The best way to change the story is to change the storyteller. The people who wrote novels and scripts in Hollywood aren’t the ones being under-represented and illustrated in the shadows. The illustrations have little representation for their readers that are people of color. Thankfully in recent years, authors of color have written literature with ethic characters in children’s books that showcase talents for their community.
Black people have influenced fashion and culture but have low imagery in literature. Black children should see themselves in literature. The aforementioned will change the children’s perspective on reading and inspire them to achieve more. Here are ten books by black authors for black children that shows them in the creativity of the book.
A Computer Called Katherine by Suzanne Slade and Veronica Miller Jamison
The inspiring true story of mathematician Katherine Johnson–made famous by the award-winning film Hidden Figures–who counted and computed her way to NASA and helped put a man on the moon!
Hair Love by Matthew Cherry
It’s up to Daddy to give his daughter an extra-special hairstyle in this story of self-confidence and the love between fathers and daughters.
Zuri knows her hair is beautiful, but it has a mind of its own. It kinks, coils, and curls every which way. Mum always does Zuri’s hair just the way she likes it – so when Daddy steps in to style it for an extra special occasion, he has a lot to learn. But he LOVES his Zuri, and he’ll do anything to make her – and her hair – happy.
Tender and empowering, Hair Love is an ode to loving your natural hair – and a celebration of daddies and daughters everywhere.
Sulwe by Lupita Nyong’o and Vashti Harrison
Sulwe has skin the color of midnight. She is darker than everyone in her family. She is darker than anyone in her school. Sulwe just wants to be beautiful and bright, like her mother and sister. Then a magical journey in the night sky opens her eyes and changes everything.
I Am Unique by Jennifer Vassel
“I Am Unique!“ is a story about self-love and sharing your unique gifts with the masses. Erin is the main character of the story. She has a birthmark and a passion for acting. Erin wants to try out for the leading role in her school’s play, but when her best friend questions whether she would suit the role because of her birthmark, she has to decide if she’s going to let a perceived “flaw” get in the way of her dream.
This story lives within all of us. Whether it is a birthmark like Erin’s, crooked teeth, or even something we can’t physically see, we all have something about us that could trigger insecurities. When we live in a time where media largely influences our perceptions of beauty, esteem, and success, we have to be sure that young girls know it’s okay to be who they truly are.
Brown Boy Joy by Dr. Thomishia Booker
This book is filled with all the things little brown boys love.
Dream big, little one by Vashti Harrison
This beautifully illustrated board book edition of instant bestseller Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History showcases women who changed the world and is the perfect goodnight book to inspire big dreams.
Homecoming by La-Donia Alford- Jefferies
There’s nothing like an HBCU homecoming! This shows the culture of an HBCU and the greatness of attending it every year.
Not Quite Snow White by Ebony Glenn and Harper Collin
Tameika is a girl who belongs on the stage. She loves to act, sing, and dance—and she’s pretty good at it, too. So when her school announces their Snow White musical, Tameika auditions for the lead princess role.
Crown: Ode to the Fresh Cut By Derrick Barnes
The barbershop is where the magic happens. Boys go in as lumps of clay and, with princely robes draped around their shoulders, a dab of cool shaving cream on their foreheads, and a slow, steady cut, they become royalty. That crisp yet subtle line makes boys sharper, more visible, more aware of every great thing that could happen to them when they look good: lesser grades turn into As; girls take notice; even a mother’s hug gets a little tighter. Everyone notices.
A fresh cut makes boys fly.
This rhythmic, read-aloud title is a celebration of the way boys feel when they leave the barber’s chair.
I got the rhythm by Connie Schofield-Morrison
On a simple trip to the park, the joy of music overtakes a mother and daughter. The little girl hears a rhythm coming from the world around her- from butterflies to street performers, and ice-cream sellers, everything is musical! She sniffs, snaps, and shakes her way into the heart of the beat, finally busting out in an impromptu dance, which all the kids join in on! Award-winning illustrator Frank Morrison and Connie Schofield-Morrison, capture the beat of the street, to create a rollicking read that will get any kid in the mood to boogie.