It has been encouraging to see so many books and resources shared over the last few weeks to help all of us gain a deeper level of understanding about modern racism in America.
However, in this moment when anti-racism books are flying off the shelves, please don’t forget that children of color also deserve to see themselves thrive, to experience the joy of being a part of a loving community, and to not be stuck in a cycle of oppressive narratives that can shape how others view them.
Here are 10 joyful children’s books featuring Black characters to add to your shelves now:
by Barbara J. Newkirk, illus. by Laura Freeman
Grades Pre K-1
At bedtime, a boy finds all kinds of things to do instead of going to bed. Also available in Spanish.
by Carole Boston Weatherford, illus. by Laura Freeman
Grades Pre K-2
A celebration of music and movement, this story in verse is inspired by the riffs, rhythms, and freedom of jazz. Also available in Spanish.
by Barbara E. Barber, illus. by Darryl Ligasan
A story of self-determination about a young girl who gets a new basketball of her own and hits the neighborhood courts.
by various poets, illus. by Javaka Steptoe
An intergenerational collection of poetry celebrating Black fatherhood.
by Thelma Lynne Godin, illus. by Vanessa Brantley-Newton
A spunky girl has a hula-hooping competition with her friends in Harlem, and soon everyone in the neighborhood—young and old alike—joins in on the fun. Watch Oprah read this book!
by Patricia Hubbell, illus. by Don Tate
Join a young girl as she discovers all the wonderful things around her that are black.
by Nikki Grimes, illus. by Elizabeth Zunon
During a visit to her grandma’s house, a young girl discovers a box of poems in the attic, written by her mother who grew up in a military family and traveled around the world.
by Sally Derby, illus. by Shadra Strickland
In this whimsical story, Evie and her grandmother go on an imaginary “shopping spree” through the catalogs of their neighborhood stores.
by Debbie A. Taylor, illus. by Frank Morrison
An action-packed romp inspired by a historic photograph from Harlem’s jazz heyday.
written and illustrated by Javaka Steptoe
Steven wants to make something special to give his Aunt Carolyn, who sends him postcards from all around the world.