Stories on the Civil Rights Movement

February 6, 2018 | Yvonne

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Black History Month celebrates the history and diverse culture of Black communities. An important part of that history is the civil rights movement. Stories can be used to help children develop a better understanding of historical events. The following are a few book recommendations to introduce the civil rights movement to kids, depicting the fight for racial equality through easy-to-follow narration and vibrant illustrations of non-violent protests.

Let the Children March by Monica Clark-Robinson

Let the children march

Let The Children March takes place in 1963 Birmingham, Alabama, when African American children were racially segregated in schools, playgrounds and more. This book tells the story of brave children and youth who participated in the Children’s Crusade and stood up for what is right.

Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down by Andrea Davis Pinkney

Sit in

Four friends who sit down at a lunch counter on February 1, 1960 in Greensboro, North Carolina – despite knowing that they will be refused service because of the colour of their skin. This book illustrates the simple but powerful act of sitting-in, a form of peaceful protest that inspired others to join.

Back of the Bus by Aaron Reynolds

Back of the bus

In this story, we look through the eyes of an African American boy as he watches the historically defining moment when Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat on the bus. It’s a beautiful and moving portrayal of a child’s experience as he witnesses the event unfolding.

March On!: The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World by Christine King Farris

March on

A tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. and how he changed the world. Written by Martin Luther King Jr.’s sister, the book recounts the day her brother gave his famous “I have a dream” speech to the thousands of people who marched on Washington.

Browse the Toronto Public Library's website for more children's books on the civil rights movement.

For more book recommendations in celebration of Black History Month, don’t forget to check out the 2018 Black History Month booklist