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Marching On:
Selected Books about the Civil Rights Movement
for Children and Teens

Compiled by Megan Schliesman and Merri Lindgren
© 2013 Cooperative Children's Book Center; updated annually

The body of work for children and teens about the African American Civil Rights Movement from the late 1940s to through the 1960s is rich and varied. This bibliography highlights selected titles for kindergarten through high school. It is organized by broad grade range. Because many books overlap the elementary and middle school, and many more overlap middle and high school, look at the specific age recommendations on each book for additional guidelines.

Click on underlined book titles to see the CCBC review of the book, and/or the cover image.
Complete list of CCBC bibliographies

Books for K-5: Picture Books and Fiction

    Bandy, Michael S. and Eric Stein . Granddaddy’s Turn: A Journey to the Ballot Box. Illustrated by James E. Ransome. Candlewick Press, 2015. 32 pages. Ages 6–9

    Birtha, Becky. Grandmama's Pride. Illustrated by Colin Bootman. Albert Whitman, 2005. 32 pages. Ages 6-9

    Bunting, Eve. The Cart That Carried Martin. Illustrated by Don Tate. Charlesbridge, 2013. 32 pages. Ages 5-8

    Johnson, Angela. A Sweet Smell of Roses. Illustrated by Eric Velasquez. Simon & Schuster, 2005. 32 pages. Ages 6-9

    Mason, Margaret H.. These Hands. Illustrated by Floyd Cooper. Houghton Mifflin, 2011. 32 pages. Ages 5-9

    Meyer, Susan Lynn. New Shoes. Illustrated by Eric Velasquez. Holiday House, 2015. 32 pages. Ages 5–8

    Ramsey, Calvin Alexander and Gwen Strauss . Ruth and the Green Book. Illustrated by Floyd Cooper. Carolrhoda, 2010. 32 pages. Ages 6 - 9

    Williams-Garcia, Rita. One Crazy Summer. Amistad / HarperCollins, 2010. 218 pages. Ages 8-12

    Winter, Jonah. Lillian’s Right to Vote: A Celebration of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Illustrated by Shane W. Evans. Schwartz & Wade, 2015. 32 pages. Ages 7–10

Books for K-5: Non-Fiction

    Giovanni, Nikki. Rosa. Illustrated by Bryan Collier. Henry Holt, 2005. 32 pages. Ages 6-10

    Morrison, Toni. Remember: The Journey to School Integration. Houghton Mifflin, 2004. 78 pages. Age 7 and older

    Pinkney, Andrea Davis. Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up By Sitting Down. Illustrated by Brian Pinkney. Little, Brown and Company, 2010. 40 pages. Ages 7 - 10

    Shange, Ntozake. Coretta Scott. Illustrated by Kadir Nelson. Amistad / Katherine Tegen Books / HarperCollins, 2009. 32 pages. Ages 6 - 9

    Shelton, Paula Young. Child of the Civil Rights Movement. Illustrated by Raul Colón. Schwartz & Wade, 2010. 44 pages. Ages 5 - 10

    Weatherford, Carole Boston and Ekua Holmes . Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement. Candlewick Press, 2015. 34 pages. Age 10 and older

Books for Middle and High School: Fiction and Poetry

    Curtis, Christopher Paul. The Watsons Go to Birmingham -- 1963. Delacorte, 1995. 210 pages. Ages 10 - 14

    English, Karen. It All Comes Down to This. Clarion, 2017. 355 pages. Age 11 and older

    Long, Mark and Jim Demonakos . The Silence of Our Friends. Illustrated by Nate Powell. First Second / Roaring Brook Press, 2012. 198 pages. Age 12 and older

    Magoon, Kekla. Fire in the Streets. Aladdin / Simon & Schuster, 2012. 321 pages. Age 12 and older

    Nelson, Vaunda Micheaux. No Crystal Stair. Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie. Carolrhoda LAB, 2012. 188 pages. Age 12 and older

    Nelson, Marilyn. A Wreath for Emmett Till. Illustrated by Philippe Lardy. Houghton Mifflin, 2005. 40 pages. Age 14 and older

    Shange, Ntozake. We Troubled the Waters. Illustrated by Rod Brown. Amistad / Collins / HarperCollins, 2009. 32 pages. Age 13 and older

    Sharenow, Robert. My Mother the Cheerleader. Laura Geringer Books / HarperCollins, 2007. 289 pages. Ages 11-14

    Weatherford, Carole Boston. Birmingham, 1963. Wordsong / Boyds Mills Press, 2007. 39 pages. Age 10 and older

    Weaver, Lila Quintero. Darkroom: A Memoir in Black and White. The University of Alabama Press, 2012. 254 pages. Age 13 and older

    Wiles, Deborah. Revolution. Scholastic Press, 2014. 495 pages. Ages 11-14

Books for Middle and High School: Non-Fiction

    Bausum, Ann. Marching to the Mountaintop: How Poverty, Labor Fights, and Civil Rights Set the Stage for Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Final Hours. National Geographic, 2012. 104 pages. Age 12 and older

    Bausum, Ann. Freedom Riders: John Lewis and Jim Zwerg on the Front Lines of the Civil Rights Movement. National Geographic, 2006. 79 pages. Ages 10-16

    Bausum, Ann. The March Against Fear: The Last Great Walk of the Civil Rights Movement and the Emergence of Black Power. National Geographic, 2017. 143 pages. Age 14 and older

    Bolden, Tonya. M.L.K.: Journey of a King. Harry N. Abrams, 2007. 128 pages. Ages 10-15

    Crowe, Chris. Getting Away with Murder: The True Story of the Emmett Till Case. Phyllis Fogelman Books / Penguin, 2003. 128 pages. 12 and older

    Freedman, Russell. Freedom Walkers: The Story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Holiday House, 2006. 114 pages. Ages 10-14

    Hoose, Phillip. Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice. Melanie Kroupa Books / Farrar Straus Giroux, 2009. 133 pages. Ages 13 and older

    Houtman, Jacqueline and et al. . Bayard Rustin: The Invisible Activist. FGC / Quaker Press, 2014. 154 pages. Ages 12 and Older

    King, Casey and Linda Barrett Osborne . Oh, Freedom! Kids Talk About the Civil Rights Movement with the People Who Made It Happen. Knopf, 1997. 137 pages. Ages 8 - 14

    Levinson, Cynthia. We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March. Peachtree, 2012. 176 pages. Age 12 and older

    Lewis, John and Andrew Aydin . March: Book Two. Illustrated by Nate Powell. Top Shelf, 2015. 187 pages. Age 11 and older

    Lewis, John and Andrew Aydin . March: Book Three. Illustrated by Nate Powell. Top Shelf, 2016. 246 pages. Age 11 and older

    Lewis, John and Andrew Aydin . March: Book One. Illustrated by Nate Powell. Top Shelf, 2013. 121 pages. Age 13 and older

    McWhorter, Diane. A Dream of Freedom: The Civil Rights Movement from 1954 to 1968. Scholastic, 2004. 160 pages. Ages 10-18

    Mitchell, Don. The Freedom Summer Murders. Scholastic Press, 2014. 250 pages. Ages 14 and Older

    Myers, Walter Dean. Malcolm X: A Fire Burning Brightly. Illustrated by Leonard Jenkins. HarperCollins, 2000. 32 pages. Ages 10-14

    Myers, Walter Dean. Malcolm X: By Any Means Necessary. Scholastic Hardcover, 1993. 224 pages. Ages 9 - 14

    Partridge, Elizabeth. Marching for Freedom: Walk Together, Children, and Don't You Grow Weary. Viking, 2009. 72 pages. Ages 11 and older

    Rubin, Susan Goldman. Freedom Summer: The 1964 Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi. Holiday House, 2014. 128 pages. Age 13 and older

    Rubin, Susan Goldman. Brown v. Board of Education: A Fight for Simple Justice. Holiday House, 2016. 134 pages. Age 11 and older

This list may be reproduced and distributed by educational and/or nonprofit organizations so long as credit is given to the Cooperative Children's Book Center, School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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