Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History Literature Guide

Grade Level: 
PreK, K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Black History
Non-Fiction Literature
by Vashti Harrison - A guide for parents, teachers, and group leaders to accompany the reading of this picture book. The guide below provides before, during, and after-reading discussion questions. Choose from activities and discussion questions to explore the lives of Black women leaders in history.

“In a society where being an African American and female meant being an outsider or sometimes invisible, these women dared to go after what they wanted, to demand what they deserved.  Some of them were reluctant leaders, while others were not even aware of their bravery, but their legacies live on to pave the way for more of us to follow.  Many of them did not set out to be pioneers but all of them were, and we can look to each of them for inspiration.”  We can learn so much from the ways these women made a difference in the lives of others. 

Literature Guide by Joyce Matthews

Before Reading 

Ask:  What do you notice about the pictures of the women on the front cover of the book? What questions do you have? 

Show: Look at the table of contents to see who is featured. Talk about what you already know about some of the people.  Do any of the names sound familiar, but you aren't sure what they have done? 

Connect: In reading the introduction, what do you think the author wants you to learn most? 

During Reading 

Ask: What do you think a leader is? What are the traits of the leaders you read about? 

Show: Why do you think the author chose these women to highlight? 

Connect: Would you be considered brave if you did today what the women in these stories did? Talk about the difference between then and now? What has changed, and what must still change?

After Reading 

Ask: What traits of a leader do you have already? What trait of a leader would you like to develop? What does a leader like this do to make the world better? Can you do any of those things? 

Show: Look at the “More Little Leaders” section and discuss.

Connect: History is made up of stories told by the people who were there or those who came after and researched the people and events. When you write in your journal about the events of your day and the world around you, you are telling the story of that day. Look around at the kind and generous acts you see people doing; write about it to document the good in the world.


  1. Who are five women listed in the book you would like to learn more about? Why did you choose the five women? Go learn five more facts about one of them.
  2. Write about the generosity, bravery, and leadership of a woman you know.
  3. If you were to share this book with others, what would you say to encourage them to read it?  
  4. Take some time to find out about young girls or women of today that could be in a future version of “Little Leaders.”  Make a list and share with others to get their thoughts.  Do you have some of the same young leaders on your list?  What do you learn from this activity?