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Celebrate Black History Month with our reading list for young leaders

Ten years ago, President Obama launched the My Brother’s Keeper initiative, calling on all Americans to take action on behalf of our nation’s boys and young men of color. Today, as part of the Obama Foundation, the My Brother's Keeper Alliance leads a cross-sector national call to action focused on building safe and supportive communities for boys and young men of color where they feel valued and have clear pathways to opportunity. Our work is rooted in six key life milestones that research shows are especially predictive of later success, and where interventions can have the greatest impact.

In honor of Black History Month, and in keeping with our second milestone: Reading at Grade level by Third Grade, we’re sharing a reading list for young leaders to provide some essential context about Black history and the challenges that many people of color face every day. 

We hope you’ll take some time to help support a young person in your life by reading some of these books. Literature can help us better understand our country’s past and our evolving, persistent struggles with race—and it can be fuel on our journey toward a more fair and just future for all of our sons and daughters. 

Suggested reading grades Pre-K-3:

  • Follow Your Dreams, Little One by Vashti Harrison

  • I Am Ruby Bridges by Ruby Bridges 

  • Little Troublemaker Makes a Mess by Luvvie Ajayi Jones

  • Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters by Barack Obama 

  • Something, Someday by Amanda Gorman

  • The Beat in My Head by Ariel Blackwell and Brandon Blackwell

Suggested reading grades 3-7:

  • Because of You, John Lewis: The True Story of a Remarkable Friendship by Andrea Davis Pinkney 

  • The Playbook: 52 Rules to Aim, Shoot, and Score in This Game Called Life by Kwame Alexander

  • Were Better Than This: Young Readers’ Edition by Elijah Cummings

  • What Color is my World by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

The Obama Presidential Center will house a new branch of the Chicago Library—a perfect place for young people and visitors from around the world to check out some of the titles included on our list. You can learn more about the Center here.

While you’re here, make a difference for the next generation.

Help us bring the Obama Presidential Center to life.

The Barack Obama Foundation is registered as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization (EIN 46-4950751).


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