11 Children’s Books That Celebrate Being Black

hello-brittnee-black-history-month-black-children-books

As a new mom, I’m planning on all the things I need to teach Cannon especially black culture. We live in a world where we are all different, and those differences should be accepted with kindness. As Black History Month comes to an end, I know that Black History doesn’t end and I have a lot to teach Cannon.

I’m excited about it.

Especially as more and more people continue to author books on Black History and African-Americans. I love it. On my baby registry, I made sure to register for books that would highlight my child’s blackness because he is black. And, he has curly hair and African-American features that have been made into jokes.

Growing up, there weren’t tons of books with a character that I could relate to. I didn’t have books that embraced my curly hair or my background. And, I never knew to imagine these characters in other ways besides how they were depicted on the cover. Shame on me for not making books my own imaginative world.

For Cannon, there are tons of books in the Children’s space that focus on race and ethnicity. Tons of books that I want to line the walls of my child’s room with. I don’t have them all which is what I figured out after I finally assembled his bookshelf and put his books on the shelf. I have one book.

That one book has led me to search for books that I want to buy my son. It has led me on a journey to stock his shelves with books that represent him. That is what I’m writing this post to share with other parents the books I have found.

Now, I want to say this list isn’t just for black parents. If you’re all about teaching your child about the differences in the world, please indulge. If you’re on the right side of history, do your thing and get a book, or two, or all of them like me.

Here are the books that are currently on my list and what I plan to buy Cannon:

hello-brittnee-black-history-month-black-children-books

Dear Black Boy by Martellus Bennett

What I love about Martellus Bennett is that he keeps it real. And, he does that with this book. He lets the young boys know that you don’t have to be an athlete or rapper to succeed. I feel like this is essential for that black community as some see this as a way out of their situation. He highlights on all the things that these young men can be, and I want that for Cannon. I want him to know that he can be anything that he wants to be and I’ll support it.

ABC I Love Me by Miriam Muhammad

Once again, I am all about promoting my child to love himself and his differences. I want him to love the skin that he is in and feel accepted. I love the message of ABC I Love Me which focuses on self-love and positive affirmations. Cannon should never be ashamed of who he is, and I want him to be proud of himself in all forms. I can’t wait for this book to arrive and line his shelves.

Brown Boy, Brown Boy What Can You Be? By Ameshia Arthur

This is another book that has positive messages for children of color. I love that this book focuses on children being able to obtain their career or goals. It’s vital that we instill in children that if you believe you can do it, you can do it. It’s great exposure for children to know that there are so many jobs that they can take on.

Brown Boy Joy by Dr. Thomishia Book

This book is perfect for molding a positive mindset for children of color. I’m all about joy and my son being happy, so this title captivated me. I know Black Boy Joy is something we see in the media with Chance the Rapper or Spike Lee winning his Oscar and I think we need to continue to highlight the joy of little black boys and men. We need to let them know that it’s okay to share your happiness and to highlight your achievements.

I am Enough by Grace Byers

Yes, there’s a little girl on the cover, but nonetheless, Cannon is enough. I think all black children should read this book and know that they are enough. They are loved, and they are magnificent. They deserve to be inclusive and featured in books. I love that it highlights that it’s okay to be different and it’s okay that we don’t agree on everything. The reinforcement of acceptance with one’s self and others. It’s timeless.

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison

I have adored this book series since it came out. I love that it highlights women and their amazing achievements. Many people shy away from books that don’t represent their gender, but I think it’s important that boys know the great things that women have accomplished. The series of these books are informative, and as a parent, you learn, too!

Please, Baby, Please, by Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee

I love that this book is repetitive and has a rhythm. It regularly includes “please” which I think is a great teaching mechanism for young children. It focuses on tantrums and toddler moments which I enjoy. I love that the character is a little brown girl and that can resonate with my child when he begins to notice that not everyone is the same on the outside.

Dad, Who Will I Be? By G.Todd Taylor

Here is another book that explores the different goals and careers that a child can have. And, another character that is brown and relatable for my child. It focuses on a father’s guidance for his son which I think it essential. I want to encourage the relationship between Cannon and Chase so I find that this book would be great for them to read together.

When God Made You by Paul Turner

This book is beautiful. The illustrations capture your attention and pull you in. What I like about this book is that it encourages children to be who God made them. I know faith is touchy for some people, but I want Cannon to be the person that God has destined him to be. I love that this book represents his skin tone and it can be relatable. The big words won’t be understood so early on, but as he gets older, I know he’ll love this book.

Bippity Bop Barbershop by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley

This book celebrates the African-American identity. It focuses on a young boy’s first trip to the barbershop and the support he gets along the way because he is scared. I love this theme, absolutely love it because it is relatable for little brown boys. It pulls in a part of everyday life like going to the barbershop and talking about that experience.

Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwell

Gaia Cornwell wrote this fantastic book that is fun to follow along with for children. Jabari Jumps is about Jabari gaining the courage to jump off the diving board and his father encouraging and supporting him. I think this message theme is important because children need encouragement rather than being praised. Encourage them to do wonderful beautiful things rather than tell them good job – although, this is great, too.

As we wrap up Black History Month, I hope you remember that Black History is every day.

Celebrate your culture and have pride in yourself. Instead of instilling hate on things we can not change, teach them about kindness.

Don’t be dismissive of the idea that people of color teaching their children early on is a terrible idea. If you can’t relate, you don’t have a say.

Take the chance to teach your child that our differences make us great and make us beautiful. Let your child know that there are people that don’t look like them and that is okay. That is amazing that we are all different.

Enjoy these books as Cannon, and I will be enjoying them.

What are some books that you love to read to your children? 

hello-brittnee-black-history-month-black-children-books

Help your chlid celebrate themselves by introducing books that represent them and their history. Here are books that celebrate blackness and inclusivity!

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2 Comments

  1. Caylin
    March 5, 2019 / 12:25 pm

    This is a wonderful resource! I work in a school district and this would be nice to share with other teachers.

  2. March 6, 2019 / 4:34 pm

    I love this list! I don’t have any babies right now but I definitely want to have baby books that celebrate being black and having curly hair. Having that around the babies is so important!

    -xo, Makaela @ Uniquely Mickie

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