BHM22 Inspired by Our History

Let’s talk about our health! Teaching children early about having healthy habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising, meditating, talking about their feelings, and wearing masks will help them far into the future. 

From scientists to our first lady to farmers, this book list focuses on inspirational historical and current figures who contribute to health and wellness. Use these books to teach children about people who can inspire them to dream big for their futures.


Ages 0 - 3

I Look Up ToI Look Up To… Michelle Obama. Author: Anna Membrino. Illustrator: Fatti Burkey. Help your toddler learn more about Michelle Obama including how she loves being healthy by eating nutritious foods. Link 


Little NaturalistsLittle Naturalists George Washington Carver Loved Plants BabyLit. Author: Kate Coombs. Illustrator: Seth Lucas. As an agricultural scientist, inventor, and environmentalist, George Washington Carver helped farmers and communities take care of the earth, increase soil nutrients,  and develop new ways to use crops. Link

Ages 3 - 7

Michelles GardenMichelle’s Garden. Author: Sharee Miller. A story about Michelle Obama’s decision to grow the largest kitchen garden ever at the White House. Link




harlem-grownHarlem Grown. Author: Tony Hillery. Illustrator: Jessie Hartland. The story of how a teacher, school, and community developed a children’s garden to teach them about farming, grow fresh produce for families, learn about healthy eating, and share their ideas to create more gardens at other schools. Link

Farmer JohnFarmer John’s Big Lessons: In Community. Author: Dietrich Fluellen. Illustrator: Hallinson Pulido. After his farm burns down, a farmer learns that the years he gave seeds to his neighbors grew into a community that would help him rebuild. Link


Ages 5 - 9

Breaking the Sickle CellBreaking The Sickle: A Snippet of the Life of Dr. Yvette Fay Francis-McBarnette. Author: Louie T. McClain. Illustrator: M. Ridho Mentarie. Dr. Yvette Fay Francis-McBarnette researched and discovered how to save and prolong the lives of people living with sickle cell anemia. Link

THE DOCTOR WITH AN EYEThe Doctor with an Eye for Eyes. Author: Julia Finley Mosca. Illustrator: Daniel Rieley. Fighting against racism and sexism, Dr. Patricia Bath becomes a leading ophthalmologist. Link 


Mr CrumMr. Crum’s Potato Predicament. Author: Anne Renaud. Illustrator: Felicita Sala. Mr. Crum, known for delicious food and being the best chef in the county, has a customer ask him to give him a dish with all potatoes. Mr. Crum slices the potato thinly and fries them until they are crispy to make the first potato chip. Link

Rebecca LeeRebecca Lee Crumpler Leaders Like Us series. Author: J. P. Miller Markia Jenia. Rebecca Lee Crumpler became the first African-American doctor in the United States. She specialized in treating women and children. Link



FARMER WILL ALLENFarmer Will Allen and the Growing Table. Author: Jacqueline Briggs Martin. Illustrator: Eric-Shabazz Larkin. Will Allen had a vision to transform an inner city lot into an abundant garden through composting, developing new growing techniques, training children and adults in farming, and more. Link


Ages 7 - 12

TINY STITCHESTiny Stitches: The Life of Medical Pioneer Vivien Thomas. Author: Gwendolyn Hooks. Illustrator: Colin Bootman. Thomas developed the procedure for the first successful open-heart surgery on a child. Link


BRING ME SOME APPLESBring Me Some Apples and I’ll Make You a Pie. Author: Robbin Gourley. Long before the natural-food movement gained popularity,Edna Lewis championed purity of ingredients, regional cuisine, and the importance of bringing food directly from the farm to the table. Link


PATRICIAS VISIONPatricia’s Vision: The Doctor Who Saved Sight. Author: Michelle Lord. Illustrator: Alleanna Harris. An inspiring biography of Dr. Patricia Bath who restored the sight of people who had become blind. She invented a specialized laser for removing cataracts and became the first African-American woman doctor to receive a medical patent. Link

Pies from NowherePies from Nowhere: How Georgia Gilmore Sustained the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Author: Dee Romito. Illustrator: Laura Friedman. Georgia Gilmore used her cooking talents to help keep civil rights activists fed and nourished during the Montgomery Bus boycott. Link

Doctress of MedicineDr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler: Doctress of Medicine. Women Leaders in Medicine Series. Author: Sheryl Recinos. Rebecca Lee Crumpler became the first African-American doctor in the United States. She specialized in treating women and children. Link



Black StarsAfrican American Healers. Author: Clinton Cox. Illustrator: Jim Haskins. This anthology provides biographies of African-American healers. Link 




Buzzing with QuestionsBuzzing with Questions: The Inquisitive Mind of Charles Henry Turner.  Author: Janice N. Harrington. Illustrator: Theodore Taylor III.  Can spiders learn? This was one of many questions buzzing in Charles Henry Turner’s mind. Even when confronted with racism, Turner kept questioning, reading, researching, and experimenting. He eventually became the first Black entomologist. Link

Young TrailblazersYoung Trailblazers: The Book of Black Inventors and Scientists. Author: M.J. Fievre. Illustrator: Balacuit. This book teaches children about inventions by Black people that have impacted the world through their ingenuity and trailblazing innovation. Link




Set SistersGame, Set, Sisters! The Story of Venus and Serena Williams. Author: Jay Leslie. Illustrator: Ebony Glenn. This book shows how hard Venus and Serena exercised, trained, and worked hard to become two of the best tennis players in the world. Link 


Chef ToussaintChef Touissant. Author: David Christopher Miller. Illustrator: C. J. Love. Supported by his family and community, Chef Toussaint has a love for cooking at a very young age. He uses his grandmother’s recipes to enter a cooking contest and show his talent. Link


What color is my worldWhat Color is My World.  Author: Kareem Abdul- Jabbar. A  funny, contemporary story featuring two feisty twins, here is a nod to the minds behind the gamma electric cell and the ice-cream scoop, improvements to traffic lights, open-heart surgery, and more - inventors whose ingenuity and perseverance against great odds made our world safer, better, and brighter. Link

Planting PeacePlanting Peace: The Story of Wangari Maathai. Author: Gwendolyn Hooks. Illustrator: Margaux Carpentier. As a child, Wangari relied on trees for food and to cook. She found peace and calm in the forest and studied the animal life around her. Her love of the forest would lead her to pursuing higher education, exploring science, and fighting for environmental justice. Link

Dr MayaDr. Maya: Ice Cream Scientist. Author: Aubre Andrus. Ice cream can be great as a special treat. Dr. Maya discusses her passion for food science and all the work that goes into creating ice cream and new flavors. Link