A Middle School Book List for Black History Month and Every Month

Posted by Lowell School on 2/25/16 1:19 PM

In honor of Black History Month 2015, Lowell's Primary School librarians created a display of books organized by topic for Primary School children.  It was so popular, our Middle School librarian, Melissa Hill, created this list for older kids. 

These book recommendations, based on the school's collection, are just one of the ways Lowell librarians work to  provide quality, multicultural literature that allows students of all ages to experience other cultures AND see themselves reflected in the stories they read—every day, not just during the month of February.

For more recommendations for upper elementary and middle school readers, Melissa recommends exploring The Brown Bookshelf (http://thebrownbookshelf.com), which highlights books with African American characters. The site includes a section specifically for teen readers.

We are always looking to expand Lowell's collection—please add your suggestions below in the comment section!


All American Boys, 2015 

by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

All the Right Stuff, 2012
by Walter Dean Myers

The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond, 2014
by Brenda Woods

The Boy in the Black Suit, 2015
by Jason Reynolds

Camo Girl, 2011
by Kekla Magoon,

The Crossover, 2015
by Kwame Alexander

Darius & Twig, 2013
by Walter Dean Myers

The First Part Last, 2009
by Angela Johnson

Ghetto Cowboy, 2013
by G. Neri

Gone Crazy in Alabama, 2015
by Rita Williams­Garcia

The Great Greene Heist, 2015
by Varian Johnson

To Catch a Cheat, 2016
by Varian Johnson

Hoodoo, 2015
by Ronald L. Smith

The Madman of Piney Woods, 2014
by Christopher Paul Curtis

The Perfect Place, 2014
by Teresa E. Harris

Planet Middle School, 2011
by Nikki Grimes

This Side of Home, 2015
by Renee Watson

The Skin I’m In, 2007
by Sharon Flake

Stella by Starlight, 2015
by Sharon M Draper

When I Was the Greatest, 2014
by Jason Reynolds

A Wish After Midnight, 2010
by Zetta Elliott

X, 2015
by Sha
Ilyasah Shabazz and Kekla Magoon

Zora and Me, 2010
by Victoria Bond and T. R. Simon



African American Poetry, 2012
by Arnold Rampersand and Marcellus Blount (editors), and Karen Barbour (illustrator)

Best Shot in the West: The Adventures of Nat Love, 2012
by Pat McKissack, Fredrick McKissack, and Randy DuBurke (Illustrator)

Black Indians: A Hidden Heritage, 2012
by William Loren Katz

Breakthrough: How Three People Saved “Blue Babies” and Changed Medicine Forever, 2015
by Jim Murphy

Brown Girl Dreaming, 2014
by Jacqueline Woodson

Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice, 2009
by Phillip M. Hoose

Courage Has No Color, The True Story of the Triple Nickles: America's First Black Paratroopers, 2013
by Tanya Lee Stone

Discovering Black America: From the Age of Exploration to the Twenty­First Century, 2012
by Linda Tarrant­Reid

Double Victory: How African American Women Broke Race and Gender Barriers to Help Win World War II, 2013
by Cheryl Mullenbach and Sarah Olson

Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina & New Orleans, 2015
by Jim Brown

Freedom Summer: The 1964 Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi, 2014
by Susan Rubin Goldman

The Girl from the Tar Paper School: Barbara Rose Johns and the Advent of the Civil Rights Movement, 2014
by Teri Kanefield

Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men Who Changed America, 2012
by Andrea Davis Pinkney (author) and Brian Pinkney (illustrator)

Little Rock Girl 1957: How a Photograph Changed the Fight for Integration, 2012
by Shelley Tougas

March: Book One, 2013
by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin (authors), and Nate Powell (illustrator)

March: Book Two, 2015
by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell

The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights, 2014
by Steve Sheinkin

Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom: My Story of the Selma Voting Rights March, 2015
by Lynda Blackmon Lowery, Elspeth Leacock, Susan Washburn Buckley, and PJ Loughran

Voices from the March on Washington, 2014
by Patrick Lewis and George Ella Lyon

We've Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children's March, 2011
by Cynthia Levinson

What Color is My World?: The Lost History of African American Inventors, 2013
by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Raymond Obstfeld (authors) and Ben Boos and A.G. Ford (illustrators)

Zora!: The Life of Zora Neal Hurston, 2012
by Judith Bloom Fradin, and Dennis B Fradin


More on the Need for Diverse Books

Rudine Sims Bishop first spoke of the importance of having multicultural literature that offers children “windows and mirrors” in her essay Shadow and Substance: Afro-American Experience in Contemporary Children’s Literature (NCTE 1982).

Bishop’s book and the ongoing need for books that reflect the diversity of our global society are discussed further in this article by the review editors from School Library Journal“Windows & Mirrors: Top recent titles that reflect the multicultural experience“ (May 2014). You might also be interested to follow the discussion #WeNeedDiverseBooks on social media.

Looking for a school for your child?

Lowell School is an independent school in the Colonial Village neighborhood of Washington, DC, that offers Pre-Primary, Primary, and Middle School programs. It offers a rigorous and hands-on curriculum that nurtures each child’s natural curiosity and desire to learn, and supports the development of individual voice and self-reliance. For more information, please call 202-577-2000, email admissions@lowellschool.org, or follow Lowell on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

Topics: Reading and Books, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

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Written by Lowell School