great Migration: An American Story, by Lawrence, Jacob
  • Harlem, by Myers, Walter Dean
  • Circle of Gold, by Boyd, Candy Dawson
  • A Little Love, by Hamilton, Virginia
  • The Strange New Feeling, by Lester, Julius
  • Rainbow Jordan, by Childress, Alice
  • Skates of Uncle Richard, by Fenner, Carol
  • Something on My Mind, by Grimes, Nikki
  • Brothers in Hope: The Story of the Lost Boys of Sudan, by Christie, R. Gregory
  • Fly High!: The Story of Bessie Coleman, by Borden, Louise & Kroeger, Mary Kay
  • Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans, by Nelson, Kadir
  • Michelle, by Hopkinson, Deborah
  • Portraits of African-American Heroes, by Bolden, Tonya and Pitcairn, Ansel
  • Through My Eyes, by Bridges, Ruby
  • The Kidnapped Prince: The Life of Olaudah Equiano, by Cameron, Ann
  • Buxton: A Black Utopia in the Heartland, by Schwieder, Dorothy, Hraba, Joseph, and Schwieder, Elmer

Middle School (Grades 6-8)

  • The Legend of Buddy Bush, by Moses, Sheila P.
  • Days of Tears: A Novel in Dialogue, by Lester, Julius
  • Maritcha: A Nineteenth-Century American Girl, by Bolden, Tonya
  • Dark Sons, by Grimes, Nikki
  • The Road to Paris, by Grimes, Nikki
  • Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story, by Ben Carson
  • Days of Jubilee: The End of Slavery in the United States, by McKissack, Patricia C. and Frederick L.
  • Locomotion, by Woodson, Jacqueline
  • The Battle of Jericho, by Draper, Sharon
  • The Red Rose Box, by Woods, Brenda
  • The Land, by Taylor, Mildred
  • Miracle's Boys, by Woodson, Jacqueline
  • Let It Shine! Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters, by Francie, Andrea Davis Pinkney, English, Karen
  • Black Hands, White Sails: The Story of African American Whalers, by McKissack, Patricia C. & Frederick L.
  • Now is Your Time: The African American Struggle for Freedom, by Myers, Walter Dean
  • The Words of Martin Luther King, Jr., by Coretta Scott King
  • Forged by Fire, by Draper, Sharon M.
  • Breaking Ground, Breaking Silence: The Story of New York's African Burial Ground, by Hansen, Joyce and McGowan, Gary
  • I See the Rhythm, by Igus, Toyomi
  • The Other Side: Shorter Poems, by Johnson, Angela
  • Toning the Sweep, by Johnson, Angela
  • Rebels Against Slavery: American Slave Revolts, by McKissack, Patricia C. and Frederick L.
  • Soujourner Truth: Ain't I a Woman?, by McKissack, Patricia C. and Frederick L.
  • Justin and the Best Biscuits in the World, by Walter, Mildred Pitts
  • Let the Circle Be Unbroken, by Taylor, Mildred D.
  • Childtimes: A Three-Generation Memoir, by Greenfield, Eloise and Little, Lessie Jones
  • Andrew Young: Young Man With a Mission, by Haskins, James
  • The Way a Door Closes, by Smith, Hope Anita
  • The Skin I'm In, by Flake, Sharon
  • Another Way to Dance, by Southgate, Martha
  • Elijah of Buxton, by Curtis, Christopher Paul
  • Twelve Rounds to Glory: The Story of Muhammad Ali, by Smith Jr., Charles R.
  • Keeping the Night Watch, by Smith, Hope Anita
  • Maizon at Blue Hill, by Woodson, Jacqueline
  • My People, by Hughes, Langston, illustrated by Charles R. Smith, Jr.
  • 1001 Things People Should Know about African American History, by Steward, Jeffrey C.
  • To Be a Slave, by Lester, Julius
  • Chains, by Anderson, Laurie Halse
  • A Friendship for Today, by McKissack, Patricia C.
  • Never Forgotten, by McKissack, Patricia
  • Nightjohn, by Paulsen, Gary
  • Freedom Walkers: The Story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, by Freedman, Russell
  • The Watsons Go to Birmingham, by Curtis, Christopher Paul
  • Numbering all the Bones, by Rinaldi, Ann
  • Powerful Words, by Hudson, Wade

High School (Grades 9-12)

  • Copper Sun, by Draper, Sharon
  • The Magnificent Twelve: Florida's Black Junior Colleges, by Smith, Ph.D., Walter L.
  • Fortune's Bones: The Manumission Requiem, by Nelson, Marilyn
  • Carver: A Life in Poems, by Nelson, Marilyn
  • Malcolm X: By Any Means Necessary, by Myers, Walter Dean
  • Mississippi Challenge, by Walter, Mildred Pitts
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Freedom Movement, by Patters, Lillie
  • We Beat the Street: How a Friendship Led to Success, by Davis, Sampson, Jenkins, George, Hunt, Rameck and Draper, Sharon
  • Fallen Angels, by Myers, Walter Dean
  • Anthony Burns: The Defeat and Triumph of a Fugitive Slave, by Hamilton, Virginia
  • Trouble's Child, by Walter, Mildred Pitts
  • The Magical Adventures of Pretty Pearl, by Hamilton, Virginia
  • Lena Horne, by Haskins, James
  • The Middle Passage: White Ships Black Cargo, by Feelings, Tom
  • This Life, by Poitier, Sidney
  • Don't Explain: A Song of Billie Holiday, by De Veaux, Alexis
  • The Young Landlords, by Myers, Walter Dean
  • James Van Der Zee: The Picture Takin' Man, by Haskins, James
  • Let the Lion Eat Straw, by Southerland, Ellease
  • Cornrows, by Yarborough, Camille
  • Benjamin Banneker, by Patterson, Lillie
  • Barbara Jordan, by Haskins, James
  • Darkness Before Dawn, by Draper, Sharon
  • Coretta Scott King, by Patterson, Lillie
  • I Have a Dream, by King, Martin Luther, Jr.
  • Portia: The Life of Portia Washington Pittman, the Daughter of Booker T. Washington, by Stewart, Ruth Ann
  • The Legend of Africana, by Robinson, Dorothy
  • I Never Had It Made: the Autobiography of Jackie Robinson, as told, by Duckett, Alfred
  • My Chill Wind, by McDonald, Janet
  • Lou in the Limelight, by Hunter, Kristin
  • Movin' Up, by Gordy, Berry
  • Marvin and Tige, by Glass, Frankcina
  • Black Troubador: Langston Hughes, by Rollins, Charlemae
  • Martin Luther King, Jr.: Man of Peace, by Patterson, Lillie
  • Monster, by Myers, Walter Dean
  • The First Part Last, by Johnson, Angela
  • Just Another Hero, by Draper, Sharon M.
  • Remember: The Journey to School Integration, by Morrison, Toni
  • Becoming Billie Holiday, by Weatherford, Carole Boston
  • A Wreath For Emmett Till, by Nelson, Marilyn
  • The Freedom Business, by Nelson, Marilyn
  • Street Love, by Myers, Walter Dean
  • Harlem Hustle, by McDonald, Janet
  • The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing - Traitor to the Nation, by Anderson, M. T.
  • Mare's War, by Davis, Tanita S.
  • The Negro Speaks of Rivers, by Hughes, Langston and Lewis, E. B.
  • Giants: The Parallel lives of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln, by Stauffer, John
  • Autobiography of My Dead Brother, by Myers, Walter Dean
  • The Pact: Three Young Men Make a Promise and Fulfill a Dream, by Davis, Sampson, Jenkins, George, Hunt, Rameck, with Page, Lisa Frazier
  • Black, Blue, and Gray: African Americans in the Civil War, Haskins, Jim
  • Black Boy, Wright, Richard
  • A Raisin in the Sun, Hansberry, Lorraine
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God, Hurston, Zora Neale
  • Mining for Freedom: Black History Meets the California Gold Rush, Roberts, Sylvia Alden