From educational biographies about Black heroes to self-esteem boosting picture books, your children will love these reads.
When it comes to educating Black children about our history, there are a growing number of kid-friendly books that can inform them, activate their imagination, and leave a lasting impact on them, even into adulthood. Selecting the right literature for our kids, especially with characters that look like them, is crucial as it can foster a sense of pride and provide them with representation and information they may be not be receiving in the classroom.
From educational biographies about Black heroes to self-esteem boosting picture books, there are a plethora of inclusive options for every age group, from toddlers to elementary school age, that can spark pride and open doors of exploration.
Reading to your kiddos at an early age is also important for vocabulary development. According to research from Ohio State University's College of Education and Human Ecology, children whose parents read them and average of five books a day start kindergarten having heard around 1.4 million more words than their peers who haven't been read to.
Below are ten new and enriching books, exclusively from Black authors, to gift children this season and beyond.
My First Heroes: Black History by Silver Dolphin Books
This interactive board book brings to life the stories of Rosa Parks, Nelson Mandela, Maya Angelou, and Serena Williams through cute illustrations. Children get to learn about each of their inspiring stories, activism, and achievements.
Antiracist Baby Picture Book by Ibram X. Kendi
This best-selling book has been the subject of recent politic debates due to its bold title and powerful message of starting young when it comes to starting the conversation about racism in America. Award-winning author, Imbram X. Kendi, masterfully introduces the youngest readers and the grown ups in their lives to the concept and power of antiracism.
The Year We Learned to Fly by Jacqueline Woodson
The story is about two Black siblings who tap into their imaginations to escape boredom. In doing so, they emboldened the limitless possibilities for their brilliant minds.
Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me 'Round: My Story of the Making of Martin Luther King Day by Kathlyn J.Kirkwood
This moving coming-of-age memoir hones in on what it means to be an activist in the quest for racial justice, as Kirkwood recounts how much she was drawn to activism in her youth. She attended protests as a teenager and even fought for Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday to become a national holiday in her adulthood.
Who Are Your People? by Bakari Sellers
This picture book debut from the American attorney and political commentator is an ode to family and the community that shape who we are as individuals.
A History of Me by Adrea Theodore
A History of Me is about a mother recalling her experience as the only Black student in a school and the empowering message it suggested to her daughter and children of color. Theodore's debut picture book is inspired by both her daughter's experiences and her own.
When the Schools Shut Down: A Young Girl's Story of Virginia's Lost Generation and the Brown V. Board of Education of Topeka Decision by Tamara Pizzoli and Yolanda Gladden
The story follows an African American girl who experienced the shutdown of public schools in the small town of Farmville, Virginia, after the landmark civil rights case Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka and how the community worked together. Told by Gladden herself and co-written by Dr.Pizzoli, this is a true account of the unlawful efforts of white policymakers to prevent racial justice by denying children an education.
Emile and the Field by Kevin Young
Described as "a gentle vision of nature as meaningfully accessible and ample" by Publishers Weekly, this rhythmic book is about a young boy with compassion and appreciation for his neighborhood field as the seasons' change.
Ablaze with Color: A Story of Painter Alma Thomas by Jeanne Walker Harvey
Chronicle the story of the incredible story of Alma Thomas, an African American expressionist painter and art educator who broke barriers. Told from the perspective of young Alma, readers get to see her progression as she discovers the power of art.
Everybody Has a Belly Button by Cerina Vincent
Written by actress Cerina Vincent, Everybody Has a Belly Button is a timeless and delightful book for babies and toddlers that teaches our youngest readers about skin color, equality, and equity in the same way we teach our babies where their belly button, nose, eyes, and toes are.