Our favourite books about Black History for younger children (4-8)

Dream to Change the World:The Story of John La Rose

Check out our favourite books about Black History for younger children. Warm, truly interesting and pitched appropriately for the age group, these books are perfect for curious children.

Also check out our list for 9-12 year olds and our list for teens.

  • Granny Came Here on the Empire Windrush

    Author: Patrice Lawrence Illustrator: Camilla Sucre
    Publisher: Nosy Crow
    Interest age: 6-8
    Reading age: 6-8

    Ava must dress up as someone she admires for a school project, but can’t decide who to be, so Granny offers to help. As they search for inspiration in Granny’s trunk of clothes, Ava is intrigued when she finds a small, cardboard suitcase, containing four objects: an empty jar, a pebble, a small blue hat and a pair of delicate lace gloves. Granny shares the p…

  • Little People, Big Dreams: Maya Angelou

    Author: Lisbeth Kaiser Illustrator: Leire Salaberria
    Publisher: Frances Lincoln
    Interest age: 5+
    Reading age: 6+

    This inspiring biography for young readers focusses on writer, speaker and civil rights activist Maya Angelou.

  • John Agard’s Windrush Child

    Author: John Agard Illustrator: Sophie Bass
    Publisher: Walker
    Interest age: 4-6
    Reading age: 4+

    In this bold and vibrant picture book, John Agard’s touching poem Windrush
    Child
    is brought to life for young readers.

  • Mansa Musa: the richest man in history

    Author: Our Story Illustrator: Emanuel Colban
    Publisher: Our Story Media Group Ltd
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 7+

    Find out about the richest man in history – where he lived and how he spent his money! With money going to Camfed with every copy sold, this simple and charming book is a great introduction to African and Islamic history.

  • Rosa Parks - Little People, Big Dreams

    Author: Lisbeth Kaiser Illustrator: Marta Antelo
    Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
    Interest age: 5-12
    Reading age: 7+

    The Little People, Big Dreams series does it again: this book about Rosa Parks is yet another astounding and eye-welling read that will make you cheer on a historical icon.

  • Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History

    Author: Vashti Harrison
    Publisher: Puffin
    Interest age: 6-11
    Reading age: 7+

    This beautiful and profound book chronicles the struggles and achievements of historic and contemporary black women. Not just for girls, this is an inspiring book for any child as it shows how determination, ambition and hard work can bring important change.

  • Grandad Mandela

    Author: Zazi Ziwelene & Zindzi Mandela Illustrator: Sean Qualls
    Publisher: Lincoln Children’s Books
    Interest age: 5-8
    Reading age: 6+

    This insightful and uplifting picture book recounts the life of Nelson Mandela through the eyes of his great-grandchildren, Zazi and Ziwelene, as they ask their grandmother (Mandela’s daughter) a series of questions about him.

  • Ella: Queen of Jazz

    Author: Helen Hancocks
    Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
    Interest age: 7+
    Reading age: 6+

    A focus on early prejudice towards Ella Fitzgerald and her unlikely friendship between Marilyn Monroe. The illustrations' glorious ice-cream colours and bold jazzy shapes ooze retro glamour in this story of two incredible women.

  • Our Story Starts in Africa

    Author: Patrice Lawrence Illustrator: Jeanetta Gonzales
    Publisher: Magic Cat
    Interest age: 6-8

    A perfectly pitched story of Black history that brings it back to the personal for a little girl.

  • Little People, Big Dreams: Muhammad Ali

    Author: Ma Isabel Sánchez Vegara
    Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
    Interest age: 4-7
    Reading age: 6+

    Learn about African-American boxer Muhammad Ali in this accessible picture book biography for young children. This title builds on the inspiring Little People, Big Dreams series, which has expanded to include books about extraordinary men. 

  • Run the Show Like CEO Oprah Winfrey

    Author: Caroline Moss Illustrator: Sinem Erkas
    Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
    Interest age: 6-11
    Reading age: 7+

    Following Oprah from her beginnings as the first black news anchor in Nashville to her first break on TV, this amazing illustrated biography gives us the life of a formidable and deeply inspiring woman. 

  • Africa, Amazing Africa: Country by Country

    Author: Atinuke Illustrator: Mouni Feddag
    Publisher: Walker Books
    Interest age: 6-11
    Reading age: 7+

    A perfect book for young children interested in their cultural heritage or for those with a passion for travel and geography, this would also make a gorgeous gift for anyone interested in Africa.

  • Dream to Change the World: The Story of John La Rose

    Author: Ken Wilson-Max
    Publisher: George Padmore Institute
    Interest age: 5-8
    Reading age: 5+

    This charming and beautiful book for young readers tells the story of John La Rose, the pioneering black activist who set up Britain’s first black publisher and bookshop, New Beacon Books, and was also one of the founders of the George Padmore Institute.

  • Little People, Big Dreams: Josephine Baker

    Author: Isabel Sanchez Vegara Illustrator: Agathe Sorlet
    Publisher: Lincoln Children's Books
    Interest age: 6-11
    Reading age: 7+

    Looking back at the life of Josephine Baker, this book captures a bubbly personality but also shows another side to this public figure, away from the jazz and razzmatazz. As ever, the Little People, Big Dreams series both educates and inspires. 

  • Coming to England

    Author: Floella Benjamin Illustrator: Diane Ewen
    Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
    Interest age: 4-5

    This picture book autobiography explores the early life of Floella Benjamin, celebrated writer, actress and television presenter. It begins in her childhood home of Trinidad and charts her move to England in 1960 as part of the Windrush generation.