When I set out looking for books for my toddler to learn during Black History Month in February, I didn’t realize how hard it would be! I could find several books featuring Black characters and Black affirmation type stories, but I wanted history in a reading level appropriate board book. Which apparently, at the toddlerhood stage, is a difficult and advanced topic, hence why it was so hard to find something! I did find the following three books which I’m very happy with that I purchased through my local bookstore.
The My First collection is a subset of the Little People, Big Dreams book collection. It’s a wonderful and huge collection of books featuring different historical figures. Most of the collection is targeted for 4-8 age range, but the My First series are more for 2-4 year olds and in board book format. Just what I was looking for! Other Black figures featured in the My First series include Maya Angelou, Muhammad Ali, Rosa Parks, and Wilma Rudolph.
Harriet is a cute short story that tells the story of how she dreamed of being free and risked her life to help free others. A couple things that are interesting about this book: 1. It never directly mentions slavery or enslaved people, just dreaming of and the work to be free. 2. It ends with an image of a Harriet Tubman $20 bill, which as of this post has not happened yet. Still, it’s a great story that will make it to our nighttime reading rotation. I’m also interested in some of the other books in this series!
The Story of Martin Luther King Jr.
I think this book was a rare and wonderful find. It doesn’t seem like a part of a series, and I chose this one over other toddler-aged books about Dr. King because of the reviews. I’m glad I did because I love it! It’s probably my favorite of the 3 books I got. The story is simple yet descriptive. It talks about how King experienced segregation as a child and somewhat about how he changed that when he grew up. It talks about his speech then all of a sudden, his dream came true. I suppose the children’s book didn’t want to get into the protests, arrests, and violence of the movement. But I do like how it mentions the segregation made young King angry, which I think is a great developmentally appropriate part of the story.
The illustrations are beautiful! They have this lovely watercolor look to them and are very well-done. I highly recommend this book for your toddler!
Dream Big, Little One
This book mentions 18 different Black women in American history. Also part of the collection are Follow Your Dreams, Little One that features Black men, and Think Big, Little One features women of multiple different races. The 3 book series is part of a larger Little Leaders series for older children.
I like it and don’t like it for the same reason. Each person is introduced in only one sentence, which sometimes isn’t very descriptive of why that person is important. Perhaps the other books for older children have more than one sentence about each person. It is great because it exposes my toddler to a variety of names and shows her many Black women that have done great things. I also like that the words have a little bit more of a rhyme type cadence, unlike the other two books. The illustrations are nice, and it’s overall a sweet book to add to our collection.
I hope you find this book review helpful! I am happy with all 3 books purchased, and am excited to add these stories of Black history to my toddler’s collection. Have you found any other books you like? Comment below!