5 Books that Build Confidence in African American Children

In light of the recent verdict in the Trayvon Martin case, many parents are wondering, “What should I tell my children?” For parents looking for a place to start, we’ve created a list of five great books for young readers. Books can serve as an opening into serious discussion on race and social justice issues, build confidence and instill pride in young African American readers, and counter negative messages that children may be absorbing from other media outlets.

Ranging from lighthearted stories to titles that deal with serious topics, including loss, inner city issues, and race relations, these books will instill confidence in young readers, build their self-worth, and inspire them to overcome whatever obstacles they may face.

5 Books that Build Confidence in African American Children1. Black All Around by Patricia Hubbell, illustrated by Don Tate

This gentle picture book, perfect as a read-aloud, is a meditation on the prominence and beauty of the color black.

AFAWCF front cover

2. As Fast As Words Could Fly by Pamela M. Tuck, illustrated by Eric Velasquez

Young Mason Steele, an African American boy in 1960s Greenville, North Carolina, relies on his inner confidence and his typing skills to face challenges and break racial barriers after he begins attending a “whites-only” high school.

Chess Rumble front cover

3. Chess Rumble by G. Neri, illustrated by Jesse Joshua Watson

A story in free verse about a troubled boy who learns to use his mind instead of his fists through the guidance of an unconventional mentor and the game of chess.

The Palm of My Heart front cover

4. The Palm of My Heart: Poetry by African American Children By David Adedjouma, Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie

African American children celebrate the beauty of their lives and culture through poetry.

Jones Family Express front cover

5. The Jones Family Express by Javaka Steptoe

Javaka Steptoe combines humor and warmth in the story of Steven, an African American boy, who wants to find a special gift for his aunt when she comes to visit. A warm celebration of love in a strong African American family.

7 thoughts on “5 Books that Build Confidence in African American Children”

  1. Great post…great books!
    Here is one more:”The Hoop Kid From Elmdale Park” depicts that young children can find their inner sports hero and overcome any obstacle by reaching deep within, talking to family, connecting with friends and being aware that they are not alone.

  2. Thank you for this positive , educational move toward a healthier and more confident child . God Bless.

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