When we talk about books about joy, we talk about all aspects of joy and the many forms it comes in. Unfortunately, many children’s books that feature BIPOC characters do not explore the many facets of joy that BIPOC children experience. It’s so important for each child to see themselves in every aspect of life—especially those that exude happiness and normalcy.
Today, we are recommending books that explore the joy of being ourselves. You can find more books in our Books About Joy reading list here.
Black All Around, written by Patricia Hubbell; illustrated by Don Tate: Join a young girl as she discovers all the wonderful things around her that are black.
Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match / Marisol McDonald no combina, written by Monica Brown illustrated by Sara Palacios: Mismatched and fabulous Marisol McDonald celebrates her Peruvian and Scottish heritage. Winner of the Pura Belpré Award Honor. Bilingual English/Spanish.
Magic Like That, written by Samara Cole Doyon, illustrated by Geneva Bowers: In this celebration of Black Girl Magic, a young girl finds confidence and excitement in the versatility of her natural hair and the way her different hairstyles reflect the natural world.
Under My Hijab, written by Hena Khan, illustrated by Aaliya Jaleel: This lovely book from the author of Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns invites readers to understand and appreciate hijab and the Muslim women who decide to wear it.
The Happiest Tree, written by Uma Krishnaswami, illustrated by Ruth Jeyaveeran: A young Indian American girl grows in self-confidence when she learns to practice yoga and apply the underlying principles to her performance in a school play. Also available in Spanish.
Nacho’s Nachos: The Story Behind the World’s Favorite Snack, written by Sandra Nickel, illustrated by Oliver Dominguez: The delicious true story of an inventive chef and the serendipitous events that led to the creation of the world’s favorite snack—nachos!
The Hula-Hoopin’ Queen, written by Thelma Godin, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton: A spunky African American 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.
The Shadow Prince, written by David Anthony Durham: In this middle grade solarpunk novel set in an alternate Egyptian universe, twelve-year old Ash must compete and survive to become the shadow—and protector—of the prince.
Witch Owl Parliament (Clockwork Curandera #1) written by David Bowles, Raúl the Third, illustrated by Stacey Robinson, Damian Duffy: Discover a graphic novel unlike any other—a brilliant steampunk reimagining of Frankenstein set in colonial Mexico. Also available in Spanish.
Rebel Seoul, written by Axie Oh: When Jaewon is assigned to partner with supersoldier Tera in Neo Seoul’s top weapons development division, he must decide where he stands: with the people his rebel father protected or with the totalitarian government that claims it will end all war.
Lee & Low’s Books About Joy Booklist & Book Collection:
Additional recommended resources:
Home Library Questionnaire
Children’s Books About Joy Reading List
Children’s Books About Joy: 10 Books About the Joy of Play
Children’s Books About Joy: 10 Books About the Joy of Family and Friends
10 Picture Books That Are Not About Oppression