A Black History Month reading list for OU students with children

To celebrate Black History Month we have put together an inspiring list of books for children.

Black History Month is a recognition of the heritage, culture, and achievements of Black British people. 

This year’s theme, ‘Proud to Be’, celebrates the personal stories and diverse legacies of black and brown people in the UK. 

To help students share these stories with their children, we have provided 10 inspiring book recommendations.

  1. 1 The Story of the Windrush by K.N. Chimbiri

    The story before the scandal. A book to celebrate the inspiring legacy of the Windrush pioneers. 

    In June 1948, hundreds of Caribbean men, women and children arrived in London on a ship called the HMT Empire Windrush. Although there were already Black people living in Britain at the time, this event marks the beginning of modern Black Britain. 

    Combining historical fact with voices from the Windrush Generation, this book sensitively tells the inspiring story of the Windrush Generation pioneers for younger readers.

  2. 2 Coming to England by Floella Benjamin

    Floella Benjamin was just a young girl when she, her sister and two brothers arrived in England in 1960 to join their parents, whom they had not seen for fifteen months. They had left the island paradise of Trinidad to make a new home in London - part of a whole generation of West Indians who were encouraged to move to Britain and help rebuild the country after the Second World War.

  3. 3 Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison

    Meet the little leaders. They're brave. They're bold. They changed the world.

    Featuring 40 trailblazing black women in the world's history, this book educates and inspires as it relates true stories of women who broke boundaries and exceeded all expectations. Debut author/illustrator Vashti Harrison pairs captivating text with stunning illustrations as she tells the stories of both iconic and lesser-known female figures of black history - from nurse Mary Seacole, to politician Diane Abbott, mathematician Katherine Johnson and singer Shirley Bassey.

  4. 4 My Hair by Hannah Lee

    My birthday's coming up so soon, I'll need new clothes to wear. But most of all, I need to know, How shall I style my hair? Will it be dreads or a twist out? Braids or a high-top fade? 

    Joyous and vibrant, this captures perfectly the excitement of getting ready for a celebration, as well as showcasing a dazzling array of intricate hairstyles. 

    This is a glorious debut from an exciting new partnership who both emerged from the FAB Prize for undiscovered BAME writers and illustrators. 

    'Lively illustrations in warm, rich colours accompany the rhythmic text... A delightful debut collaboration' BookTrust

  5. 5 Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Put Astronauts on the Moon by Helaine Becker

    Katherine Johnson is the mathematical genius who helped make the historic Apollo 11 moon landings possible and made sure that Apollo 13 returned home safely when the mission was in critical danger.

  6. 6 Antiracist Baby by Ibram X. Kendi

    From the National Book Award-winning author of Stamped from the Beginning and How to Be an Antiracist comes a fresh new board book that empowers parents and children to uproot racism in our society and in ourselves.

  7. 7 Young Gifted and Black: Meet 52 Black Heroes from Past and Present by

    Meet 52 icons of colour from the past and present in this celebration of inspirational achievement - a collection of stories about changemakers to encourage, inspire and empower the next generation of changemakers. 

    Jamia Wilson has carefully curated this range of black icons and the book is stylishly brought together by Andrea Pippins' colourful and celebratory illustrations.

  8. 8 Mae Among the Stars by Roda Ahmed

    When Little Mae was a child, she dreamed of dancing in space. She imagined herself surrounded by billions of stars, floating, gliding, and discovering.

    She wanted to be an astronaut.

    Her mom told her, If you believe it, and work hard for it, anything is possible."

    Little Mae's curiosity, intelligence, and determination, matched with her parents' encouraging words, paved the way for her incredible success at NASA as the first African American woman to travel in space.

  9. 9 Dream on CJ by Chavin Fagan

    Every night CJ dreams of being great, follow CJ on his first adventure and see what he will dream up this time. 

    Dream on CJ is filled with affirming language, positive messages and bright colors.

  10. 10 Hats of Faith by Medeia Cohan-Petrolino

    This book is a beautifully illustrated introduction to the shared custom of head covering. 

    Using accurate terminology and brightly coloured imagery, Hats of Faith helps educate and prepare young children for our culturally diverse modern world, encouraging an early and open dialogue between parents and children.

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Sammi Wright

Sammi is a member of the Students Association staff team.


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