1. Harlem’s Little Blackbird: The Story of Florence Mills by Renee Watson, illustrated by Christian Robinson.
Who: Florence Mills (a singer — with a voice like a bird — who was popular during the Harlem Renaissance, appeared in shows on Broadway, and became an advocate for black performers).
2. A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin by Jen Bryant, illustrated by Melissa Sweet.
Who: Horace Pippin (an artist who overcame a war injury to his arm and went on to have his paintings displayed in museums all over the country).
4. Fly High!: The Story of Bessie Coleman by Louise Borden and Mary Kay Kroeger, illustrated by Teresa Flavin.
Who: Bessie Coleman (the first African American to have a pilot’s license — she went all the way to France to earn her license after every American school refused to teach her).
5. Wangari’s Trees of Peace: A True Story from Africa by Jeanette Winter.
Who: Wangari Maathai (an environmentalist who began her path to winning the Nobel Peace Prize by simply planting a few seedlings).
6. Salt in His Shoes by Deloris Jordan with Roslyn M. Jordan, illustrated by Kadir Nelson.
Who: Michael Jordan (pretty much the most famous basketball player of all time — this story focuses on his childhood and is written by his mother and sister).
7. Gordon Parks: How the Photographer Captured Black and White America by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Jamey Christoph.
Who: Gordon Parks (a photographer who captured racism with his camera and eventually became the first black director in Hollywood).
12. When the Beat Was Born: DJ Kool Herc and the Creation of Hip Hop by Laban Carrick Hill, illustrated by Theodore Taylor III.
Who: DJ Kool Herc (hip-hop pioneer).
15. Fifty Cents and a Dream: Young Booker T. Washington by Jabari Asim, illustrated by Bryan Collier.
Who: Booker T. Washington (educator, university founder, and advisor to President Theodore Roosevelt).
20. Henry’s Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad by Ellen Levine, illustrated by Kadir Nelson.
Who: Henry Brown (a young slave who mailed himself to freedom).
21. It Jes’ Happened: When Bill Trayler Started to Draw by Don Tate, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie.
Who: Bill Traylor (a self-taught folk artist who didn’t start to draw until he was in his eighties).
22. Wilma Unlimited: How Wilma Rudolph Became the World’s Fastest Woman by Kathleen Krull, illustrated by David Diaz.
Who: Wilma Rudolph (a runner who had polio as a child and went on to win three Olympic gold medals in one year).
24. A Weed is a Flower: The Life of George Washington Carver by Aliki.
Who: George Washington Carver (a professor, botanist and inventor who devised many ways to use peanuts — well beyond just for their butter).
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