Books for Black Children

In the midst of all the lists floaring around on talking about race, racism and anit-racism I’m not seeing anything for our Black children. What are we saying to our Black children? What are we reading to them to reinforce positive messages about who they are and what they can do? How do we prepare them for a world that isn’t ready for them? How do we make them feel safe?

Sure, books can’t cure everything but, they sure are a good start. The structure of racism knows this as it plants numerous images and story structures into children’s literature that perpetuate white supremacy and because of that, a Black child reading a book by a Black author can easily be seen as an act of resistance to white supremacy. Rather than listing all of those books, I’ve selected titles that Black parents, caregivers and teachers can use to help Black children to feel safe, to embrace their blackness and become better able to talk about and confront racism. It’s no where near exhaustive, but it sure is a good start.

Find the books at your local library or local bookstore. Need to order online? Consider a black owned bookstore.

edited 5 June to add: Even When They’re Hunting Us, I Would Still Shoos to Be Black Over and Over Again” an article by Tiffany D. Jackson for young Black women

  1. He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands by Kadir Nelson (Dial Books, 2005)
  2. Welcome, Precious by Nikki Grimes; illustrated by Bryan Collier (Orchard Books, 2006)
  3. Hands up! by Breanna McDaniel; illustrated by Shane W. Evans (Dial, 2019).
  4. Little Stevie Wonder by Quincy Troupe and Lisa Cohen (HMH, 2005)
  5. My Three Best Friends and Me, Zulay by Cari Best, Vanessa Brantley-Newton (FSG, 2015)
  6. Large Fears by Myles Johnson; illustrated by Kendrick Daye (Myles Johnson, 2016)
  7. Anti-Racist Baby by By Ibram X. Kendi; illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky (Kokila, 2020)
  8. Brown Baby Lullaby by Tameka Fryer Brown (FSG, 2020)
  9. Black Is a Rainbow Color by Angela Joy; illustrated by Ekua Holmes (Roaring Brook Press, 2020)
  10. The King of Kindergarten by Derrick Barnes; illustrated by Vanessa Brantley Newton (Nancy Paulsen Books, 2019)
  11. Saturday by Oge Mora (Little, Brown Books, 2019)
  12. Just Like Mama by Alice Faye Duncan; illustrated by Charnelle Pinkney Barlow (Agate, 2020)
  13. My Two Grannies by Floella Benjamin; illustrated by Margaret Chamberlain (Frances Lincoln Books, 2009)
  14. Honey Baby Sugar Child by Alice Faye Duncan; illustrated by Susan Keeter (Simon and Schuster, 2005)
  15. The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander; illustrated by Kadir Nelson. (Versify, 2019)
  16. Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes; illustrated by Gordon C. James (Denene Millner Books, 2017)
  17. Freedom in Congo Square by Carol Boston Weatherford; illustrated by R. Gregory Christie (Little Bee Books, 2016)
  18. A Kids Book About Racism by Jelani Memory (Kids Books About, 2019)
  19. I Am Enough by Grace Byers; illustrated by Keturah A. Bobo (Balzer + Bray, 2018)
  20. Sulwe by Lupita Nyong’o; illustrated by Vashti Harrison (Simon and Schuster, 2019)
  21. Hey Black Child by Useni Eugene Perkins; illustrated by Bryan Collier (LB Kids, 2019)
  22. Woke Baby by Mahogany L. Browne; illustrated by Theodore Taylor III (Roaring Brook Press, 2018)
  23. Someday Is Now by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich; illustrated by Jade Johnson (Seagrass Press, 2018)
  24. A Good Kind of Trouble by Lisa Moore Ramée (Balzer + Bray, 2019)
  25. What Color Is My World?: The Lost History of African-American Inventors by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar , Raymond Obstfeld , et al. (Candlewick, 2012)
  26. The Stars Beneath Our Feet by David Barclay Moore (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2017)
  27. March (Trilogy) by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell (Topshelf Prodections, 2016)
  28. Young Gifted and Black: Meet 52 Black Heroes from Past and Present by Jamia Wilson and Andrea Pippins (Wide Eyed Editions, 2018)
  29. Leaving Lymon by Lesa Cline-Ransom (Holiday House, 2020)
  30. Colorblind: A Story on Racism by Johnathan Harris and Gary Leach (Zuiker Press, 2019)
  31. Who Were the Tuskegee Airmen? (Who Was?) by Sherri L. Smith (Penguin Workshop, 2018)
  32. Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Boy by Tony Medina; illustrated by Javaka Steptoe and R. Gregory Christie (Penny Candy Books, 2018)
  33. Barack Obama: Out of Many, One (Step into Reading) by Shana Corey (Random House, 2014)
  34. Hidden Figures Young Readers’ Edition by Margot Lee Shetterly (Harper Collins, 2016)
  35. We Rise. We Resist. We Raise Our Voices by Wade Hudson and Cheryl Willis Hudson, eds.  (Crown Books for Young Readers, 2018).
  36. The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson (Arthur A. Levine Books, 2018)
  37. The Voting Booth by Brandy Colbert (Disney Hyperion, 2020)
  38. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks: The Young Reader’s Edition by Gregory Mone (Goodreads Author) (adapter), Rebecca Skloot (Knopf, 2013)
  39. A Wish After Midnight by Zetta Elliott (Skyscape, 2010)
  40. We Are Not Yet Equal: Understanding Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson and Tonya Bolden (Bloomsbury, 2018)
  41. The Untold Story of the Real Me: Young Voices From Prison by Free Mind Writers (Shout Mouse, 2015)
  42. Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi (Little, Brown Books, 2020)
  43. This Book Is Anti-Racist: 20 lessons on how to wake up, take action, and do the work by Tiffany Jewell and Aurélia Durand. Frances Lincoln Children’s Books (Frances Lincoln Books, 2020)
  44. Strong Voices: FIfteen American Speeches Worth Knowing by Tonya Bolden, Cokie Roberts and Eric Velasquez (HarperCollins. 2020)
  45. Lifting as We Climb: Black Women’s Battle for the Ballot Box by Evette Dionne (Viking, 2020)
  46. Never Caught The Story of Ona Judge by Erica Armstrong Dunbar, Kathleen Van Cleve (Alladin, 2019)
  47. It All Comes Down to This by Karen English (Clarion, 2017)
  48. X: A Novel by Ilyasah Shabazz and Kekla Magoon (Candlewick, 2015)
  49. I’m Not Dying Here with You by Gilly Segal and Kimberly Jones (Sourcebooks Fire, 2019)
  50. See No Color by Shannon Gibney (Carolrhoda Lab, 2015)
  51. Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America edited by Ibi Zoboi and Tracey Baptiste. (Balzer + Bray, 2019)
  52. Genesis Begins Again by Alicia Williams. (Atheneum, 2019)
  53. Dreams on Fire by Annette Daniels Taylor. (West 44 Books, 2018)
  54. Just Mercy (Adapted for Young Adults): A True Story of the Fight for Justice by Bryan Stevenson (Delacorte, 2018)

 

 

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