Celebrate Black History Month!

Purple background with aqua paint smear. Text reads: Do you know your Black History Heroes? We're exploring different Black historical figures each day throughout February! Discover their biographies in our nonfiction picture book collection, and celebrate their legacies at home with fun activities. Download our PDF calendar with library catalog links to follow along!

Click on the book covers in our calendar to go to their listings in our library catalog.

Heroes, Books, and Suggested Activities

NameBookActivity
Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine DardenHidden Figures by Margaret Lee Shetterly and
Winifred Conkling, illustrated by Laura Freeman
Honor the women who worked at NASA and got us to the moon by launching a rocket made out of a straw, paper, and tape! https://go.nasa.gov/3qSSZ4X
Ethel L. PayneThe Power of Her Pen
by Lesa Cline-Ransome and John Parra
Channel “the First Lady of the Black Press” by conducting a One Word Interview of someone in your family or neighborhood.
Download the template from School Journalism here:
https://bit.ly/3pqdRQJ
Matthew Henson and
others called to sea
How They Got Over: African Americans and the Call of the Sea
By Eloise Greenfield, Illustrated by Jan Spivey Gilchrist
Experiment with boating science! https://bit.ly/36hVQg6
Or, honor Henson’s discovery of the North Pole with polar exploration activities: https://bit.ly/3almshs
Garrett MorganThe Unstoppable Garrett Morgan
By Joan DiCicco, Illustrated by Ebony Glenn
Play Red Light, Green Light in honor of the father of the modern traffic light today! Check out the game rules, if you’ve forgotten: https://bit.ly/39nMq4r
Also, make sure your fire extinguishers and alarms are up to date – Morgan designed breathing devices for firefighters that lead to the gas mask.
George Washington CarverThe Secret Garden of George Washington Carver
by Gene Baretta, illustrated by Frank Morrison
Honor The Peanut Man and his groundbreaking research of crop rotation and smart farming by trying out one of his many peanut recipes: https://bit.ly/2M7BJdH
Fannie Lou HamerVoice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer
By Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Ekua Holmes
Hamer fought for equal rights for African Americans, especially the right to vote. Are you, like Hamer’s famous quote, “sick and tired of being sick and tired”? Make a protest poster with this guide from the Tate Gallery and get your voice out there: https://bit.ly/2NHUMvf
Charles Henry TurnerBuzzing with Questions by Janice N. Harrington, Illustrated by Theodore Taylor IIITurner investigated how bees and other insects interact. Go outside and follow the paths of ants in Turner’s spirit. Or, go on a bug safari and see what you can find. Don’t forget your pooter! https://bit.ly/3cmClql
Wilma RudolphWilma Unlimited
by Kathleen Krull, illustrated by David Diaz
Take a jog around the neighborhood in Wilma’s honor today! She was the first American woman to win 3 gold medals in one Olympic games. See how long it takes you to run 100 meters in comparison. (She broke the world record with 11 seconds.)
Katherine JohnsonA Computer Called Katherine by Suzanne Slade, illustrated by Veronica Miller JamisonJohnson’s calculations helped launch the 1969 Apollo spacecraft to the moon.
Now NASA is planning the Artemis mission to return. Check out some of these activities to learn about it: https://go.nasa.gov/2NbHsio
Ernie BarnesBetween the Lines by Sandra Neil Wallace, illustrated by Bryan CollierFrom professional football player to acclaimed painter, Barnes had a lot of talents. Get out your paint set and create your own masterpiece. Like Barnes, you could paint a sports scene, or listen to music and paint an album cover. Embrace your inner artist!
Coretta Scott KingCoretta Scott by Ntozake Shange, paintings by Kadir NelsonA social justice activist, Scott King believed in peaceful protest and equal rights. She spent her career mediating and marching.
We particularly love the Coretta Scott King Book Awards here at the library! Check out all of the past winners here: Coretta Scott King Book Awards – All Recipients, 1970-Present | Round Tables (ala.org)
Selma’s TeachersThe Teachers March by Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace, illustrated by Charly PalmerRequest the movie Selma from the catalog and get another view into the civil rights marches: Holdings: Selma (einetwork.net)
Mae JemisonMae Among the Stars by Roda Ahmed and illustrated by Stasia BurringtonTo celebrate Dr. Jemison, make your own sundial here: https://bit.ly/3phxGJ2 and/or check out these Dr. Jemison learning activities from Scholastic: https://bit.ly/377Dte0.
Rosa ParksRosa’s Bus
by Jo S. Kittinger and illustrated by Steven Walker.
Puzzle out Parks’s impact on ending segregation with this printable word search, crossword, and coloring page. https://www.woojr.com/rosa-parks-day-printables/
Frederick DouglassBread for Words by Shana Keller and illustrated by Kayla StarkFor a full packet of great Frederick Douglass activities, check out this PDF from the National Park Service: https://www.nps.gov/frdo/learn/kidsyouth/upload/FRDO_Jr_Ranger_Booklet.pdf
Marian AndersonWhen Marian Sang by Pam Muñoz Ryan and illustrated by Brian SelznickWatch her historic performance at the Lincoln Memorial! https://youtu.be/mAONYTMf2pk
Harriet TubmanBefore She Was Harriet by  Lesa Cline-Ransome and illustrated by James E. RansomeWatch the author read the book: https://youtu.be/k_JZemL5SWI
Carter G. WoodsonCarter Reads the Newspaper
by Deborah Hopkinson and illustrated by Don Tate
The National Park Service has another great packet to download , so you can do puzzles and learn about Carter’s legacy! https://home.nps.gov/…/upload/CAWO-Jr-Ranger-Book.pdf
Lonnie JohnsonWhoosh! Lonnie Johnson’s Super-soaking Stream of Inventions by Chris Barton and illustrated by Don TateWe did the “Power Popper” activity on this sheet at Afterschool STEAM last year, and it was beyond fun. Whoosh-Edu-Extension.pdf (rif.org)
Benjamin BannekerTickTock Banneker’s Clock by Shana Keller and illustrated by David C. GardnerWatch Caleb with Curls give his Benjamin Banneker presentation on Youtube – it’s pretty great! https://youtu.be/vYPenzYVgB0
Ella FitzgeraldElla Fitzgerald: The Tale of a Vocal Virtuosa by Andrea Davis PinkneyTry out: Ella’s Singing Class | National Museum of American History
James Van Der ZeeTake a Picture of Me, James Van Der Zee! by Andrea J. Loney and illustrated by Keith MalletExperiment with lighting, and see if you can take any especially extraordinary portraits with your own camera.
Ann Cole LoweFancy Party Dresses by Deborah Blumenthal and Laura FreemanTry sketching out your own designs at home with paper and pencils – we’d love to see what you create!
Vivien ThomasTiny Stitches: The Life of Medical Pioneer Vivien Thomas by Gwendolyn Hooks and illustrated by Colin BootmanTry playing the game “Operation” at home in remembrance.
Nina SimoneNina: Jazz Legend and Civil-Rights Activist Nina Simone by Alice Brière-HaquetHave a Nina Simone listening party with your family – many of her songs are free to check out on Hoopla.
Dave the PotterDave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave by Laban Carrick Hill and illustrated by Bryan CollierPull out some clay or playdoh and make a pinch pot with instructions from the Met Museum after you read. https://www.metmuseum.org/…/metkids-create/make-a-clay-pot
August WilsonFeed Your Mind: A Story of August Wilson by Jen Bryant
Ona JudgeRunaway: The Daring Escape of Ona Judge by Ray Anthony Shepherd and illustrated by Keith Mallet