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Recommended K-12 Books for Black History Month and Every Day of the Year

Black History Month may be ending, but the need to continue conversations about race, discrimination and culture is ongoing—especially with children.

Books and stories are useful tools to encourage and facilitate difficult conversations with kids. When we empower kids to find and read diverse books, we all grow, learn and benefit. For children of colour, diverse books reflect and validate their lived experiences. For others, it opens their eyes to worlds and experiences different from their own.

Unfortunately, too few diverse books exist, making the task of finding appropriate reading material a challenge. To support parents and educators, EPL created a new literature guide that reflects the diversity of the Black Canadian cultural experience.

African and Caribbean Canadian (ACC) Books in Colour features more than 300 fiction and non-fiction titles for students from Kindergarten to Grade 12. Developed in partnership with the Sickle Cell Foundation of Alberta, the guide explores a variety of topics, interests and genres to help #diversifyyourbookshelf. A much welcome bonus is all these titles are available for free with your library card.

The guide is divided between fiction and non-fiction titles and organized by grade (Kindergarten to Grade 3, Grades 4 to 6, Grades 7 to 9 and Grades 10 to 12). Each book is categorized based on the themes, genres and subject matter discussed (for example, fantasy books, graphic novels or books featuring a LBGTQ2+ character). A legend at the beginning of the guide includes links to some of our EPL booklists about a particular category.

Importantly, the guide features a range of reading material. There are picture books, ghost stories, biographies and heartwarming stories to read together. There are also books that help frame difficult conversations on topics such as informed consent, systemic violence and immigrant detainment.

These stories, both the serious and the silly, can be shared with all readers. They are best read together, as a classroom or between children and their parents or caregivers. Families may especially enjoy choosing one of these books for their next family book club.

Preview the titles on the project’s Instagram account. Or, jump right in and start looking through the guide.

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