As a mom to four African American children, I’ve been hard pressed to find great kids’ books that feature black characters (at least in our local library). They’re there, but it’s hard to find them, unless you have a few author names to start with.
I strongly feel it’s important for my kids to “see” themselves in what they read, especially when it comes to reading about history or receiving positive messages about themselves.
So – without further ado – here are 31 African American story books for you and your kids to explore this school year! The books are geared toward kids aged 3 to 12 and include fiction, historical fiction, and nonfiction selections.
If you enjoy these stories, check out our list of must-read black history books for kids!
31 African American Story Books for Kids
1. The Toothpaste Millionaire by Jean Merrill
2. The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles
3. Tommy Traveler in the World of Black History by Eloise Greenfield
4. Duke Ellington: The Piano Prince and His Orchestra by Andrea Davis Pinkney
5. The Colors of Us by Karen Katz
6. Lola at the Library by Anna McQuinn
7. I Love My Hair! by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley
8. Julian’s Glorious Summer by Ann Cameron
9. The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
10. Miami Jackson Gets It Straight by Patricia McKissack
11. The Buried Bones Mystery by Sharon M. Draper
12. Moja Means One: Swahili Counting Book by Muriel and Tom Feelings
13. STAT: Standing Tall and Talented #1 by Amar’e Stoudemire
14. Donovan’s Word Jar by Monalisa Degross
15. I’m a Pretty Little Black Girl! by Betty K. Bynum
Thanks-this is great! I was just thinking the other day about how hard it is to find books with non-white characters. We are white, but I want to expose my children to all types of characters and races. I want them to read books with characters who don’t always look like them. And I was also thinking how that must be frustrating for non-white parents because, I agree, children should also have books with characters in which they can see themselves. I’ve learned from my sister, a middle school literature teacher, that its hugely problematic in the publishing world-a novel will be about a person of color and yet, the publishers will put a white person on the cover. It’s ridiculous. But, thanks for this list! I’ll be sharing it.
Great collection! I’ll have to look for these at the library. All kids need to see diversity in the stories they read!
Kelly Greenawalt says
I’m write children’s books featuring black protagonists. Princess Truly and The Hungry Bunny Problem, Princess Truly and The Courageous Cape Chase, Princess Truly in I am Truly, and The Freckled Speckled Rainbow Dog Salon. If you are interested in reviewing any of these, hit me up on FB. I would love to send you a free digital review copy.
Selena Robinson says
Awesome! Send me an email at email@example.com! 🙂