Sylvan Recommended Reading List: National Black History Month Reading Recommendations

Every February, Black History Month provides children with the opportunity to learn and share in the rich history of African Americans, both at school and at home.


Educators and parents alike know that even with the development of electronic learning technologies, reading still provides the primary gateway into that history, as it does for much of what our children learn.


That’s why Sylvan Learning created a new learning system that blends state-of-the-art instructional technology with our proven proprietary approach to supplemental learning. With SylvanSync™, Sylvan’s certified instructors incorporate the use of an iPad® to create a more engaging educational experience for students and extend the learning of reading, math and other skills into the home and onto mobile devices.


Sylvan Learning located in <City> is deeply dedicated to helping children build their reading skills. In addition to the leading-edge SylvanSync system, Sylvan also offers a range of free resources—including reading lists and online learning aids— aimed at helping children acquire the reading skills they need.


Black History Month provides parents with the perfect opportunity to use reading to bring this important history alive for their child while helping to build their student’s reading skills. Each of the books in our recommended reading list offers an excellent window into black history at the appropriate level for each grade.


Elementary School

Kindergarten: God Bless the Child by Billie Holiday
A Picture Book of Rosa Parks by David A. Adler and Robert Castilla
Grade 1: Big Jabe by Jerdine Nolan
I Dream of Trains by Angela Johnson
Grade 2: I’ve Seen The Promised Land: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther Kind, Jr. by Walter Dean Myers
If a Bus Could Talk: The Story of Rosa Parks by Faith Ringgold
Grade 3:  Ella Fitzgerald: The Tale of a Vocal Virtuosa by Andrea Davis Pinkney
Beautiful Blackbird by Ashley Bryan
Grade 4: When Grandmama Sings by Margaree King Mitchell

Through My Eyes by Ruby Bridges and Margo Lundell

Grade 5: Zora and Me by Victoria Bond and T.R. Simon

A Pride of African Tales by Donna L. Washington

Middle School

Grade 6: Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans by Kadir Nelson

Extraordinary People of the Harlem Renaissance by Stephen P. Hardy

Grade 7:  Caleb’s Wars by David L. Dudley

Promises to Keep: How Jackie Robinson Changed America by Sharon Robinson

Grade 8:  The Black Americans: A History in Their Own Words by Milton Meltzer
Somehow Tenderness Survives: Stories of Southern Africa by Hazel Rockman

High School

Grade 9: The Last Hero: A Life of Henry Aaron by Howard Bryant

The Glory Field by Walter Dean Myers

Grade 10: The Collected Works of Langston Hughes: The Poems by Langston Hughes
Narrative of Sojourner Truth by Sojourner Truth
Grade 11: Giants: The Parallel Lives of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln by

John Stauffer

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Grade 12: A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

Parents with children in grades K-8 also can take advantage of Book Adventure (, a free, online Sylvan Learning reading resource that provides a fun way to motivate children to read. Book Adventure lets children search for books, read them offline, come back to quiz on what they’ve read, and earn prizes for their reading success.

Book Adventure also features Parent’s Place, where parents can monitor their child’s reading progress, track quiz results, approve their child’s prize selection and help them find their next book to read. The site also includes a number of valuable resources, including ideas, informative articles and online tools parents can use to help motivate their child to read.


For additional information and educational resources, visit us on the web at or call 1-800-31-SUCCESS.




About Sylvan Learning

Sylvan Learning is the leading provider of tutoring to students of all ages, grades and skill levels with over 30 years of experience and more than 800 centers located throughout North America. Sylvan’s trained and Sylvan-certified personal instructors provide individualized instruction in reading, writing, mathematics, study skills and test-prep for college entrance and state exams. For more information, call 1-800-31-SUCCESS or visit


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