With nearly 26,000 content items on the Education Platform, we have plenty of resources for teaching staff to unlock to use during Black History Month – whether they cover Black history, are written by Black authors or spark a conversation around racism.
Below is a non-exhaustive list of books that are available on the Platform to use in your teaching around the topic:
Explore the resources by theme
Non-fiction and biographies
by Roy Apps and Chris King
Mo Farah is the UK’s most successful distance runner – and double gold-medalist at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Read his story, from his childhood in Somalia up to when he crossed the finish line at London 2012. It takes blood, sweat and tears to get to the top of any sport, and these short, inspirational biographies show just how tough it can be. Focusing on top athletes and sport personalities, each dramatic story brings to life the skill, determination and luck needed to break through into top level competition.
by Sarah Eason
Real-life Stories: Malorie Blackman gives you the story behind this incredible writer – from her struggles as a child facing racism in 1960s London, through her parents’ divorce and her misdiagnosis of Sickle-Cell Anaemia, to the globally renowned author she is today.
Edited by Theresa Perry
The volume brings together a dazzling array of perspectives on Malcolm X to discuss the importance of X as a cultural hero and provide guidelines for teaching Malcolm-related material at elementary, high school and university levels.
by Anita Ganeri
I Have A Dream: Martin Luther King and the Fight for Equal Rights tells the remarkable story of Dr King’s leadership of non-violent efforts to overcome appalling institutionalised racism and prejudice. Presented in a graphic, magazine-style format, the book follows King’s life from his childhood in Atlanta to the March on Washington in 1963 and his assassination in 1968. The book concludes with a look at the legacy of Dr King’s leadership.
by Dan Lyndon-Cohen
The Black History series brings together a wide range of events and experiences from the past to promote knowledge and understanding of black culture today. This book looks at the struggle for freedom and the key events in the build up to the abolition of slavery.
Dan Lydon-Cohen’s full Black History series is also on the Education Platform.
by Paul Warmington
The book provides a critical history of diverse currents in black British intellectual production, from the eighteenth century, through post-war migration and into the ‘post-multicultural’ present, focusing on the sometimes hidden impacts of black thinkers on education and social justice.
Starting conversations about racism
by Karyn Parsons
A beautifully written and deeply moving story about finding and fighting for your place in the world.
by Ibram X. Kendi
Stamped from the Beginning offers compelling new answers to some of the most troubling questions of our time. In forcing us to reconsider our most basic assumptions about racism and also about ourselves, it leads us to a true understanding on which to build a real foundation for change.
by Afua Hirsch
We are a nation in denial about our imperial past and the racism that plagues our present. Brit(ish) is Afua Hirsch’s personal and provocative exploration of how this came to be – and an urgent call for change.
by Linton Kwesi Johnson
A selection of Linton Kwesi Johnson’s best poems over three decades. Ranging from protests against police brutality to eulogies for departed friends and playful celebrations of urban life, Johnson’s use of Jamaican dialect to tackle distinctly British subjects contributed to a revolution in the notion of literary English. This Selected Poems charts the unique literary talent of one of Britain’s most influential poets and social critics.
Search Party is a thought-provoking and deeply autobiographical collection. From the overtly political ‘Go Home’ to the deeply personal ‘Full-time’; the narrative poems that offer vivid and unapologetic snapshots of inner-city life, such as ‘His Mistakes’, ‘Believer’ and the anthemic ‘My City’; to the provocative social commentary in ‘Lazy Dog’ and ‘YOLO’; to the inspiring, idea-driven pieces such as ‘The Power of Collaboration’ and ‘School Blues’, George takes poetry into new territories and to new audiences, offering a different way to talk about the things that matter, to explore his own experience and ideas, and encourage others explore theirs.
by John Agard
Tummy tickling, rib-cracking and even wee-yourself laughs can all be found in the pages of this eggstraordinary collection of poems, riddles, jokes and ballads from the wonderful John Agard.
by Caleb Femi
In Poor, Caleb Femi combines poetry and original photography to explore the trials, tribulations, dreams and joys of young Black boys in twenty-first century Peckham. He contemplates the ways in which they are informed by the built environment of concrete walls and gentrifying neighbourhoods that form their stage, writes a coded, near-mythical history of the personalities and sagas of his South London youth, and pays tribute to the rappers and artists who spoke to their lives.
Explore the resources by year group
We also have a lot of content by year group, which can be found on Penguin Random House’s Lit in Colour book lists:
Years 3 – 4
by Shelina Janmohamed and Ashley Evans
Serena Williams began playing tennis when she was just a child, and is now an Olympic champion who’s won more Grand Slam singles titles than anyone else. Throughout her life she’s battled many things, from life-threatening illnesses and sports injuries to sexism and racism in the tennis world. Now she’s an icon in sport, fashion and activism, an inspiration to every young person who has dared to dream big.
by Jion Sheibani
Sohal Finds a Friend is the first in a new series of books that explores common problems faced by children.
by Malaika Rose Stanley and Sarah Horne
Everyone loves Spike’s baby brother, Ali. He’s so cute even the school bullies want to babysit him. But Spike isn’t so sure. Ali’s poos are bright green and his soft, brown skin looks a little scaly. Yes, there’s definitely something strange about Ali! And when Spike discovers a way to learn the truth, he begins to realise just how different his family really is…
by Stewart Ross and David Roberts
Commemorating the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the Slave Trade Act, this collection of eleven stories follows the lives of slaves of every kind around the world. Join African Queen Jinga as she unites the tribes of Ndongo against the invading Portuguese. Watch John Blanke as he becomes the first black trumpeter to play for the King Henry VIII. Meet Harriet Tubman as she helps escaped slaves flee along the Underground Railroad to freedom.
Years 5 – 6
by Benjamin Zephaniah
Enter the crazy world of rap poet Benjamin Zephaniah!
A reissue of the wonderfully irreverent collection of poetry for young people, touching on anything from vegetables to the Queen and from sewage to the sun. There’s plenty of humour as well as poems on racism, pollution and the murder of a cat.
by Candy Gourlay
Be careful what you wish for . . . Andi is short. And she has lots of wishes. She wishes she could play on the school basketball team, she wishes for her own bedroom, but most of all she wishes that her long lost half brother, Bernardo, could come and live in London, where he belongs. Then Andi’s biggest wish comes true and she’s minutes away from becoming someone’s little sister. As she waits anxiously for Bernardo to arrive from the Philippines, she hopes he’ll turn out to be tall and just as mad as she is about basketball. When he finally arrives, he’s tall all right. But he’s not just tall… he’s a GIANT. In a novel packed with humour and quirkiness, Gourlay explores a touching sibling relationship and the clash of two very different cultures
by Humza Arshad and Henry White
The Little Badman book series, written with comedy writer Henry White, follows 11-year-old Humza Khan, the greatest rapper the town of Eggington has ever known.
by Megan Rix
Eddie’s class are learning about Mrs Rosa Parks, whose act of courage on a bus in 1955 started a whole movement against racism in America. Mrs Parks herself soon visits Eddie’s school, and when the great lady points out a stark reminder of racism in the school’s own playground it’s up to Eddie, her friends, and their new school dog Howly to remind everyone how to stay hopeful and stand up for what is right.
Unheard Voices: An Anthology of Stories and Poems to Commemorate the Bicentenary Anniversary of the Abolition of the Slave Trade
by Malorie Blackman
Malorie Blackman has drawn together some of the finest of today’s writers and poets to contribute to this important anthology. Their short stories and poems sit alongside first-hand accounts of slavery from freed slaves, making a fascinating and absorbing collection that remembers and commemorates one of the most brutal and long-lasting inflictions of misery that human beings have inflicted upon other human beings.
Years 7 – 9
by Malorie Blackman and John Aggs
Callum is a nought – an inferior white citizen in a society controlled by the black Crosses.
Sephy is a Cross – and the daughter of one of the most powerful, ruthless men in the country.
In their hostile, violent world, noughts and Crosses simply don’t mix. But when Sephy and Callum’s childhood friendship grows into love, they’re determined to find a way to be together.
by Nicola Yoon
Yoon’s second novel is told from the perspectives of two characters. On one side is the practical Natasha, who doesn’t have a moment to waste: she and her family are being deported back to Jamaica at 10pm. Meanwhile, dreamer Daniel is on his way to a life-changing interview, having become the focus for his Korean parents since his older brother dropped out of Harvard.
by Christopher Paul Curtis
Bud (like a plant, not short for ‘Buddy’, as he determinedly tells everyone) is a motherless boy on the run. He’s determined to find his father but doesn’t really know where to start. The only clue his late mother left him was a bunch of flyers about Herman E Calloway and his famous jazz band, the Dusky Devastators of the Depression! Bud’s search for his dad is a tough one but just occasionally he hits a note as high as even the Dusky Devastators can play!
Years 10 – 11
by Chinua Achebe
A worldwide bestseller and the first part of Achebe’s African Trilogy, Things Fall Apart is the compelling story of one man’s battle to protect his community against the forces of change
by Emma Dabiri
This book is about why black hair matters and how it can be viewed as a blueprint for decolonisation. Over a series of wry, informed essays, Emma Dabiri takes us from pre-colonial Africa, through the Harlem Renaissance, Black Power and on to today’s Natural Hair Movement, the Cultural Appropriation Wars and beyond. We look everything from hair capitalists like Madam C.J. Walker in the early 1900s to the rise of Shea Moisture today, from women’s solidarity and friendship to ‘black people time’, forgotten African scholars and the dubious provenance of Kim Kardashian’s braids.
by Mary Prince
The History of Mary Prince (1831) was the first narrative of a black woman to be published in Britain. It describes Prince’s sufferings as a slave in Bermuda, Turks Island and Antigua, and her eventual arrival in London with her brutal owner Mr Wood in 1828. Prince escaped from him and sought assistance from the Anti-Slavery Society, where she dictated her remarkable story to Susanna Strickland (later Moodie). A moving and graphic document, The History drew attention to the continuation of slavery in the Caribbean, despite an 1807 Act of Parliament officially ending the slave trade. It inspired two libel actions and ran into three editions in the year of its publication. This powerful rallying cry for emancipation remains an extraordinary testament to Prince’s ill-treatment, suffering and survival.
Years 12 – 13
by CLR James
In 1789 the West Indian colony of San Domingo supplied two-thirds of the overseas trade of France. The entire structure of what was arguably the most profitable colony in the world rested on the labour of half a million slaves. In 1791 the waves of unrest inspired by the French Revolution reached across the Atlantic dividing the loyalties of the white population of the island. The brutally treated slaves of Saint Domingo seized at this confusion and rose up in rebellion against masters. In this classic work, CLR James chronicles the only successful slave revolt in history and provides a critical portrait of their leader, Toussaint L’Ouverture, ‘one of the most remarkable men of a period rich in remarkable men’.
by Hafsa Zayyan
Moving between two continents over a troubled century, We Are All Birds of Uganda is an immensely resonant novel that explores racial tensions, generational divides and what it means to belong.
It is the first work of fiction by Hafsa Zayyan, co-winner of the inaugural #Merky Books New Writers’ Prize, and one of the most exciting young novelists of today.
It’s important to remember that Black History isn’t just for October, and we hope that this resource list can be integrated into classrooms all year round and across the curriculum.