Black Kids Read (BKR) is one of the vehicles through which members of the (ES)2 STEM Learning Lab work to develop socially transformative STEM education materials for K-12 students, their parents and their teachers. Many Black Kids Read books foreground science, technology, engineering and mathematics as they feature protagonists of African descent, tell the history of African descended people, describe the impact of science work, or tell stories of socially transformative action aimed at improving African communities. We currently have three types of books available.

Leveled Readers

The first type of book, leveled readers are children's books written with increasing levels of difficulty. Each book publisher determines their own scale for going from more simple to more complex books. For example, BKR Leveled Readers have four levels, numbered 1-4. These levels and their descriptions can be found on the back of each leveled reader.

 

Each publisher also determines the criteria for increasing levels of difficulty. Common criteria are length of book, length of sentences, types of words used, illustrations, and complexity of themes.

 

One frequently asked question is, "What age child should read this book?" It is important to remember two things. First, children develop differently and at different rates. So, it is best not to expect a book at a given level to correspond to a specific age or grade. Second, children (as well as adults) can enjoy and learn from books that are either below or above their supposed "reading level."  What is most important is that children be given books that are enjoyable to read and that stretch their thinking. Leveled readers currently available are...

Kayla's First Chickens (series) • Rebekah's healing Garden (series) • Ronnie's Great Idea

Picture Books

The second type of book, picture books are probably the most popular type of children's book. While there is tremendous variety among picture books, there are a few traits that distinguish the genre. For example, picture books tend to be large. Picture books feature rich illustrations. The illustrations in picture books are often as important as the text in determining the quality of the book. While picture books are written for children, they are not structured as rigidly as other genres. Consequently, children of varying ages can read and appreciate them. The picture currently available is...

Tale of the Vanishing Buffalo

For Parents

The third type of book is represented by the broad categoriy of parent resources. In addition to science-related books for Black children, we offer resources for parents through our electronic mailing list. These resources include: product reviews, enrichment opportunities and strategies for supporting our children's education. Many of these resources are free and are shared through the Black Kids Read Family email list. Resources available for purchase are... 

Family Activities • Lesson Plans • Books

To learn more, visit Black Kids Read Books.