Black Lives Matter: Middle Grade Memoirs and Biographies

Looking for some kids' nonfiction by Black authors about Black lives? Try these titles for middle-grade readers (grades 3-6).

Brown girl dreaming

Jacqueline Woodson

jBIOGRAPHY Woodson, Jacqueline
Memoir, Kids, Black Lives Matter

"The author shares her childhood memories and reveals the first sparks that ignited her writing career in free-verse poems about growing up in the North and South"--

This promise of change : one girl's story in the fight for school equality

Jo Ann Allen Boyce

jBIOGRAPHY Boyce, Jo Ann Allen
Black Lives Matter, Music, Kids

"In 1956, one year before federal troops escorted the Little Rock 9 into Central High School, fourteen year old Jo Ann Allen was one of twelve African-American students who broke the color barrier and integrated Clinton High School in Tennessee. At first things went smoothly for the Clinton 12, but then outside agitators interfered, pitting the townspeople against one another. Uneasiness turned into anger, and even the Clinton 12 themselves wondered if the easier thing to do would be to go back to their old school. Jo Ann--clear-eyed, practical, tolerant, and popular among both black and white students--found herself called on as the spokesperson of the group. But what about just being a regular teen? This is the heartbreaking and relatable story of her four months thrust into the national spotlight and as a trailblazer in history. Based on original research and interviews and featuring backmatter with archival materials and notes from the authors on the co-writing process"--

Child of the dream : a memoir of 1963

Sharon Robinson

jBIOGRAPHY Robinson, Sharon
Black Lives Matter, Kids, Memoir

"In January of 1963, Sharon Robinson turned thirteen the night before George Wallace declared on national television 'segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever' in his inauguration for governor of Alabama. That was the start of a year that would become one of the most pivotal years in the history of America. As the daughter of Jackie Robinson, Sharon had incredible access to some of the most important events of the era, including her family hosting several fundraisers for Martin Luther King Jr. at their home in Connecticut, other Civil Rights heroes of the day calling Jackie Robinson for advice and support, and even attending the March on Washington for Freedom and Jobs. But Sharon was also dealing with her own personal problems like going through puberty, being one of the only black children in her wealthy Connecticut neighborhood, and figuring out her own role in the fight for equality. This memoir follows Sharon as she goes through that incredible year of her life"--

Reach for the Skai : how to inspire, empower, and clapback

Skai Jackson

jBIOGRAPHY Jackson, Skai
Black Lives Matter, Memoir, Kids

"Actress and activist Skai Jackson shares her lessons on life and her rise to stardom in this vibrant memoir about self-acceptance, girl empowerment, and the classy clapback"--

Marley Dias gets it done : and so can you!

Marley (Marley Emerson) Dias

j305.48896 Dias
Black Lives Matter, Kids, Memoir

In this accessible "keep-it-real" guide, Marley explores activism, social justice, volunteerism, equity and inclusion, and using social media for good. Drawing from her experience, Marley shows kids how they can galvanize their strengths to make positive changes in their communities, while getting support from parents, teachers, and friends to turn dreams into reality.

Reaching for the Moon : the autobiography of NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson

Katherine G. Johnson

jBIOGRAPHY Johnson, Katherine G.
Black Lives Matter, Kids, Memoir

"As a young girl, Katherine Johnson showed an exceptional aptitude for math. In school she quickly skipped ahead several grades and was soon studying complex equations with the support of a professor who saw great promise in her. But ability and opportunity did not always go hand in hand. As an African American and a girl growing up in an era of brutal racism and sexism, Katherine faced daily challenges. Still, she lived her life with her father's words in mind: "You are no better than anyone else, and nobody else is better than you." In the early 1950s, Katherine was thrilled to join the organization that would become NASA. She worked on many of NASA's biggest projects including the Apollo 11 mission that landed the first men on the moon. Katherine Johnson's story was made famous in the bestselling book and Oscar-nominated film Hidden Figures. Now she tells her own story for the first time, in a lively autobiography that will inspire young readers everywhere"--

Life in motion : an unlikely ballerina

Misty Copeland

jBIOGRAPHY Copeland, Misty
Black Lives Matter, Kids, Memoir

Determination meets dance in this middle grade adaptation of the New York Times bestselling memoir by the first African-American principal dancer in American Ballet Theatre history, Misty Copeland. Life in Motion is a story for all the kids who dare to be different, dream bigger, and want to break stereotypes in whatever they do.

Little leaders : bold women in black history

Vashti Harrison

jBIOGRAPHY 920.996 Harrison
Black Lives Matter, Nonfiction, Kids, Biographies

Based on her popular Instagram posts, debut author/illustrator Vashti Harrison shares the stories of 40 bold African American women who shaped history.

The fierce 44 : black Americans who shook up the world

jBIOGRAPHY 920.996 Fierce
Black Lives Matter, Kids, Biographies, Nonfiction

"A dynamic and hip collective biography that presents 44 of America's greatest movers and shakers from Frederick Douglass to Aretha Franklin to Barack Obama, written by ESPN's and illustrated with dazzling portraits by Rob Ball."

Young, gifted and black : meet 52 black heroes from past and present

Jamia Wilson

jBIOGRAPHY 920.996 Wilson
Black Lives Matter, Kids, Nonfiction, Biographies

This book brings together 52 iconic talents from the past and present and celebrates their inspirational achievements. Meet figureheads, leaders and pioneers such as Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and Rosa Parks, as well as cultural trailblazers and sporting heroes, including Stevie Wonder, Oprah Winfrey and Serena Williams.

The women who caught the babies : a story of African American midwives

Eloise Greenfield

j811 Greenfield
Black Lives Matter, Nonfiction, Kids

Through historical information, poems, illustrations, and photographs, the author shows the ways in which African American midwives have helped families over the course of hundreds of years.