Celebrating Black History: Books, Graphic Novels, and Movies for Families | Alliance for a Healthier Generation (2024)

Explore our list of books, graphic novels, movies, and TV series that highlight the cultural and societal impact of Black history throughout the decades!

Celebrating Black History: Books, Graphic Novels, and Movies for Families | Alliance for a Healthier Generation (1)

Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially recognized February as Black History Month. The origins of Black History Month can be traced back to the 1920s, when writer and historian Carter G. Woodson established the first-ever Negro History Week, which quickly spread to schools and organizations across the country.

Honoring the spirit of Black history extends well beyond one month every year, and kids of all ages should have an opportunity to learn through the reflections of their predecessors, activists, and artists alike.

We invite you and your loved ones to explore our list of books, graphic novels, movies, and TV series that highlight the cultural and societal impact of Black history throughout the decades!

Reading List

Celebrating Black History: Books, Graphic Novels, and Movies for Families | Alliance for a Healthier Generation (2)

The Stacey Stories: Stacey's Extraordinary Words and Stacey's Remarkable Books

By Stacey Abrams (Author) and Kitt Thomas (Illustrator)

Age Level: 4 - 8 Years

What Experts Say: “The text is well turned, delivering both emotional resonance and compelling, albeit unromanticized, messages about the value of perseverance and the importance of speaking up for what is right. Thomas’ bold, vibrant digital illustrations use spotlights as a motif, subtly foreshadowing young Stacey’s future as a public speaker, and excel at depicting multiple scenes on the same page to create a sense of parallel action.” – Kirkus Reviews on Stacey's Extraordinary Words

Dear Ruby, Hear Our Hearts

By Ruby Bridges (Author) and John Jay Cabuay (Illustrator)

Age Level: 5-10 years

What Experts Say: “Addressing climate change, discrimination, and gun violence, among other issues, children’s letters to Ruby Bridges form the basis of this affirming work. On each page, a young writer shares concerns and moments of bravery, and Bridges answers with encouragement and validation.” - Publishers Weekly

March (Trilogy)

By John Lewis (Author), Andrew Aydin (Author), and Nate Powell (Illustrator)

Age Level: 13-16 years

What Experts Say: “With ‘March,’ Congressman John Lewis takes us behind the scenes of some of the most pivotal moments of the Civil Rights Movement. In graphic novel form, his first-hand account makes these historic events both accessible and relevant to an entire new generation of Americans." - LeVar Burton

Black Panther Comic Book Series: 2016-2018 and 2018-2021

By Ta-Nehisi Coates (Author) and Brian Stelfreeze (Illustrator)

Age Level: 13-18 Years

What Experts Say: “In ‘A Nation Under Our Feet,’ the arc of the first 25 issues of Coates’s 50-issue run, the Wakandan people are done with the hype after new villains forge their emotions into an uprising. But not everyone needs to be hypnotized to see Wakanda in a non-glorious light. By portraying the Wakandan people as unsure whether they believe in what their royalty stands for anymore, Coates led the country to a hybrid of established royalty and democracy. It wouldn’t just be about what the Black Panther wanted, it would be what all of Wakanda thought was best for Wakanda.” - David Betancourt, The Washington Post

Watch List

Celebrating Black History: Books, Graphic Novels, and Movies for Families | Alliance for a Healthier Generation (3)

Hidden Figures

Written by Theodore Melfi and Allison Schroeder, directed by Theodore Melfi (20th Century Studios, 2016)

Rated PG

What Experts Say: “Hidden Figurespays tribute to its subjects by doing the opposite of what many biopics have done in the past—it looks closely at the remarkable person in the context of a community. Directed by Theodore Melfi (St. Vincent) and based on the nonfiction book of the same title by Margot Lee Shetterly, the film celebrates individual mettle, but also the way its characters consistently try to lift others up. They’re phenomenal at what they do, but they’re also generous with their time, their energy, and their patience in a way that feels humane, not saintly.” – Lenika Cruz, The Atlantic

Selma

Written by Paul Webb and directed by Ava DuVernay (Paramount Pictures, Pathé, 20th Century Studios, 2014)

Rated PG-13

What Experts Say: “Directed with passion and conviction by Ava DuVernay and starring a mesmerizing David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King, Jr., Selma relates one of the great American dramas, how events in and around a small Alabama city forced this country to live up to its democratic rhetoric and ensure the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.” – The Los Angeles Times

42

Written and directed by Brian Helgeland (Warner Bros. Pictures, 2013)

Rated PG-13

What Experts Say: “Brian Helgeland's 42 is one of the all-time great sports movies – primarily because it's one of the all-time great sports stories. The saga of Jackie Robinson breaking Major League Baseball's color barrier is burned into American history like a player's autograph on a wooden bat. It's superfluous for Helgeland's opening credits to remind viewers 42 is based on a true story. But that's the closest thing to a mistake he makes in presenting Robinson's tale, in a movie destined for perennial viewings, whenever hope and baseball make a keystone combination.” – The Tampa Bay Times

The Great Soul Food Cook-Off

Directed by Michael Pearlman, hosted by Kardea Brown (Good Egg Entertainment and OWN, 2021)

Rated TV-PG

What Experts Say: “The Great Soul Food Cook-Off is an arc’d cooking competition that celebrates the contributions from Black cooks and Black cooking traditions that have shaped the backbone of American food. Eight professional chefs from across the country battle through challenges that highlight the past and present of Black food in America, but only one competitor will take home the grand prize of $50,000. This new competition series is a celebration of standout soul food chefs with dreams of winning as bold as the flavors on their plates.” – Adrian E. Miller, James Beard Award Winner

Thank you for your commitment to supporting Black history, art, and joy. Share this list to help kids and families celebrate all year!

See More Educational Resources

Blog Posts:

  • Sparking Change: Director Lincoln Mondy Addresses Tobacco’s Harm Through the Lens of Film
  • Celebrating Juneteenth: Children’s Books on Freedom, History, and Joy

See resources from the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Check out the Association for the Study of African American Life and History to learn more about Black History Month.

-By Nicole Blanton and Kohleun Adamson, Managers of Culturally Responsive Communications at Healthier Generation

Celebrating Black History: Books, Graphic Novels, and Movies for Families | Alliance for a Healthier Generation (2024)

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