As we reflect back on all that has happened this year, it’s clear that so many people are seeing — and honoring — all the work that Black women are doing to effect change. And all the work that Black women have always done. It’s a legacy that’s been handed down for generations, and it’s finally being reflected in the increasing inclusion of Black women at the highest levels of government, not just behind the scenes.
If you’re looking for some fantastic gifts books this holiday to inspire the next generation of engaged women, we wanted to share some incredible new books by Black women about Black women in activism. They’re all wonderful additions to your kids’ bookshelves — and that goes for your sons, too.
– Kate + Liz
All books available from Indiebound, Amazon, your local library, and your local independent bookseller. This article contains affiliate links, and purchases may generate a small commission that helps support our work.
This year marked the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote — but not all women gained that right in 1920. So Finish the Fight! : The Brave and Revolutionary Women Who Fought for the Right to Vote by Veronica Chambers and the staff of the New York Times is an important book for our kids to read so they understand that “women’s votes” didn’t yet mean “all women’s votes.”
Finish the Fight tells the stories of some of the lesser known leaders and activists in American history, particularly from Black, Asian, Latinx, and Native American backgrounds, who also were pivotal in the voting rights movement for women. Perhaps by the end, your kids will know names like Zitkála-Sá and Mabel Ping-Hua Lee, right along with Susan B. Anthony. (Buy from Indiebound and Amazon)
A must-have book for every reader of any age (in fact, it’s included in our 10 Best Gifts for Grandparents this year), we’re so happy about this year’s release of This Is Your Time, by civil rights icon and activist Ruby Bridges, who you surely know was the very first Black child to desegregate her public school in New Orleans back in 1960.
Which really isn’t all that long ago — though it may seem that way to your kids.
The book is written as a letter from Ruby to the reader, and is equal parts moving, educational, and inspiring. I think kids will especially like that it includes photos from the era of Jim Crow, making it a terrific primary source for educating kids on an important turning point in our nation’s history. (Buy through Indiebound or Amazon)
So many children are excited about our new Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris, especially girls of color who are seeing themselves reflected back at the highest levels of government for the first time. We shared the biography Kamala Harris: Rooted in Justice by Nikki Grimes and Laura Freeman earlier this year because it’s such a terrific telling of her life and career for our kids.
For kids who are fascinated by the ideals of justice for all, this is the book to get. That is, if you can find it. As you can imagine, this book has been flying off shelves over the past few months. (Buy from Indiebound and Amazon)
I can’t wait for the January release of We Wait for the Sun by Dovey Johnson Roundtree and Katie McCabe, illustrated by Raissa Figueroa. This non-fiction story is culled from the memory of Black civil rights activist, minister, and attorney Roundtree, who died in 2018. The book is a sweet and fascinating retelling of the author’s midnight blackberry picking tradition with her grandmother, and knowing that it’s a true story will encourage kids to learn more about her. They may even want to turn right to the note at the end of the book, which provides a timeline and brief biography of her incredible life. (Buy from Indiebound or Amazon)
Bonus pick for our teens: After her inspiring, impactful voter registration work and political activism in Georgia and across the country, we had to include a book for children about Stacey Abrams here. Shockingly, we couldn’t find one written for kids just yet (come on, publishers!) but we know that activism-minded teens who are fascinated by our election system will devour Abrams’ own Our Time is Now: Power, Purpose, and the Fight for a Fair America.
Abrams describes it as “a story that is one part danger, one part action, and all true,” and it covers topics like fair voting, civic engagement, the need for voter protections, plus concrete solutions that can help make our system more fair for all.
Buying her book is one of the best ways you can support her work with The New Georgia Project, and it is guaranteed to provide some stellar dinner table conversation with your teens, too. ( Buy from Indiebound or Amazon).