Black History Month often focuses on learning about great Black heroes of American history, their struggles, and contributions. But learning history is complicated and requires context, which young children may not be ready for. So, if your child is too young for history this month, I’ve put together a list of great picture books that depict Black children and families exploring the great outdoors.
I’ve learned over the last year that, all too often, Black children are most commonly found in books that are set in cities. This creates a false idea that Black children don’t go outside or explore nature. When Black children don’t see themselves represented in books about exploring nature or living outside cities, and when white children only see Black characters as living in cities, it reinforces the myth that certain people belong in specific spaces. One of the important things we can do with young children is to break down stereotypes and dispel myths that separate us as humans.
This book list is offered as a fun way to bring more stories with Black children into your home. I’ve included a link to find them on Amazon, but be sure to check your local library and local book stores for these great picture books.
- The Hike by Alison Farrell
- Over and Under the Pond by Kate Messner, illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal
- Grand Canyon by Jason Chin
- Hiking Day by Anne Rockwell, illustrated by Lizzy Rockwell
- Joshua by the Sea by Angela Johnson, illustrated by Rhonda Mitchell
- Lola Plants a Garden by Anna McQuinn, illustrated by Rosalind Beard Shaw (note: This book also comes in a Spanish language version.)
- Goodbye Autumn, Hello Winter by Kenard Pak (This is actually part of a series, a book for each change in season.)
- Rainbow Stew by Cathryn Falwell
Have you read any of these books? Did your kids enjoy them? Let me know in the comments!
About the Author
Laura Sowdon, OTR/L is an occupational therapist, writer, speaker, educator and creator of the Five Senses Literature Lessons homeschool curriculum. She has worked as an occupational therapist with children in public and private schools, as well as private practice. Laura has taught and managed homeschool co-ops as well as homeschooling her own three children. Laura is dedicated to the idea of educating children at a pace that aligns with brain and physical development milestones and respects neurodiversity in all its forms.