One thing I have learned about homeschoolers is they appreciate a themed-learning experience. Black History Month is just around the corner and I’m sure many of you will be searching resources to expose your children to this February theme. In an effort to marry Charlotte Mason and Black History, I began to look for some titles to fill my book basket. However, if you’re familiar with Miss Mason at all, you know these cannot be any books. They must be living books; a narrative that helps evoke emotion and bring the books to life for the reader! I ran into one issue—I could not find a comprehensive list of living books that specifically focused on African-Americans. Today, I’d like to share a wonderful list of Black History Living Books for your homeschool, by age of reader.
11 Living Books for Black History
Black History Living Books for 6-8 year olds
This story is unique in that it opens with an African American family who are already free. It also displays the hardships of travel in the late 19th Century and the West. The Muldie boys and their father have suffered a long and tiresome journey to reach Kansas. But when this father moves on, the boys must begin their new life on their own.
The Drinking Gourd
A historical fiction of a runaways slave family hiding out in Deacon Fuller’s home while the follow the stars of the Big Dipper north to Canada to escape. My youngest and I are reading this now and it he really likes this story. So much to love about human compassion and freedom.
A non-fiction book that showcases the diversity of the African continent by describing daily life in some of its fifty-three nations.
Black History Living Books for 9-12 year olds
Walking the Road to Freedom
Elijah of Buxton
This was my favorite novel to teach to my middle school students in my classroom days. Elijah, 11, is the first child born free in Canadian settlement of runaway slaves. While he’s a good boy his reputation with the settlers is less than desirable as he’s viewed as a passive or scary manchild. However, a turn in events occurs when Elijah’s friend’s money is stolen from him–the money to buy his family’s freedom that is. Elijah takes it upon himself to hunt down the thief and take a dangerous journey into the States to get the money back. He shows such courage, determination, and strength; but will he get back to Canada safe and sound?
William Willberforce: The Freedom Fighter
An amazing story of how one man, Wilberforce, fought to bring freedom and relief from the horrors of the slave trade. Though his condition were hard, poor, and inhumane it is his faith in Christ and his compassionate heart for others the beings to transform a nation.
Freedom Train: The Story of Harriet Tubman
Sterling begins the story of Harriet Tubman difficult childhood as slave and her eventual dangerous escape North afforded by the Underground Railroad. Reminiscent of the Biblical Moses, she does not abandon her people, even risking her own life, to help lead slaves to freedom via the same Railroad.
Amos Fortune: Free Man
Join Yates as she reveal a heartwarming, tearjerking biographical tale of a man named Amos who becomes enslaved at age 15. For 45 years he works a slave but he manages to demonstrate great character–keeping his dignity, showing his bravery, and dreaming of the sweet taste of freedom. Finally, 45 years later his dream become true. Amos is a free man again.
Black History Living Books for Teens
Mara: Daughter of the Nile
To Kill a Mockingbird
This novel does not need much introduction as it is very popular and considered a classic in American Literature. Allow Harper Lee to give you an up close view in a controversial case as friends, family, and neighbors speculate about an event that took place in her Deep South hometown.
Dr. Ben Carson is one the most well-known neurosurgeons in the world! This biography tells the story of his journey from a inner city kid to the director of pediatric neurosurgery at none other than John Hopkins Hospital. Of course you’ll discover many stories about his boyhood, college life, medical school, and his surgeries–many than made medical history. A wonderful and inspiring story of how one kid manage to beat all the odds stacked against him.
This particular title is in the teens section, however there is a junior book for 9-12 year olds (Gifted Hands, Kids Edition) and there is a DVD movie as well, Gifted Hands. My boys are personal fans of Dr. Ben Carson, having read his book, watched his movie, and watching him work on CNN.
Okay, my fellow Charlotte Mason-ers, I’m off to read some of these awesome living books. If you have any favorites, please tell me in the comments. I’d love to add some new titles to my list.