Children’s Books by Black Authors

Most parents have book shelves full of all sorts of children’s books. From The Rainbow Fish to Where the Wild Things Are, board books to classic illustrated books. Periodically taking stock of the variety of topics and authors represented on your kids’ shelves is a good way to ensure you have a diverse collection. Adding diversity of all kinds to your little one’s book collections helps grow empathetic and community-minded kids. It also helps them push back against any bias or prejudice they may experience or witness.

Racial diversity in both subject matter and author is one aspect of representation to consider adding to your shelves. Below are a few books by Black authors, broken down by approximate age groups. I’ve included links to read more about each book and encourage you to shop at a local bookstore whenever possible (bonus points if it’s Black-owned, like the Socialight Society bookstore in Lansing).

Lansing Mom is here to share our tried and true favorites. This post does contain affiliate links that help support our small business but every product is something we love! 

Infants and Toddlers

Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry 

“Zuri’s hair has a mind of its own. It kinks, coils, and curls every which way. Zuri knows it’s beautiful. 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.”

The ABCs of Black History by Rio Cortez

“Letter by letter, The ABCs of Black History celebrates a story that spans continents and centuries, triumph and heartbreak, creativity and joy.
It’s a story of big ideas––P is for Power, S is for Science and Soul. Of significant moments––G is for Great Migration. Of iconic figures––H is for Zora Neale Hurston, X is for Malcom X. It’s an ABC book like no other, and a story of hope and love.”

A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara

“A is for Activist is an ABC board book written and illustrated for the next generation of progressives: families who want their kids to grow up in a space that is unapologetic about activism, environmental justice, civil rights, LGBTQ rights, and everything else that activists believe in and fight for.”

Ages 3 and Up

I am Enough by Grace Byers

“This book is a gorgeous, lyrical ode to loving who you are, respecting others, and being kind to one another.” 

You Matter by Christian Robinson

“In this full, bright, and beautiful picture book, many different perspectives around the world are deftly and empathetically explored—from a pair of bird-watchers to the pigeons they’re feeding. Young readers will be drawn into the luminous illustrations inviting them to engage with the world in a new way and see how everyone is connected, and that everyone matters.”

Ages 6 and Up

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison 

“An important book for all ages, Little Leaders educates and inspires as it relates true stories of forty trailblazing black women in American history. Illuminating text paired with irresistible illustrations bring to life both iconic and lesser-known female figures of Black history such as abolitionist Sojourner Truth, pilot Bessie Coleman, chemist Alice Ball, politician Shirley Chisholm, mathematician Katherine Johnson, poet Maya Angelou, and filmmaker Julie Dash.” Also available is Little Legends: Exceptional Men in Black History.

A History of Me by Adrea Theodore

“An uplifting message of hope for the future and pride in your history, inspired by a mother’s experience of being the only Black child in her classroom.”

BLACK is a Rainbow Color by Ekua Holmes

“A child reflects on the meaning of being Black in this moving and powerful anthem about a people, a culture, a history, and a legacy that lives on.”

Ages 9 and Up

Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhoades

“A heartbreaking and powerful novel about a black boy killed by a police officer, drawing connections through history, from award-winning author Jewell Parker Rhodes.”

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor

“Set in Mississippi at the height of the Depression, this is the story of one family’s struggle to maintain their integrity, pride, and independence in the face of racism and social injustice. And it is also Cassie’s story—Cassie Logan, an independent girl who discovers over the course of an important year why having land of their own is so crucial to the Logan family, even as she learns to draw strength from her own sense of dignity and self-respect.”

A Good Kind of Trouble by Lisa Moore Ramee

“Twelve-year-old Shayla only wants to follow the rules. But now in middle school, she’s no longer sure what the rules are. Not with her friends and not with her classmates. Her sister’s involved in Black Lives Matter, which Shayla doesn’t think is for her. But after a protest, Shayla decides some rules are okay to break, and she starts wearing an armband to school in support of BLM. The principal announces that the armbands aren’t allowed, and Shayla’s given an ultimatum. Though Shayla’s always tried to avoid trouble, she might be in even more trouble if she can’t face her fear and do what she knows is right, even if someone else has decided it’s wrong.”

To add more diverse stories to your child’s bookshelf, check out this post.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.