12 Historical Fiction Chapter Books About African American History

Historical Fiction Chapter Books about African American History

February is Black History Month. As a white woman, I find myself drawn to learn as much as possible. By nature {you know, being white and all}, I have zero knowledge of what it feels like to be black or to have ancestors who endured the trials and hardships I can only read about. I love using books to dive into history. Empathy and understanding tend to strengthen when reading a story based on a person’s life, rather than just reading facts about that person. The fact books are great and needed, but these stories make those facts come to life in a totally different way.

You can see all of the books I am sharing about here on Amazon.

This is in no way an exhaustive list and I have not read all of these yet, but this is my current book list for this year! I didn’t want to wait until I had read all of them before I shared! You can keep up with me on goodreads here, where I share what I am currently reading, want to read, and the books I have finished. You will see all of these somewhere on those lists.

I am listing these books in chronological order, so you can see how the events in history fit together, in case you aren’t a history buff. I have also linked to great websites and lesson plans I have found to help you get to know each book.

Chains {1776-1777}

Chains 1

Chains is the first book in a series of three books focusing on the time of the Revolutionary War. You can read more about this books series by Laurie Halse Anderson here on the Seeds of America Trilogy website. I am reading Chains with my 7th grader right now, I have also pre-read the book myself and loved it. Chains is an incredible book, and I can’t wait to read the next 2 in the series.

The next books in the series…

Forge 2   Ashes

Elijah of Buxton {1860s}

Elijah of Buxton

This one is on my list to read, I haven’t gotten to it yet.

Eleven-year-old Elijah is the first child born into freedom in Buxton, Canada, a settlement of runaway slaves just over the border from Detroit. Read more here on the Scholastic website where you can also find lesson plans.

Crow {1898}

Crow

I LOVED this book. I recently finished it and will be reading it with my son next year {I think} for 8th grade. This book is set in my home state {NC} and presents the history of the Wilmington Race Riots in 1898. Wilmington is not that far from me, yet I had never even heard of this piece of history. You can find lesson plans, photos and MUCH more here on Barbara Wright’s website for her book, Crow.

The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had {1917}

The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had

Another book on my to-read list is The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had. Twelve-year-old Dit, is a white boy who is growing up in a small Alabama town in 1917. He befriends the daughter of the new postmaster, who is black. The racism of their community creates difficulties for them. You can find a curriculum guide here on the publisher’s website. Scroll down to the Novels section and click on “See older guides” and you’ll see one for this book!

Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry {1930s}

Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry

Set in Mississippi at the height of the Great Depression, this is the story of one family’s struggle to maintain their integrity, pride, and independence in the face of racism and social injustice. I will be reading this one soon. Here is a discussion guide from Scholastic.

Stella By Starlight {1932}

Stella By Starlight

I read this book a few weeks ago and couldn’t put it down. Set during the Great Depression, Stella Mills and her brother Jojo witness the Ku Klux Klan burning a cross late one starry night, setting off a chain reaction that leaves their entire community changed. Read more here on author Sharon Draper’s website where you’ll also find lesson plans, videos and more.

Bud Not Buddy and The Mighty Miss Malone {1936}

Bud Not Buddy  The Mighty Miss Malone

Bud, Not Buddy tells the story of a young boy who lives in Michigan during the Great Depression. You can read more here on the Scholastic website and get more ideas for teaching. The main character in The Mighty Miss Malone, Deza Malone, show up first in Bud, Not Buddy.

I recently read The Mighty Miss Malone and loved it. Deza Malone is a spunky girl who brings this story to life. I learned a lot about life during the Great Depression and plan to read it with my kids soon.

Betty Before X {1945}

Betty Before X

Betty Before X focuses on Betty Shabazz (born Betty Dean Sanders) during her middle school years in Detroit, a decade before she met her future husband, Malcolm X. It is a fictionalized retelling of Betty Shabazz’s middle school years as told by her daughter, Ilyasah Shabazz and co-author Renée Watson. I have not read this one yet, but plan to soon!

Midnight Without a Moon {1955}

Midnight Without a Moon

Set in Mississippi during the summer of 1955, Rose Lee Carter can’t wait to move north. But for now, she’s living with her sharecropper grandparents on a white man’s cotton plantation. There is a sequel to this book also, A Sky Full of Stars. I hope to read both soon. See more about both books here on author Linda Williams Jackson’s website.

The Lions of Little Rock {1958}

The Lions of Little Rock

I just learned of this book and it is on my soon-to-read list. The Lions of Little Rock takes place the year after the milestone events of 1957 in which nine African American students, known as the Little Rock Nine, integrated Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. You can find a curriculum guide here on the publisher’s website. Scroll down to the Novels section.

The Watsons Go to Birmingham {1963}

The Watsons Go To Birmingham

The Watsons Go to Birmingham takes place in 1963, during the Civil Rights Movement. I actually have only seen the movie, but plan to read the book soon. Find a comprehensive book guide here on Scholastic!

Download our free Black History Month Calendar Connections here!

Black History Calendar Connections Printables

Black History Month Chapter Books



Black History ~ Calendar Connections

Black History Calendar Connections Printables

 


We have another new set of Calendar Connections cards! My wonderful friend Shannon took a break but she is back with a new set and plans for more in the near futurehas been hard at work behind the scenes! She writes the Calendar Connections cards for us, I design and host them.

We chose Black History for our next theme! Black History Month was a requested theme by many last year and Shannon has worked hard on this set. This new set tells a bit about the history of Black History Month, and features 27 different African-Americans who have contributed to our country in great ways. This set is featured for February, so you will notice there are only 29 cards, instead of the normal 31.

Black History Calendar Connections

The facts are written at a 3-6th grade level but you will be able to water them down for younger kids. It’s a great way to involve your entire family in exploring a particular theme.

NOTE: these do NOT print front to back, only the premium design does. These are the original cards, which we still offer for free. You can see an example of the bundled set here!


The cards fit my particular pocket chart calendar. I put the image cards in the pockets backwards and flip each day We either keep the information cards in a folder or behind the image card and pull it out on the correct day to read it. Calendar

You could use a poster foam board and velcro to easily create your own set up. You could also use a standard pocket chart.


I am now creating smaller sets to go along with the small pocket charts found in the Target $1 section. Be sure to visit this post for a tutorial of how to sew your $1 pocket chart into a calendar!

There is also a sheet included to be used in a Calendar Notebook if you are using those too!

Calendar Connections Small Black History

I printed my numbers on cardstock and laminated them before cutting them apart.

You can download these for FREE here!


You can use most of our Calendar Connections cards for any month! We now have 15 sets to choose from, and we will still be adding more too!

Calendar Connections Set 1

We are taking suggestions for upcoming themes.  Leave suggestions in the comments!