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My Favorite Books Celebrating African American Children



This is the month of love but a lot of people tend to forget that it is also Black History Month. It's also no secret that I'm of African American descent. However as most African American children, especially the ones that are of Caribbean parentage, there is also a mixture of heritage. For example, my great-great grandmother is from the European country of Portugal and is as white as can be. However I totally consider myself Caribbean-American as I like to say. My roots are deeply embedded in the Caribbean which I truly love. I love my chocolate complexion which I won't have to tan and I love my hair. Whenever I go out with mommy I usually get a lot of questions about my hair. Most people think that because I'm black I should have the really tightly coiled kinky hair and they're usually surprised when it isn't. I constantly get asked "can I touch it?', it's hair, just maybe slightly different from yours but it's all mine and I LOVE it. I however wear extensions and not because I hate my hair but because it protects it. I wear them as a protective style to protect my hair from the elements. So in celebration of Black History Month I want to share with you a few of my favorite books celebrating African-American Children.


That's a picture of me totally unedited and without filter. I'm sure if mommy could edit a smile on there she would. She says that I don't smile as much as I could and I promise I'll try to this year. After all there are so much for me to do this year and I just know that it's all going to be great. I've already experienced New York City and in a very short while I'll be experiencing London, England. I can't wait. This however isn't about my year of adventure but about the books I love. So without further ado here there are. 



This is a story of Keyana and her mom who does their nightly ritual of combing out the tangles in her hair. Just like Keyana I can sometimes say that it hurts, but Keyana's mom explains to her that she should be proud of her hair and how lucky she was to have it. There is so much she can do. She can put it in a bun or even braid it into cornrows. Also like Keyana I love adding beads to my hair. Oh the things I can do! This story encourages African American children to feel good about their special hair and to be proud of their heritage.



Lola has really really REALLY big hair, much bigger than the other kids at her school, but that doesn't stop her from telling anyone who will listen just how much she LOVES her hair! It´s not always easy being a kid. Designed to boost self-esteem and build confidence, this beautifully illustrated picture book is aimed at boys and girls who may need a reminder from time to time that it's okay to look different from the other kids at their school.



This book introduces adorable Mia, who wakes with her hair just-a-going every which-a-ways! With her abundant energy and joy leading the way, readers follow Mia as she plays with her friends who are all shades, shapes and sizes. There's tall Kia, Keisha the reader, Charlotte her best friend, Dina Rose-Marie the artist, Imani the dancer, Anna who loves sports, Ruby the singer, and honey-haired Tracy. Mia finds that Pretty is within herself and her friends, and being pretty is way beyond what the mirror shows.



Emi is a creative 7-year-old girl with a BIG imagination. In this story Emi shares a positive message about her Curly, Coily, Cotton Candy Hair and what she likes most about it. The vibrant illustrations and fun story teach basic natural hair care techniques and tips in a playful and memorable way.


Chocolate Me

The boy is teased for looking different than the other kids. His skin is darker, his hair curlier. He tells his mother he wishes he could be more like everyone else. And she helps him to see how beautiful he really, truly is.


Happy

I just had to add this book in. While it doesn't have an African American theme it is written by another African American artist and this song was such a hit over the summer. I love singing along to the words since the words are the acclaimed hit song. It will bring out the "happy" in you.


While there are lots more books, these were just the few that truly stood out to me. If you're African American and you have kids wanting to be different, or not embracing their color or hair, these books show that it's ok to be different. It's ok to Love The Skin You're In!

Let's discuss: Have you read any of these books or are there any other you can add to our list? 

Annmarie John
54 Comments
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54 comments:

  1. Yay I love this list! Those are wonderful books and although I haven't read them all, I'm sure I will.

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    1. They are all great books and I have to say my favorite is I Love My Hair.

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  2. What a great collection of books. Glad Madison likes them.

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  3. I didn't know there was a 'Happy' book. I want to read that now too! Books are an amazing way to teach and inform. You've put up some good selections here!

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    1. Thank you Rosey and yes the Happy Book is awesome. We could never "read" it, we always have to sing it. :)

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  4. I've read Taye Diggs Chocolate Me and he also has a new one called Mixed Me which is awesome too. I actually want to pick up Pharrell's Happy. I just love the song and I know the book is amazing.

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    1. I haven't read Mixed Me but I plan on picking it up since technically we are mixed. :)

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  5. Oh I love that,Curly, Coli, Cotton Candy Hair, two of our favorites are I like Myself and I love My Hair, while not African American focused per say, I like myself features a brown skinned curly haired cutie and the I love my hair features a curly haired girl, but it's the themes that make me happy and my daughter will be able to look at the characters and recognize that she shares common characteristics. Anything that supports, empowers and encourages my girl to embrace her authentic uniqueness is a win!

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    1. Oh I don't think I've seen I Like Myself. Thank you for that suggestion Rose. I will be sure to check that out and you're right, these books do empower and encourage young girls no matter what race to love themselves.

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  6. I love the list! We haven't ready any and I would add one that we enjoy a lot called The Magic Poof. It is about a little girl with big poofy hair and such a cute read. Im going to have to find a couple of these to read to my dauhgter

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    1. Oh I would have to get that one as well. Maybe I might check it out at the library if it's there before we purchase.

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  7. Love this! I have a day home in my house and finding books with kids of different cultures is ridiculously hard. I'm going to see if our library has these in their possession so I can read them to my kids.

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    1. I'm so happy I was able to suggest a few books for you.

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  8. This is a lovely sentiment and celebration of Black Afro Carribean culture, I am Portuguese and naturally have very curly thick hair so this book would have been perfect for me when I was younger. You have gorgeous hair and should be proud of your heritage!

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    1. Thank you Ana. It's funny that someone read it who's actually Portuguese. As I mentioned, my mom's grandmother was from Portugal and came to the Caribbean where she fell in love and got married. I've never been to Portugal to meet that side of the family but I would so love to.

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  9. These are all great books. Love the title, "I love my hair!" Doesn't matter your ethnicity, we all want what we don't have.

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    1. That is so true and these books encourage you to love the skin you're in.

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  10. What a fantastic collection of books! I am going to have to look for these at the library!

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    1. I hope you're able to find a few if not all of them.

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  11. ahhhh these books look adorable and glad they are something that your kiddo enjoys. any time we can find books are kids like is a bonus, right? i remember my daughter having me read her faves over & over ;)

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    1. I totally agree. I try and find books that my daughter can relate to but we read all books.

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  12. These are great books. The girls are just starting with letters, but I will keep these books in mind.

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    1. If your girls know the Happy song then I would definitely recommend that one.

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  13. If you ask me books are always a great way to celebrate practically anything! My family would agree.

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    1. I totally agree Jill and we sure love to celebrate.

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  14. such a great selection and we should all just accept and love ourselves
    http://siniciliya.com/

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    1. And that's what these books teach, acceptance of ourselves.

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  15. This books are so cute! I especially loved the one about the little girl with cotton candy hair LOVE how cute the illustrations are

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    1. That is surely a great book and one of our favorites for sure.

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  16. These are fabulous books. My fav title is, Big Hair, Don't Care. I mean that just says it all.

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    1. Hahaha I say this all the time so loving the title as well.

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  17. This are lovely books! It looks like a great selection of books to keep in mind when i go to the library

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    1. And I hope you're able to find them at the library.

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  18. This is lovely! I have thick curly hair as I'm from Brazil and I wish I had read these whenn I was young.

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    1. Well the good thing is that you're never too old to read so you can possibly find them at the library and give them a read.

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  19. I love children book that embraces diversity! The fourth book 'Emmy's....' has wonderful illustration (others as well, but this one stole my heart right away).

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    1. We love that as well because my daughter's hair totally looks like that whenever I take it out. :)

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  20. What a wonderful post! These look like such cute books.

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    1. Thank you Amber and maybe you can find one or two to read.

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  21. What a great list of books! I have been trying to think of books for my kids for this month - we homeschool - and these will be perfect, thank you!

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    1. I'm glad I was able to suggest a few books for you. :)

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  22. What a great list for us!!! I wish I had more of this books when I was little.

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    1. Oh I wish I had more of them when I was little too but I'm glad that they're now available for my own kids.

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  23. Great books!!! My sisters (adopted from Ethiopia) had "I Love My Hair" when they were younger!

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    1. That is awesome! What did it feel like to have a sister from another country?

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  24. What a great list! I absolutely love the photo of Happy and that big serious face :) Very cute!

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    1. LOL Donna, if you've noticed, Madison very rarely smiles, even when she's actually happy. :)

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  25. Great selection! I have never seen the Happy Book!

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    1. The Happy Book is fairly new but has been around for a while. You should check it out at your local B&N.

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  26. I had no idea that there was a Happy book. My kids just LOVE that song and I agree with you, I don't think I'd be able to read that book either. I'd be singing it too.

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    1. Oh yes it truly it hard to read that book. I'm not even sure it was possible.

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[name=AnnMarie John] [img=https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-X9gUeVik-ZY/WJjwNTOobII/AAAAAAABTJ4/qEhU0n62_AIo-j6-6LA2OFOr44lKCHASwCLcB/s100/AnnMarie%2BJohn%2BHeadshot.JPG] [description=AnnMarie John is a lifestyle blogger, mom of 4, retired army veteran and a huge Disney lover. Formerly from the beautiful island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean and now living in colorful Colorado, she loves sharing her opinions on everything, crafting and food.] (facebook=http://www.facebook.com/theannmariejohn) (instagram=http://www.instagram.com/theannmariejohn) (twitter=http://www.twitter.com/theannmariejohn) (pinterest=http://www.pinterest.com/theannmariejohn) (email=mailto:annmarie@annmariejohn.com)

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