February is Black History Month, and we’re celebrating by recommending some great Black History books for girls … or as we like to say at New Moon Girls, Black Herstory books. Of course, EVERY month is a good time to honor the stories and contributions of Black girls and women, so enjoy these picks all year through!

Lifting as We Climb: Black Women’s Battle for the Ballot Box

Book cover image for Lifting as We Climb: Black Women's Battle for the Ballot Box by Evette Dionne

This summer will mark the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote in the United States. You may be familiar with Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Alice Paul, who were famous White suffragists. But they weren’t the only ones working for women’s rights. In fact, sometimes the White suffragists wanted to exclude Black women, leaving their Black sisters to fight for equality on the basis of sex AND race. This book shines light on the side of the suffrage movement that too often remains untold.

The Long Ride

Book cover image for The Long Ride by Marina Budhos

In 1970s Queens, three mixed-race girls are outsiders in the neighborhoods where their parents have settled to give them access to good schools. But as they are about to start seventh grade, they are told they will be part of an experiment to “mix up the black and white kids” in a new, integrated school. One girl transfers to a private school while the other two endure a long bus ride to school each day only to feel like outsiders once again.

Sing a Song: How “Lift Every Voice and Sing” Inspired Generations

Book cover image for Sing a Song: How "Lift Every Voice and Sing" Inspired Generations by Kelly Starling Lyons and Keith Mallett

“Lift every voice and sing. Till earth and heaven ring. Ring with the harmonies of Liberty.”

These are the opening lines of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” a song written by a principal and his brother for students to sing on Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. The song has become known as the Black National Anthem, sung at Civil Rights demonstrations, family gatherings, and college graduations. This gorgeous picture book traces the song’s impact through five generations of Black families.

Ona Judge Outwits the Washingtons: An Enslaved Woman Fights for Freedom

Book cover image for Ona Judge Outwits the Washingtons: An Enslaved Woman Fights for Freedom by Gwendolyn Hooks and Simone Agoussoye

Although the U.S. Declaration of Independence promised freedom and equality for all, the nation’s first president kept dozens of slaves. Ona Judge was one of them — until she made a daring escape from the capital in Philadelphia. She headed north to New Hampshire, where she could live free. But she spent the rest of her life resisting the Washingtons’ attempts to get her back. This illustrated book tells her story.

Charlotte Spies for Justice: A Civil War Survival Story

Book cover image for Charlotte Spies for Justice: A Civil War Survival Story by Nikki Shannon Smith

Twelve-year-old Charlotte lives on a plantation in the midst of the Civil War, where confederates fight to protect slavery. When she overhears the plantation owner plotting against the Confederacy, she’s determined to help. She takes on dangerous spy work to further the cause of freedom and justice for all people.

More Black History Books for Girls

Check out The Jumbie God’s Revenge, the third book in a fantasy series based on Caribbean folklore by Tracey Baptiste. If you haven’t already, make sure to read The Jumbies and Rise of the Jumbies first.

In The Book of Queens by National Geographic Kids, you’ll find Black leaders from around the world, past and present, like Queen of Jazz Ella Fitzgerald and the legendary conquering Queen of Nigeria, Amina.

Lacey Louwagie is an adult writer and editor who got her first editing job with New Moon Girls in 2002. She is currently a freelance writer and editor and stay-at-home parent of 2 little boys. She has been a teen services librarian and coordinates book-related goodies for New Moon Girls. She is the author...

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