Our favourite books about Black History for older children (9-12)

Brilliant Black British History

Check out our favourite books about Black History for older children, from 9-12. Exciting, engaging and truly interesting, these books are perfect for curious children.

Also check out our list for 4-8 year olds and our list for teens

 

  • Son of the Circus: A Victorian Story

    Author: E L Norry Illustrator: Alette Straathof (cover art)
    Publisher: Scholastic
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 10+

    Twelve-year-old Ted discovers he has roots in the circus and must join his father’s company for the first time to discover his own talent! Great for history buffs and those looking for historical fiction featuring people of colour.

  • Freedom (1783)

    Author: Catherine Johnson
    Publisher: Scholastic
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    This is a brilliant adventure story that manages to give young readers a really important insight into slavery without being so upsetting that it’s impossible to read: a very fine balance, masterfully achieved.

  • Man Man and the Tree of Memories

    Author: Yaba Badoe Illustrator: Joelle Avelino
    Publisher: Zephyr
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 8+

    Man-man is excited for Carnival, and mistakenly summons the Queen of Revels during the parade. Can she help his mother get better? Vibrant colour illustrations bring this unusual story of family history and different Black cultures to life.

  • Bright Stars of Black British History

    Author: JT Williams Illustrator: Angela Vives
    Publisher: Thames and Hudson
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    Engagingly told life stories of fourteen Black British people and their contributions to the world. 

  • Queer Heroes

    Author: Arabelle Sicardi Illustrator: Sarah Tanat-Jones
    Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions
    Interest age: 6-11
    Reading age: 7+

    This wonderful celebration of a wide range of LGBTQ+ heroes - both famous and less well-known - is a beautiful book and highlights the lives of some truly inspirational people.

  • Coming to England

    Author: Floella Benjamin Illustrator: Michael Frith
    Publisher: Macmillan
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    This moving and insightful memoir from much-loved writer and presenter Floella Benjamin documents her childhood, from her birth in Trinidad in 1949 to her move to Britain in 1960 as part of the Windrush generation.

  • Black and British: A Short, Essential History

    Author: David Olusoga
    Publisher: Macmillan
    Interest age: 9-14
    Reading age: 9+

    David Olusoga’s latest edition of Black and British has been revised and rewritten especially for secondary school children, and explains and illustrates the much-overlooked history of Black peoples in Britain and beyond.

  • Brilliant Black British History

    Author: Atinuke Illustrator: Kingsley Nebechi
    Publisher: Bloomsbury
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 7+

    Encompassing British human history from the very first homo sapiens migrants (who were Black!), up to the present day, this beautiful book is informative, eye-opening and a must-have in a school library.

  • The Lizzie and Belle Mysteries: Drama and Danger

    Author: J T Williams Illustrator: Simone Douglas
    Publisher: Farshore
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 8+

    Can Lizzie and Belle solve an attempted murder in eighteenth-century London? A cracking mystery inspired by real Black historical figures.

  • Queen of Freedom

    Author: Catherine Johnson
    Publisher: Pushkin Press
    Interest age: 9-12
    Reading age: 9+

    Set in Jamaica in the 1720s, this is the incredible true story of Queen Nanny, leader of the Maroons, a community of escaped slaves who have settled high up in the Blue Mountains. 

  • Diver’s Daughter: A Tudor Story

    Author: Patrice Lawrence
    Publisher: Scholastic
    Interest age: 9-12
    Reading age: 9+

    This is a thrilling tale, with the expertly described Tudor world brought to hideous, harsh life with the same verve as Patrice Lawrence’s award winning teen books Indigo Donut and Orangeboy

  • Young, Gifted and Black: Meet 52 Black Heroes from Past and Present

    Author: Jamia Wilson Illustrator: Andrea Pippins
    Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions
    Interest age: 8-11
    Reading age: 8+

    This beautiful and eye-catching hardback celebrates a selection of black icons from history and the present day to inspire all children to discover what they can achieve. 

  • Pirates!

    Author: Celia Rees
    Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's Books
    Interest age: 10+
    Reading age: 11+

    Pirates! traces the adventures of Nancy Kington and Minerva Sharpe as they sail the high seas, often fighting for their lives, in the hope of gaining glory and riches.

  • Journey Back to Freedom: The Olaudah Equiano Story

    Author: Catherine Johnson
    Publisher: Barrington Stoke
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    Olaudah is just 11 years old when he is kidnapped from his lovely family in Essaka, Africa in 1745, sold into brutal slavery and renamed Gustavus. This is the story of how he grew up, serving several masters at sea, becoming an experienced sailor and living all over the world including England’s multicultural capital London, where he eventually returned as a…

  • Walter Tull's Scrapbook

    Author: Michaela Morgan
    Publisher: Frances Lincoln
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    Discover the fascinating true story of footballer and World War I officer Walter Tull in this highly visual scrapbook.

  • The Elemental Detectives

    Author: Patrice Lawrence
    Publisher: Scholastic
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 8-9

    A thrilling adventure, where two Black children battle Elemental spirits to save Georgian London from a sleeping sickness. Inventive and packed with adventure and accessible historical detail.

  • A Nest Of Vipers

    Author: Catherine Johnson
    Publisher: Corgi
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 10+

    We meet Cato Hopkins in Newgate Prison in September 1712, on the morning of the day he is due to be hanged for fraud.

  • Timelines from Black History: Leaders, Legends, Legacies

    Author: Introduction by Mireille Harper Illustrator: Lauren Quinn
    Publisher: DK
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    An essential and fascinating book which follows black history across many centuries to today’s contemporary world.

  • Katherine Johnson: A Life Story

    Author: Leila Rasheed Illustrator: Sarah Papworth
    Publisher: Scholastic
    Interest age: 9-12
    Reading age: 9+

    An accessible, compelling and inspiring biography of Katherine Johnson: a brilliant, black, female mathematician who helped make NASA’s space programme and moon landing possible.