At LBYR, we’re honored to work alongside some of the best authors and illustrators in kids’ books, and we’re immensely proud of how they’re using narratives about black kids to change the literary world. Whether you’re looking to inspire, open discussions, or all of the above with your child, here are some excellent kids’ books to spark a conversation about Black History.
Bestselling, beloved author/illustrator Vashti Harrison should be a staple in every household! In Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History and Little Legends: Exceptional Men in Black History, Vashti profiles black women and men from around the world and throughout history that have made significant changes to the world. With bright colors, adorable and child-friendly text, and fascinating history, these are the perfect books to inspire and shine a light on black joy and pride!
BLACK BROTHER, BLACK BROTHER by Jewell Parker Rhodes
Donte wishes he were invisible. As one of the few black boys at Middlefield Prep, he feels as if he is constantly swimming in whiteness. Dubbed the “Black Brother,” Donte’s teachers and classmates make it clear they wish he were more like his lighter skinned brother, Trey. Quiet, obedient.
When an incident with “King” Alan leads to Donte’s arrest and suspension, he knows the only way to get even is to beat the king of the school at his own game: fencing. With the help of a former Olympic fencer, Donte embarks on a journey to carve out a spot on Middlefield Prep’s fencing team and maybe learn something about himself along the way.
When Brianna Justice’s hero, the famous celebrity chef Miss Delicious, speaks at her school and traces her own success back to being president of her fifth grade class, Brianna determines she must do the same. She just knows that becoming president of her class is the first step toward her own cupcake-baking empire! But when new student Jasmine Moon announces she is also running for president, Brianna learns that she may have more competition than she expected.
For years, Alberta has been the only black girl in her small beach town. So when new neighbors move in next door, she’s ecstatic to find out that the family is black, and that they have a 12-year-old daughter like her. Edie’s very different from Alberta, though: Alberta is bubbly, loves surfing, and is very friendly, whereas Edie is a moody Wednesday Addams come to life. But when the girls find a secret journal in Edie’s attic, they’ll put their differences aside and band together to uncover the mysteries and painful truths the journal holds.
Caldecott Honoree Oge Mora is back with another touching, uplifting mother-daughter story about cherishing time with loved ones! Ava and her mom look forward to their special Saturday routine every week. But this Saturday, things keep going wrong: storytime is canceled, their new hairdos are ruined, and they miss the puppet show they’ve been looking forward to all week. Mom is nearing a meltdown…until Ave reminds her that being together is the most important thing of all.
For fans of To Kill a Mockingbird and One Crazy Summer, Karyn Parsons’ debut middle grade novel is bittersweet, eye-opening, and compelling. Set in 1944 in the Jim Crow South, 12-year-old Ella is excited when her mother—who left South Carolina to pursue a jazz career in Boston—invites Ella to visit her for Christmas. Little does she expect the truths she will discover about her mother, the father she never knew, and her family’s most unlikely history.
This modern classic tells a whimsical story about a girl named Keyana discovering the magic and beauty of her hair. For 20 years, I Love My Hair has been a picture book staple in celebrating black hair, heritage, and being yourself!