Black History is American history and the Library has shelves packed with interesting history books and biographies for families to delve into. Here are four great nonfiction picture books that tells the story of people worth knowing that may not be on your radar.
Carter Reads the Newspaper by Deborah Hopkinson
Carter G. Woodson became the only child of enslaved parents to go to Harvard University as a student. While there, a professor told him “Black people had no history.” Woodson disagreed so strongly that in 1926 he established Negro History Week, which later became Black History Month. This picture book biography is about a man who made history by documenting history.
Saving the Day: Garrett Morgan’s Life-Changing Invention of the Traffic Signal by Karyn Parsons
Born 1877, Garrett Morgan was different enough from his siblings to be sent away as a child to the city in hopes it would afford him new opportunities. His tinkering and thinking led to safety of many Americans- first with his invention of a three-position traffic signal and then a smoke hood.
Moving Forward: From Space-age Rides to Civil Rights Sit-ins with Airman Alton Yates by Chris Barton
Someone has to be the first to test to see if something is safe- to get hurt so that others will not later. Alton Yates served in the Air Force in the 1950s when the space travel program was being developed. Yates volunteered to be part of these tests. Thanks to Yates and others in the program, seat belts and other safety precautions were created and enhanced. But, this is only part of his contributions to the United States.
One Step Further: My Story of Math, the Moon, and a Lifelong Mission by Katherine Johnson
Katherine Johnson may now be known to many adults who watched the movie Hidden Figures. Here in this picture book biography, is the story of NASA’s human “computer” who helped launch the nation’s first voyages into space. Johnson’s family struggles in a race divided world are clearly depicted in the recollections of Johnson and her two daughters.