Books for

YOUNG Black  readers

Black children need quality texts that are diverse in content and rich in vocabulary which are “just right” for them. Immerse your reader in books that depict black characters and self-inclusive cultural content to help nurture the text-to-self connection that all good readers ought to develop. The following is a list of books my young readers have loved over the years. Use the chart to help identify books that are at the perfect reading level for your reader. You want your reader to enjoy the process of reading, so if he or she struggles with more than 3 words per 100 words (or about 2 words per page depending on the text) go down a level or two. Old school parents believed in the sink or swim approach to reading. But we know through extensive research across the world, that it is healthier to reinforce joy in reading. Help your reader love reading and you have a reader for life!

*Do NOT expect these reading levels to correlate to each other. They don’t. Also, I needed to use my professional judgment to “guess” reading levels were none (or blatantly misleading levels) were found.

Book Title AGE       Fountas

& Pinell    

 

DRA            

Lexile
Ellray Jakes (series) 6 – 10 J-P 20-38 451-770
The Color of us 4 – 8 M 18 570
Dyamonde Daniel (series) 7 – 9 M 38 630
Alfie’s Great Escape 4 – 7 J 18 480
Little Rhino 6 – 8 K 15-20 540
Skateboard Party 8 – 10 O 30-40 740
Nikki & Deja: Substitute Trouble 6 – 9 N 30 670
Clayton Byrd Goes Underground 8 – 10 P 30-40 740-770
P.S. Be Eleven 8 – 10 O 30-40 770
Gone Crazy in Alabama 8 – 10 P 50 740
Message in the Sky 6 – 9 M 20-28 610
Luke on the Loose 6 – 7 I 20-28 360
Little Robot 6 – 7 I 20-28 GN170
In the Land of Words 4 – 8 M 28 551-650
Changing You 6 – 9 K 20 501-550
The Pot that Juan Built 8 – 11 Y-Z 50 1000
Honey I Love 6 – 9 L 24 np
Phillis’ Big Test 8 – 9 S-T 40 930
Astrophysicist and Space

Advocate Neil Degrasse Tyson

7 – 11 R 40 780
The Girl Who Buried Her Dreams in a Can 6 – 8 O 34 770
Moses: When Harriet Tubman

Led Her People to Freedom

6 – 8 N 30 660
It Jes’ Happened: When Bill

Taylor Started to Draw

8 – 10 S 40 830
Howard Thurman’s Great Hope 8 – 9 S 40 840
Harriet Tubman and

My Grandmother’s Quilts

6 – 9 N 30 651-730
Piano Starts Here: The Young

Art Tatum

4 – 8 O 34 750
Major Taylor: Champion Cyclist 9 – 11 S-T 40-50 1020
Sojourna Truth’s

Step-Stomp Stride

5 – 8 M 28 650
National Geographic Kids:

George Washington Carver

7 – 10 P 38 731-770
Catching the Moon: The Story

of Young Girl’s Baseball Dream

8 – 9 M 28-30 640
In Her Hands: The Story of

Sculptor Agusta Savage

8 – 11 M 28-40 630
Charlie Parker Played Be Bop 6 – 7 I 16 260
I am Jackie Robinson 5 – 8 M 24-28 610
Jackie Robinson:

Baseball Legend

4 – 8 J 18 490
Jackie Robinson:

American Hero

6 – 8 F-J 10-18 840
Promises to Keep: How Jackie

Robinson Changed America

9 – 11 W-X 40-50 1030
Paul Robeson 5 – 8 F-M 20-24 600
The Closer 8 – 10 S 40 810
Philip Reid Saves the

Statue of Freedom

8 – 11 W-X 60 920–1070
Bad News for Outlaws 8 – 11 S 40 860
A Splash of Red 5 – 7 M 28 610
Leotyne Price:

Voice of a Century

5 – 9 K 20 501-550
Pele King of Soccer 5 – 8 L 24-28 551-650
Young Pele:

Soccer’s First Star

7 – 9 O 30-34 651-770
Gordon Parks 5 – 7 L 20-24 840
Gordon Parks: No Excuses 8 – 9 O 34-38 770
Rosa Parks: My Story 8 – 10 U-V 50 970
Satchel Paige: Don’t Look Back 8 – 9 R 40 840
Jesse Owens: Legendary

Track Star

6 – 9 M 24-28 590
Barack Obama 6 – 7 L 20-24 580
Michelle Obama 7 – 10 T 40 880
Barack Obama:

Out of Many, One

5 – 8 L 20-24 580
Barack Obama:

Son of …Hope

6 – 10 M 28 630
Garrett Morgan 5 – 7 M 24-28 570
Magic Trash 6 – 8 L 20-24 560
I and I Bob Marley 8 – 11 Q-R 40 800
Brittney Griner 7 – 11 O-P 34-38 760
Martin de Porres 5 – 7 M 28 640
Nelson Mandela 7 – 9 N 30 680
National Geographic Kids:

Sonia Sotomayor

6 – 9 N 28-30 670
Nelson Mandela 8 – 12 O-P 34-38 770
Who Was Nelson Mandela? 8 – 12 S 40 850
Nelson Mandela 9 – 11 U-V 50 960
Nelson Mandela 9 – 14 S 40 860
The Amazing Age of

John Roy Lynch

7 – 10 U-V 50 920
A Nation’s Hope 6 – 8 L 24 np
John Lewis in the Lead 8 – 10 U-V 50 950
Jos̩! Born to Dance 5 Р8 M 28-30 720
When the Beat was Born:

DJ Kool Herc…HipHop

7 – 9 N 30 651-690
Martin Luther King Jr. 8 – 9 Y-Z 70+ 1080
As Good as Anybody 7 – 9 N 24-30 680
Marching with Martin 5 – 8 K-M 20-28 720
Coretta Scott 4 – 8 K-M 24-28 720
Martin Luther King Jr.:

Civil Rights Leader

4 – 8 K-M 24-28 500
National Geographic Kids:

Martin Luther King, Jr.

7 – 8 M 28 630
Mahalia Jackson: Walking with

Kings and Queens

4 – 8 F-J 10-18 500
Zora Hurston and the

Chinaberry Tree

7 – 9 N 24-30 540
Art from Her Heart: Folk Artist

Clementine Hunter

6 – 8 T 40 870
Poet…George Moses Horton 8 – 10 N-Q 30-40 730
I, Matthew Henson 6 – 11 Y-Z 70+ 1070
Jimi: Sounds Like a Rainbow 6 – 9 U-V 50 900
Skit-Scat Raggedy Cat:

Ella Fitzgerald

8 – 11 S 40 820
Ella Fitzgerald: The Tale of a

Vocal Virtuosa

6 – 10 S 40 700
Duke Ellington 5 – 9 S 40 800
Frederick Douglass: The Lion

Who Wrote History

4 – 8 F-J 10-18 450-540
Anthony Davis 7 – 11 T-U 40 780
Mo’ne Davis: Remember

My Name

9 – 13 T 40 890
George Washington Carver 5 – 8 L-M 20-28 520
Ruby Bridges Goes To

School: My True Story

4 – 7 F-J 10-18 470
Hank Aaron: Brave in

Every Way

4 – 7 S 40 850
Queen of the Track:

Alice Coachman …Champion

8 – 10 W-X 50 790
I am Cleopatra 8 – 10 Y-Z 70+ 1030
Marian Anderson: Amazing

Opera Singer

5 – 8 K-L 20-24 570
Marian Anderson:

A Voice Uplifted

10- 14 Z+ 70+ 1210
When Marian Sang 7 – 10 T-U 40 780
Twelve Rounds to Glory: The

Story of Muhammad Ali

10 – 15 Z+ 70+ 1230
Muhammad Ali: The

People’s Champion

5 – 8 T-U 40 770
The Champ: The Story of

Muhammad Ali

5 – 8 T-U 40 760
Alvin Ailey 5 – 9 T 30 880
Ira’s Shakespeare Dream 8 – 10 T-U 40 780
Henry Aaron’s Dream 8 – 12 W-X 60 920
I Love My Hair 5 – 7 S 40 840
Black is Brown is Tan 4 – 8 K 20-24 540
Black Pioneers of

Science and Invention

9 – 11 Y-Z 70+ 1230
Shades of Black: A Celebration

of Our Children

2 – 3 A-F 6-10 np
Please, Baby Please 2 – 5 C-E 6-10 np
The Snowy Day 2 – 8 C-J 10-18 500
I like myself 5 – 9 L 24-28 230
I Got the Rhythm 4- 6 J 18 170
I’m a Pretty Little Black Girl 3 – 6 F 10 300
Chocolate Me! 3 – 6 H 14 330
Hair Like Mine 3 – 6 H 14 330
Just Because I Am 4 – 8 H 20 330
Mixed Me! 3 – 7 H 20 330
Black Business 10 – 15 Z+ 70+ 1230
One Love 2 – 5 F 10 NP
I’m Awesome Because 2 – 5 F 10 NP
Amazing Grace 7 – 10 N 30 680
The Tar Beach 5 – 8 L 24-28 790
The People Could Fly 8 – 10 P-S 38-40 660
Henry’s Freedom Box: A True

Story …Underground Railroad

7 – 9 J-N 24-30 490
One Crazy Summer 8 – 11 P-S 38-40 750L
Whistle for Willie 3 – 5 J 18 490L
Precious and the Boo Hag 6 – 8 L-M 24-28 640L
Last Stop on Market Street 3 – 5 H-J 14-18 610
Daddy Calls Me Man 2 – 5 A-F 1-10 np
Full Full Full of Love 2 – 5 F 10 np
Bitty Bop Barbershop 4 – 7 J 18 550
We Had a Picnic This

Sunday Past

4 – 8 L-M 20-28 570
Visiting Day 5 – 7 J-K 18-20 520
Pecan Pie Baby 5 – 8 M 28 560