8 Black Children’s Books By Black Authors To Get This Children’s Book WeekNov 10, 2020 08:00AM ● By Boitumelo Masihleho
Established in 1919 by the librarian of the Boy Scouts of America, Franklin K. Matthiews, Children’s Book Week celebrates books for children and the joy of reading. Every year, it is celebrated in May but this year, there are two dedicated weeks of celebration, May 4-10 and November 9-15.
It’s important that children have access to books with diverse characters and that Black kids see themselves in the books they read. Here is a list of some of the top Black children’s books by Black authors that you should read with your children this week.
Sulwe by Lupita Nyong'o
Academy Award-winning Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o’s picture book, Sulwe, is a moving story about colorism, self-esteem, and learning that true beauty comes from within. This New York Times bestseller is about little Sulwe, who is dark in complexion, who just wants to be beautiful and bright, like her mother and sister. Sulwe’s magical learning journey teaches children to see their own unique beauty.
I Got The Rhythm by Connie Schofield-Morrison
This book is about a little Black girl who hears a rhythm from the world around her. From the flutter of butterflies’ wings to the sounds of the ice cream truck, everything is musical and she bursts into a dance which all the kids’ join. Award-winning illustrator Frank Morrison and Connie Schofield-Morrison’s picture book will get any child moving to the beat.
Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry
This book recently gained popularity due to the Academy Award-winning short film that was made about it. Little Zuri’s hair has kinks, coils, and curls and she knows it’s beautiful. Her father has to step in to help style it for a special occasion but he has a lot to learn. This picture book is a beautiful testament to the father-daughter relationship while showing little girls to love their natural hair.
The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson
National Book Award winner Jacqueline Woodson’s New York Times bestseller is a fun story with a powerful message of being brave to connect with the world even when you’re feeling afraid because you’re different. Angelina, a Black girl, notices that her skin, clothes, and hair are different than her classmates. Rigoberto notices his class laughing at him when tells them he’s from Venezuela. This book follows these kids as they realize there’s room for their differences.
Nighttime Symphony by Timbaland and Christopher Myers
Multi-platinum Grammy Award-winning producer, Timbaland, and Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator Christopher Myers’s read-aloud book captures the sounds of the city at night. As a little Black boy gets ready for bed, he hears various sounds like the beat of passing cars and crash of thunder that provides a lively bedtime soundtrack.
Little Leaders: Exceptional Men in Black History by Vashti Harrison
New York Times bestselling illustrator Vashti Harrison, who has illustrated a number of other books on this list, brings this book which celebrates Black men in history who fought for what they believe in. From athletes, authors, musicians, and politicians, this book shows children to believe in their dreams and know that they can also take on the world.
How High the Moon by Karyn Parsons
Karyn Parsons, best known for her role as Hilary Banks on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, wrote this beautiful funny yet bittersweet tale of growing up in Jazz Age America. 12-year-old Ella discovers her family’s secrets while in Boston for Christmas in 1944 and then experiences the arrest of one of her classmates. A book for older kids, it’s a story about finding and fighting for your place in the world.
Chocolate Me! by Taye Diggs
Award-winning actor Taye Diggs collaborated with acclaimed illustrator Shane W. Evans to bring Chocolate Me!, a picture book about how it feels to be teased for being different. This little boy’s skin is darker and his hair is curlier and he tells his mother how he wishes he could be like everyone else at his school. This book encourages parents to continue to tell their kids to love themselves as they are.
Boitumelo Masihleho is a South African digital content creator. She graduated with a Bachlor of Arts from Rhodes University in Journalism and Media Studies and Politics and International Studies.
She's an experienced multimedia journalist who is committed to writing balanced, informative and interesting stories on a number of topics. Boitumelo has her own YouTube channel where she shares her love for affordable beauty and lifestyle content.