In an effort to amplify Black voices during Black History Month, I came up with a list of the most beautiful children’s books written by Black authors that genuinely deserve to be on your family bookshelf.
These books will allow your kids to open their minds and celebrate their culture, beauty, and heritage through a solid selection of stories written and illustrated by Black authors and artists.
While we’ve shared numerous books for black children written by black authors in the past, and our lists are by no means extensive. There are numerous books written with black children in mind, even Christmas books. Here are just a few more.
Best Books for Kids Written by Black Authors
1. Did I tell You I Love You Today?
Deloris and Roslyn M. Jordan—mother and sister of NBA legend Michael Jordan—honor the bond we have with our family by reflecting on the various ways we express our love for them. The book Did I tell You I Love You Today?, focuses on an African-American mother’s love for her son and her amazing ability to show that love in different ways. Her feelings for her child are reflected in some of the most basic things like helping him get dressed, sending him off to school, and spending some time with him at the park. In the end, kids will learn to appreciate that a mother’s love has the ability to reach kids no matter how close or how far they happen to be.
2. A Sweet Smell of Roses
In A Sweet Smell of Roses, two little girls walk out of their house without their parents’ knowledge to witness a group of people preparing to march in the name of freedom with none other than Martin Luther King Jr himself. This book will inspire today’s youth to get involved in activism by learning more about the incredible contribution the civil rights movement has had and continues to have on society. The story was inspired by the thousands of young men and women who stood up for equality over the years and serves as a great reading foundation for the whole family.
3. Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope
This picture book biography of former US President Barack Obama follows the future leader as a youth as he makes his way through life. Readers will get to learn more about the places he has lived in and visited, like Hawaii, Chicago, Indonesia, and Kenya. Along the way, Obama discusses the importance of learning how to listen—a skill that became invaluable when he took office.
4. Something Beautiful
A young girl wants to look past her neighborhood’s mean vibes and the building she lives in, but she doesn’t know how to. One day, she finds inspiration in the word beautiful, which her teacher has written on the chalkboard. So, the girl goes on a mission to find something that’s beautiful in the area she lives in. When she goes to the diner, she gets served a beautiful fried fish sandwich, and when she goes to the fruit store, she gets offered a beautiful apple. As her search for Something Beautiful continues, she discovers there’s beauty in all sorts of things that surround her and realizes that they are the key to finding happiness.
5. The Lion & the Mouse
Can a lion and a mouse really get along? They sure can according to ‘The Lion & the Mouse,’ a picture book that follows Lion on an epic adventure. Along the way, he meets a mouse, an elephant with severe anxiety issues, and a gnat. Kids will not only learn some valuable life lessons but also discover some fantastic animal creatures along the way.
6. Nappy Hair
The story follows Brenda and the discovery of how her knotted-up, Nappy Hair became the way it is. The book was designed to help children of color embrace their unique hair in a positive and nurturing way through the use of gorgeous illustrations and Southern-style of communication. Along the way, the little ones will learn that their hair isn’t a curse but a spiral blessing that’s beautiful beyond words. So, it’s a definite must-have on your multicultural book collection.
7. Princess Cupcake Jones and the Missing Tutu
Like most kids her age, Princess Cupcake Jones likes making a mess. But when her favorite tutu vanishes, Cupcake learns why it’s important to tidy up one’s room and stay organized. In the process of cleaning things up, she not only finds her tutu, but other cool items as well. But the interesting thing about Princess Cupcake is the story behind her creation. Author Ylleya Fields was disappointed by the lack of Black characters in literature when she found herself shopping for modern African American books for children. So, she decided to create Cupcake Jones by blending her daughter’s physical and personality traits together and coming up with a unique character that’s as adorable as she is unforgettable.
8. Our Children Can Soar: A Celebration of Rosa, Barack, and the Pioneers of Change
Looking for a book that is inspirational as heck? Well, “Our Children Can Soar: A Celebration of Rosa, Barack, and the Pioneers of Change” is the perfect combination of history, poetry, and illustration. It will take the little ones on a journey through the US Civil Rights Movement while teaching them about the Civil Rights pioneers who paved the way to the first US Black president’s election. It’s an excellent way to introduce children to US history and some of the most famous African-American figures thus far.
9. You Matter
‘You Matter’ is an illustration book full of captivating images that introduce kids to different points of view from around the world. In the process, kids will discover how everyone and everything is connected, no matter what shape, size, or color they are, and why every living creature is important and must be respected.
10. Parker Looks Up
In ‘Parker Looks Up,’ a preschooler named Parker Curry looks up and lays eyes on a portrait of Michelle Obama at the National Portrait Gallery. The experience is mind-blowing because she gets to see someone like her being represented as an empowering and inspirational figure. In that moment, she sees the kind of woman she aspires to be someday. The story is based on author Jessica Curry’s real-life daughter, who had a similar experience. The only difference being that someone snapped a photo of Parker during her awestruck moment and posted it online. The image went viral and eventually caught the attention of Michelle Obama, who got to meet the little girl in real life. Curry wrote the book in the hopes of spreading a message of hope to all kids that anyone can achieve greatness no matter what their gender, ethnicity, or skin color is.
Add a few or all of these books for kids written by black authors to your collection today as you continue to celebrate Black History Month.