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10 Children’s Books With African American Characters

February 2, 2017

I’ve tried to be mindful of Piper’s book collection since I started registering when I was pregnant by including books that show the diverse world that we live in. It’s important to us that she realizes at a young age that we all have different skin tones and colors. I was listening to a podcast interview with Grace Lin, the children’s book author who talked about her quest to read her daughter a book every other night that didn’t have a main character who was white.  She talked about how difficult it was to sustain at that pace finding books that have children of different races in them. I started thinking about actually how few books we have in comparison to the hundreds that line our shelves and I’m really going to make it a priority to change, especially now that Piper is getting older and more aware.

In honor of Black History Month, (which started yesterday) I’m sharing a few wonderful books you should consider adding to your collection!

The Snowy Day by Jack Ezra Keats: This become has become a classic and they are even using the cover on US stamps this year!

Peekaboo Morning by Rachel Isadora: A peekaboo book that babies will enjoy.

Whose Knees Are These? by Jabari Asim: A fun and engaging book that toddlers will love — I enjoyed reading the Amazon reviews of this book and seeing how many parent’s love it.

Lily Brown’s Paintings by Angela Johnson: A happy story of a little girl and her paintbrush, painting the world around her.

Full, Full Full of Love by Trish Cooke: This book focuses on family dinner at Grannie’s house and the special relationship between Jay Jay and his grandmother.

Do Like Kyla by Angela Johnson: Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, right? In this book a little girl imitates her sister all day.

Last Stop On Market Street by Matt de la Pena: This is one of Piper’s favorite books right now – it follows a little boy and his grandmother on their bus trip home and takes a look at all the interesting people they see along the way.

Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold: Told from a little girl’s perspective ‘flying’ over Harlem in 1939 this is a Caldecott Honor Book every child should hear.

Bigmama’s by Donald Crews: Follow a family on their train trip to Florida to enjoy summer at Bigmama’s house!

Whistle For Willie by Jack Ezra Keats: Another one of Piper’s favorite’s about a boy and his dog traveling through his city, with  beautiful illustrations!

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  1. Kelly

    March 5th, 2017 at 3:58 am

    Such a great post! We love some of these and hadn’t heard of others, but are adding them to our multicultural library — a must!