Celebrating a Black Christmas & Kwanzaa With Books for Kids 🎄 ~ #BlackBooksMatter #ChristmasInJuly

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Looking for Christmas books with black main characters? You may have noticed that I didn’t use the term African American Christmas books in my title because it’s a term that, while it may sound politically correct, really isn’t. For example. I’m black, but I’m also Caribbean, and my kids would say that they’re Caribbean-American as well. Being black doesn’t mean that you’re automatically African American.

black Christmas books

I’ve been on roll recently with my black books matter movement. I’ve made the tees, got Madison more involved in reading, and have added more black books by black authors to my wish list than I needed to. While they aren’t a necessity, having books that are a representation of you truly does matter. And while it’s easy to find books representing kids of color in fiction and non-fiction, finding Christmas books for African American kids is an entirely different ballgame.

I had a few at home that I purchased years ago for Madison but decided that it was time to up my game and add a few more to our library. However, it was a challenge finding Christmas books for kids of color, but all wasn’t lost, as I’m hoping that a few that I’ve added to my Amazon Storefront will come back in stock and we’ll be able to own them as well.

So if you’re on the hunt for Christmas books representing African Americans, people of color, or black kids, however, you may want to phrase it. I have a few suggestions in mind.

Christmas in July: Celebrating a Black Christmas & Kwanzaa With Books for Kids


Age Range: 4–8 years

This jazz-inspired reinvention of The Nutcracker is a worthy tribute to the dreamlike wonder and magic of the Christmas season.

In this original retelling, set in New York City during the height of the Harlem Renaissance, one little girl finds her voice as a musician thanks to her enchanting adventures with a magical toy.

T. E. McMorrow, a first-time picture book author, and James Ransome, a winner of the Coretta Scott King Award, vividly bring to life this traditional holiday tale. An author’s note at the end provides additional information about the history of the Harlem Renaissance, and about the author’s inspiration for this musical retelling.

    2. I GOT THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT by Connie Schofield-Morrison

    Age Range: 3–6 years

    It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and a mother and daughter are enjoying the sights and sounds of the holiday season. The little girl hears sleigh bells ringing and carolers singing. She smells chestnuts roasting–CRUNCH! CRUNCH! CRUNCH!–and sees the flashing lights of the department store windows–BLING! BLING! BLING! She spreads the spirit of giving wherever she goes. And when she reaches Santa, she tells him her Christmas wish–for peace and love everywhere, all the days of the year.

    Christmas in July: Celebrating a Black Christmas & Kwanzaa With Books for Kids

      3. AMAZING PEACE: A CHRISTMAS POEM by Maya Angelou

      Age Range: 6+ years

      Celebrate Christmas with the joyous poetry of the incomparable Maya Angelou.

      Angelou’s beautiful, moving, and beloved poem, which she first read at the 2005 White House tree-lighting ceremony, now comes alive as a fully illustrated children’s book, celebrating the promise of peace in the holiday season. In this simple story, a family joins with their community—rich and poor, black and white, Christian, Muslim, and Jew—to celebrate the holidays.

        4. A PIECE OF BLACK CAKE FOR SANTA by Yolanda T. Marshall

        Femi and her friends planned to leave some traditional Caribbean treats out for Santa, including Black Cake. The children shared warm wishes for their favorite dishes while enjoying winter activities at the Christmas fair.


          Age Range: 5–7 years

          Written by teen Noland Nixon, this book is sure to spread joy and cheer to your family storytimes. The Night Before Christmas is an African American retelling of Clement Moore’s classic holiday poem, which is complemented by illustrations of an African American family. Let’s celebrate African American teen writers and enjoy the reading of a revised Christmas classic.

          Christmas in July: Celebrating a Black Christmas & Kwanzaa With Books for Kids

            6. THE DAY SANTA GOT SICK by Deanne Samuels

            What would happen if Santa couldn’t drive his sleigh on Christmas Eve? The Day Santa Got Sick tells the story of what happens when a little girl elf and Mrs. Claus come up with a solution to deliver toys for Christmas after Santa gets sick. This multicultural Christmas story will bring joy to all your little ones who look for Santa during the holiday season.

              7. THE LITTLE MATCH GIRL by Hans Christian Andersen

              Age Range: 5–8 years

              The luminous art of three-time Caldecott Honor recipient Jerry Pinkney transforms the nineteenth-century Danish girl of Andersen’s tale into a child plucked straight from America’s melting pot, shedding new light on the invisibility of those with low incomes among the prosperous-a circumstance as familiar in Andersen’s day as it is in our own.

                8. SILENT NIGHT (The Christmas Choir) by Lara Hawthorne

                Age Range: 3–6 years

                Silent night, holy night

                All is calm, all is bright

                Celebrate the magic of Christmas with this beautifully illustrated book, based on the world’s best-loved carol. Rediscover the Nativity Story in all its glory—from quaking shepherds to heaven-sent angels—as the song lyrics are brought to life on every spread. The world’s diversity is reflected in a cast of characters with a range of skin tones. A gorgeous book for all the family to share during the festive season.

                Christmas in July: Celebrating a Black Christmas & Kwanzaa With Books for Kids

                  9. GRANDMA’S GIFT by Eric Velasquez

                  Age Range: 4–8 years

                  After they prepare their traditional Puerto Rican Christmas celebration, Eric and Grandma visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art for a school project, where he sees a painting by Diego Velasquez and realizes for the first time that he could be an artist when he grows up. Grandma witnesses his fascination, and presents Eric with the perfect Christmas gift-a set of paints-to use in his first steps toward becoming an artist. A heart-warming story of self-discovery, Grandma’s Gift is a celebration of the special bond between a grandparent and grandchild.

                    10. THE ALL-I’LL-EVER-WANT CHRISTMAS DOLL by Patricia C. McKissack

                    Age Range: 4–8 years

                    Christmas always comes to Nella’s house, but Santa Claus brings gifts only once in a while. That’s because it’s the Depression and Nella’s family is poor. Even so, Nella’s hoping that this year she and her two sisters will get a beautiful Baby Betty doll.

                    On Christmas morning, the girls are beside themselves with excitement! There is Baby Betty, in all her eyelash-fluttering magnificence. “Mine!” Nella shouts, and claims the doll for herself. But soon she discovers that Baby Betty isn’t nearly as much fun as her sisters. Would it be more fun to share this very best gift with them after all?

                      11. CHRISTMAS MAKES ME THINK by Tony Medina

                      Age Range: 4–7 years

                      The young narrator of Christmas Makes Me Think is thrilled with the holiday’s prospects: the presents he’s wishing for, the big tree he’s hoping to get, and the cake he’ll bake with his grandmother. But he begins to wonder. What about the people who don’t get presents or don’t even have a place to live? He soon realizes that he can make a difference by giving some of his presents to kids who have none.

                      Christmas in July: Celebrating a Black Christmas & Kwanzaa With Books for Kids

                      12. A TREASURY OF AFRICAN AMERICAN CHRISTMAS STORIES by Bettye Collier-Thomas

                      This landmark collection features writings from well-known black writers, activists, and visionaries such as Pauline Hopkins, Langston Hughes, and John Henrik Clarke, along with literary gems from rediscovered writers. Originally published in African American newspapers, periodicals, and journals between 1880 and 1953, these enchanting Christmas tales are part of the black literary tradition that flourished after the Civil War.

                      The short stories and poems in this collection reflect the Christmas experiences of everyday African Americans and explore familial and romantic love, faith, and more serious topics such as racism, violence, poverty, and racial identity. Featuring the best stories and poems from previous editions along with new material, including “The Sermon in the Cradle” by W. E. B. Du Bois, A Treasury of African American Christmas Stories celebrates a rich storytelling tradition and will be cherished by readers for years to come.

                        13. WHAT A MORNING!: THE CHRISTMAS STORY IN BLACK SPIRITUALS by John Langstaff

                        Age Range: 4–8 years

                        Includes five illustrated spirituals dealing with the birth of Christ, with printed music for voice and piano

                        Christmas in July: Celebrating a Black Christmas & Kwanzaa With Books for Kids

                          14. A VERY NOISY CHRISTMAS by Tim Thornborough

                          Age Range: 1–4 years

                          Some think that Christmas was a “Silent Night”. Far from it. It was filled with shouting, singing, and screaming! It was as noisy as any of our Christmas celebrations.

                          This fun and fresh retelling of the Christmas story comes with sound effects so that children can join in as parents read to them. But it also shows children that at the heart of the Christmas story is something we should all be quiet and see: God’s son Jesus was born, so that we can be friends with God forever. Now that’s something worth shouting about!

                            15. WHO BUILT THE STABLE?: A NATIVITY POEM by Ashley Bryan

                            Age Range: 4–8 years

                            Riding in an open Jeep across the plains of Africa, beloved and nationally acclaimed author and illustrator Ashley Bryan found himself comparing the terrain to Jerusalem, and the bumpy journey to that of Mary’s travel on a donkey. And he came up with a question: Who built the manger where Mary and Joseph found shelter?

                            The answer is conveyed in this beautifully crafted picture book that envisions a young boy, a shepherd and carpenter, both of whom, out of love and kindness, cleared the way for another shepherd and carpenter to be born on Christmas day. Who Built the Stable? is a celebration of Christmas, of the kindness of children, and of the new hope born with each new baby.

                            Christmas in July: Celebrating a Black Christmas & Kwanzaa With Books for Kids

                            And for good measure, we’re adding a few Kwanzaa books because it’s the official African American’s “Christmas”.

                              16. THE STORY OF KWANZAA by Donna L. Washington

                              Age Range: 4–8 years

                              It’s time for Kwanzaa!

                              Light the candles on the kinara! Fly the bendera, and tell stories from Africa! The Kwanzaa festival was originated by Dr. Maulana Karenga to honor the customs and history of African Americans.

                              The seven principles of Kwanzaa, called the Nguzo Saba, serve to remind African Americans of the struggles of the past, and also focus on present-day achievements and goals for the future.

                              The holiday fun continues with activities at the end of the book, including making your own cow-tail switch and baking benne cakes.

                                17. TOGETHER FOR KWANZAA by Juwanda G. Ford

                                Age Range: 3–7 years

                                Kwanzaa is Kayla’s favorite time of year. But this year, it looks as if a heavy snowstorm will keep her big brother, Khari, from getting home in time for the festivities! Will Khari miss the celebration completely? Or will Kayla and her brother somehow find a way to be together for Kwanzaa? A perfect introduction to Kwanzaa, this book will teach children all about the traditions and practices that make it a special winter holiday.

                                  18. SEVEN SPOOLS OF THREAD: A KWANZAA STORY by Angela Shelf Medearis

                                  Age Range: 3–7 years

                                  In an African village live seven brothers who make life miserable with their constant fighting. When their father dies, he leaves an unusual will: by sundown, the brothers must make gold out of seven spools of thread or they will be turned out as beggars.

                                  Christmas in July: Celebrating a Black Christmas & Kwanzaa With Books for Kids

                                  This list isn’t by far all the black Christmas books that are out there, but the ones that are currently in my library, as I try not to recommend books that I haven’t read or own. While my Amazon Storefront may have a lot more books, many of them are ones that I’m hoping to purchase one day. We hope our list of Black Christmas and Kwanzaa Books for Kids will get your own Christmas library started.

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