I can’t get enough of picture books by Black authors — and honestly, any children’s books by Black authors! Making this list brought me so much joy (look at those covers! And the breadth of stories!). This delightful list features stories by Black authors from the US, but also a few of my favorites by Nigerian authors and other authors of African descent.
I’ve separated the list into fiction and non-fiction. You’ll find stories about self-love, Black hair, Black joy, dance, food, bedtime, family, and so much more. Happy reading!
Best Picture Books by Black Authors
Table of Contents
Best Picture Books by Black Authors: Fiction
Here are some great fiction picture books by Black authors:
Daddy Speaks Love
Published: January 4, 2022
What does a daddy do? From day one, this daddy speaks love to his little one. And along with that love, his words and actions speak many other things, too: like truth, joy, comfort, and pride. Like many dads, he answers a million questions and tries to make sure that days are full of fun adventures, giggles, and hugs. Dads are good at scaring away imaginary monsters, and honest about how to confront the real ones too. They set an example for the future, speaking out for equality and justice, while sharing lessons from the past. But most of all, daddies encourage their young ones to fight for a better world, with the comfort of knowing their dads are right beside them. Daddy Speaks Love speaks to that everlasting bond between children and their fathers and is a perfect gift for special occasions including Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day, birthdays, baby showers, and more!
Published: May 14, 2019
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. A perfect gift for special occasions including Father’s Day, birthdays, baby showers, and more!
Me & Mama
Published: August 25, 2020
On a rainy day when the house smells like cinnamon and Papa and Luca are still asleep, when the clouds are wearing shadows and the wind paints the window with beads of water, I want to be everywhere Mama is.
With lyrical prose and a tender touch, the Caldecott and Coretta Scott King Honor Book Mama and Me is an ode to the strength of the bond between a mother and a daughter as they spend a rainy day together.
The Little Mermaid
Published: November 3, 2020
Melody, the littlest sea princess, is not content just to sing in the choir of mermaids like her sisters. She is an explorer who wonders about what lies above the water’s surface . . . especially the young girl she has spied from a distance. To meet her requires a terrible sacrifice: she trades her beautiful voice for a potion that gives her legs, so that she may live on land instead. It seems like a dream come true at first. But when trouble stirs beneath the ocean, Melody faces another impossible choice — stay with her friend, or reclaim her true identity and save her family.
Legendary artist Jerry Pinkney’s singular reinvention of this tale about love and sacrifice empowers young, twenty-first century girls with the strong message that “you should never give up your voice . . . for anyone.”
Welcome to the Party
Published: May 5, 2020
Reminiscent of favorites such as The Wonderful Things You’ll Be by Emily Winfield Martin, I’ve Loved You Since Forever by Hoda Kotb, and Take Heart, My Child by Ainsley Earhardt, Welcome to the Party is an upbeat celebration of new life that you’ll want to enjoy with your tiny guest of honor over and over again.
A great gift for all occasions, especially Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, baby showers, and birthdays.
Soul Food Sunday
Published: November 16, 2021
On Sundays, everyone gathers at Granny’s for Soul Food.
But today, I don’t go to the backyard or the great room.
I follow Granny instead.
“You’re a big boy now,” Granny says. “Time for you to learn.”
At Granny’s, Sunday isn’t Sunday without a big family gathering over a lovingly prepared meal. Old enough now, our narrator is finally invited to help cook the dishes for the first time: He joins Granny in grating the cheese, cleaning the greens, and priming the meat for Roscoe Ray’s grill. But just when Granny says they’re finished, her grandson makes his own contribution, sweetening this Sunday gathering—and the many more to come.
Evocatively written and vividly illustrated, this mouthwatering story is a warm celebration of tradition and coming together at a table filled with love and delicious food.
Shhh! The Baby’s Asleep
Published: July 6, 2021
Baby is finally asleep. But everyone is much too loud! Can Mom, Daddy, Grammy, Pop Pop, Shae, Dante, Rover the dog, and even the neighbor keep quiet? Just when they think they can rest—oh no. The baby’s awake. One savvy little narrator knows just the way to make his baby sister fall back asleep: by reading her a good book!
A hilarious cast of characters will keep readers laughing throughout this amusing celebration of early literacy and intergenerational family relationships.
Alya and the Three Cats
Published: June 16, 2020
Three very confused cats! The arrival of a new baby seen by three adorable cats.
The arrival of a new baby seen by three adorable cats Myriam and Sami have three cats: Pasha the black angora cat―proud as a pasha really!―Minouche the grey tabby cat found in the street and Amir the playful Siamese. One day Myriam’s belly starts to get bigger and something starts to stir in it. Myriam disappears for a few days and comes back home with something that screams and demands a lot of attention. Their three cats are very confused. What’s going on?
- Fun-loving story embracing the idea of how to deal with having a new baby in the house;
- Colorful and calming illustrations will keep little ones engaged and interested;
- Great for bedtime story.
Sing to the Moon
Published: June 20, 2019
For one little Ugandan boy, no wish is too big. First he dreams of reaching the stars and then of riding a supernova straight to Mars. But on a rainy day at his grandfather’s house, he is brought down to earth with a bump. Do adventures only happen in galaxies far away or can he find magic a little closer to home? A touching story of a grandfather’s love for his grandson and the quiet pleasures of a rainy day.
Hey You!: An Empowering Celebration of Growing up Black
Published: February 1, 2022
Remember to dream your own dreams
Love your beautiful skin
You always have a choice
This book addresses – honestly, yet hopefully – the experiences Black children face growing up with systemic racism, as well as providing hope for the future, delivering a powerful message to a new generation of dreamers. It’s a message that is both urgent and timeless – and offers a rich and rewarding reading experience for every child.
Dreams for a Daughter
Published: March 9, 2021
As I cradle you, look in your eyes,
your gaze says softly,
I want to know everything.
I promise to show you all that I can.
This love letter from mother to daughter inspires young girls to follow their dreams, no matter what challenges life may bring. Young readers will be reminded that love and support from home will follow them as they venture out into the world.
The King of Kindergarten
Published: July 2, 2019
The morning sun blares through your window like a million brass trumpets.It sits and shines behind your head–like a crown. Mommy says that today, you are going to be the King of Kindergarten!
Starting kindergarten is a big milestone–and the hero of this story is ready to make his mark! He’s dressed himself, eaten a pile of pancakes, and can’t wait to be part of a whole new kingdom of kids. The day will be jam-packed, but he’s up to the challenge, taking new experiences in stride with his infectious enthusiasm! And afterward, he can’t wait to tell his proud parents all about his achievements–and then wake up to start another day.
Newbery Honor-winning author Derrick Barnes’s empowering story will give new kindergarteners a reassuring confidence boost, and Vanessa Brantley-Newton’s illustrations exude joy.
Please Baby Please
Published: November 1, 2002
Go back to bed,
baby, please, baby, please.
Not on your HEAD
baby baby baby, please!
Vivid illustrations from celebrated artist Kadir Nelson evoke toddlerhood from sandbox to high chair to crib, and families everywhere will delight in sharing these exuberant moments again and again.
Published: April 7, 2020
In my family, when the sun goes down, our hair goes up!
My brother slips a durag over his locs.
Sis swirls her hair in a wrap around her head.
Daddy covers his black waves with a cap.
Mama gathers her corkscrew curls in a scarf.
I always wear a bonnet over my braids, but tonight I can’t find it anywhere!
Bedtime Bonnet gives readers a heartwarming peek into quintessential Black nighttime hair traditions and celebrates the love between all the members of this close-knit, multi-generational family.
Off to See the Sea
Published: January 12, 2021
Night has fallen and Mom and Dad need to get their little one in the tub. To make it more fun, Mom brings a magical adventure out at sea to life, where the faucet is a waterfall, a rubber ducky is a sea creature, and the splashing water is a raging sea! In their ocean journey, Mom and Dad manage to get their little one clean just in time to dock for bedtime.
Everybody in the Red Brick Building
Published: October 19, 2021
Everybody in the red brick building was asleep. Until . . .
Rraak! Wake up!
Pitter patter STOMP!
A chain reaction of noises wakes up several children (and a cat) living in an apartment building. But it’s late in the night, so despite the disturbances, one by one, the building’s inhabitants return to their beds—this time with a new set of sounds to lull them to sleep.
Published: September 3, 2019
Astrid has loved the stars and space for as long as she can remember. “I want to be an astronaut!” she says to everyone who will listen. While her mama is away, Astrid and her papa have fun acting out the challenges an astronaut faces on a space mission — like being in zero gravity (“I can do that all day long!” she says), eating food from a kind of tube, and doing science experiments with the help of cookie sheets. When at last it’s time to meet Mama at the air base, Astrid wears her favorite space T-shirt to greet her. But where exactly has Mama been? Channeling a sense of childlike delight, Ken Wilson-Max brings space travel up close for young readers and offers an inspiring ending.
Catch that Chicken!
Published: July 7, 2020
Lami is the best chicken catcher in the whole village. Her sister may be speedy at spelling, her friend fast at braiding hair, and her brother brave with bulls, but when it comes to chickens, nobody is faster or braver than Lami. That is, until the day when Lami chases a little too fast, up the baobab tree, and reaches a little too far . . . ow! How can she catch chickens with an ankle that’s puffed up like an angry lizard? Could it be, as Nana Nadia says, that quick thinking is more important than quick running? Award-winning author Atinuke celebrates Nigerian village life in a story vibrantly illustrated by Angela Brooksbank with a universal message at its heart.
What Is Given from the Heart
Published: January 8, 2019
“Misery loves company,”” Mama says to James Otis. It’s been a rough couple of months for them, but Mama says as long as they have their health and strength, they’re blessed. One Sunday before Valentine’s Day, Reverend Dennis makes an announcement during the service– the Temples have lost everything in a fire, and the church is collecting anything that might be useful to them. James thinks hard about what he can add to the Temple’s “”love box,”” but what does he have worth giving? With her extraordinary gift for storytelling, McKissack–with stunning illustrations by Harrison–delivers a touching, powerful tale of compassion and reminds us all that what is given from the heart, reaches the heart.
Going Down Home with Daddy
Published: April 1, 2019
“On reunion morning, we rise before the sun. Daddy hums as he packs our car with suitcases and a cooler full of snacks. He says there’s nothing like going down home.”
Down home is Granny’s house. Down home is where Lil Alan and his parents and sister will gather with great-grandparents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Down home is where Lil Alan will hear stories of the ancestors and visit the land that has meant so much to all of them. And down home is where all of the children will find their special way to pay tribute to their family history. All the kids have to decide what they’ll share, but what will Lil Alan do?
The Day You Begin
Published: August 28, 2018
There will be times when you walk into a room
and no one there is quite like you.
There are many reasons to feel different. Maybe it’s how you look or talk, or where you’re from; maybe it’s what you eat, or something just as random. It’s not easy to take those first steps into a place where nobody really knows you yet, but somehow you do it.
Jacqueline Woodson’s lyrical text and Rafael López’s dazzling art reminds us that we all feel like outsiders sometimes-and how brave it is that we go forth anyway. And that sometimes, when we reach out and begin to share our stories, others will be happy to meet us halfway.
Published: September 4, 2014
In her debut picture book, Misty Copeland tells the story of a young girl–an every girl–whose confidence is fragile and who is questioning her own ability to reach the heights that Misty has reached. Misty encourages this young girl’s faith in herself and shows her exactly how, through hard work and dedication, she too can become Firebird.
Change Sings: a Children’s Anthem
Published: September 21, 2021
“I can hear change humming
In its loudest, proudest song.
I don’t fear change coming,
And so I sing along.”
In this stirring, much-anticipated picture book by presidential inaugural poet and activist Amanda Gorman, anything is possible when our voices join together. As a young girl leads a cast of characters on a musical journey, they learn that they have the power to make changes—big or small—in the world, in their communities, and in most importantly, in themselves.
Don’t Touch My Hair
Published: November 6, 2018
It seems that wherever Aria goes, someone wants to touch her hair. In the street, strangers reach for her fluffy curls; and even under the sea, in the jungle, and in space, she’s chased by a mermaid, monkeys, and poked by aliens . . . until, finally, Aria has had enough!
The Year We Learned to Fly
Published: January 4, 2022
On a dreary, stuck-inside kind of day, a brother and sister heed their grandmother’s advice: “Use those beautiful and brilliant minds of yours. Lift your arms, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and believe in a thing. Somebody somewhere at some point was just as bored you are now.” And before they know it, their imaginations lift them up and out of their boredom. Then, on a day full of quarrels, it’s time for a trip outside their minds again, and they are able to leave their anger behind. This precious skill, their grandmother tells them, harkens back to the days long before they were born, when their ancestors showed the world the strength and resilience of their beautiful and brilliant minds. Jacqueline Woodson’s lyrical text and Rafael Lopez’s dazzling art celebrate the extraordinary ability to lift ourselves up and imagine a better world.
Dancing in the Wings
Published: Dancing in the Wings
Sassy worries that her too-large feet, too-long legs, and even her big mouth will keep her from her dream of becoming a star ballerina. So for now she’s just dancing in the wings, watching from behind the curtain, and hoping that one day it will be her turn to shimmer in the spotlight. When the director of an important dance festival comes to audition her class, Sassy’s first attempts to get his attention are, well, a little wobbly. But Sassy just knows, somehow, that this is her time to step out from those wings, and make her mark on the world. Actress/choreographer Debbie Allen and Kadir Nelson collaborated on Brothers of the Knight, about which School Library Journal raved, “the strutting high-stepping brothers are full of individuality, attitude, and movement.”
Not Quite Snow White
Published: July 9, 2019
Tameika is an African American girl who loves musical and dreams of starring in one as a princess one day. But she fears that having brown skin and a plump frame might keep her from her dreams.
Black is a Rainbow Color
Published: January 14, 2020
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.
Red is a rainbow color.
Green sits next to blue.
Yellow, orange, violet, indigo,
They are rainbow colors, too, but
My color is black . . .
And there’s no BLACK in rainbows.
From the wheels of a bicycle to the robe on Thurgood Marshall’s back, Black surrounds our lives. It is a color to simply describe some of our favorite things, but it also evokes a deeper sentiment about the incredible people who helped change the world and a community that continues to grow and thrive.
I’m Growing Great
Published: January 18, 2022
Lovely and wise, shine at sunrise! I am growing each day!
Beautiful Black and Brown girls with gorgeous natural hairstyles full of flowers, butterflies, and other garden treasures are the stars of this vibrant, rhythmic picture book from the author/illustrator of Happy Hair and Cool Cuts. Set in a backdrop of nature’s glorious color and bounty, it’s the perfect springtime read-aloud to promote confidence and self-esteem for girls of all ages.
Sleep Well, Siba and Saba
Published: October 1, 2017
Forgetful sisters Siba and Saba are always losing something. Sandals, slippers, sweaters―you name it, they lose it. When the two sisters fall asleep each night, they dream about the things they have lost that day. Until, one night, their dreams begin to reveal something entirely unexpected… With playful illustrations and a lullaby-like rhythm, this heart-warming story set in Uganda is truly one to be treasured.
All Because You Matter
Published: October 6, 2020
Tami Charles pens a poetic, lyrical text that is part love letter, part anthem, assuring readers that they always have, and always will, matter. This powerful, rhythmic lullaby reassures readers that their matter and their worth is never diminished, no matter the circumstance: through the joy and wonder of their first steps and first laughs, through the hardship of adolescent struggles, and the pain and heartbreak of current events, they always have, and always will, matter. Accompanied by illustrations by renowned artist Bryan Collier, a four-time Caldecott Honor recipient and a nine-time Coretta Scott King Award winner or honoree, All Because You Matter empowers readers with pride, joy, and comfort, reminding them of their roots and strengthening them for the days to come.
Published: February 11, 2020
When the stars shine, the world is mine! I am born to be awesome! My hair is free, just like me! I am born to be awesome!
Boys will love seeing strong, happy reflections of themselves in this vibrant, rhythmic book full of hip Black hairstyles. From a ‘fro-hawk to mini-twists and crisp cornrows, adorable illustrations of boys with cool curls, waves, and afros grace each page, accompanied by a positive message that will make kids cheer. It’s a great read-aloud to promote positive self-esteem to boys of all ages, building and growing the foundation of self-love (and hair love!) and letting every boy know that “You are born to be awesome!”
I Am Every Good Thing
Published: February 4, 2021
a nonstop ball of energy.
Powerful and full of light.
I am a go-getter. A difference maker. A leader.
The confident Black narrator of this book is proud of everything that makes him who he is. He’s got big plans, and no doubt he’ll see them through–as he’s creative, adventurous, smart, funny, and a good friend. Sometimes he falls, but he always gets back up. And other times he’s afraid, because he’s so often misunderstood and called what he is not. So slow down and really look and listen, when somebody tells you–and shows you–who they are. There are superheroes in our midst!
Published: October 15, 2019
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.
In this stunning debut picture book, actress Lupita Nyong’o creates a whimsical and heartwarming story to inspire children to see their own unique beauty.
Published: March 1, 2021
Meet Wanda, with her beautiful head full of hair. She is brave and strong, but she’s unhappy because of the endless teasing by the boys at school for her “thorn bush” and “thunderstorm cloud.” Through Grandma Makhulu’s hair secrets and stories she finds the courage to face her fears and learn to appreciate that her hair is a crown‚ “not a burden‚” and it is something to be proud of. This book is about identity and beauty, celebrating how cultural pride is learned and passed on over generations.
Your Name is a Song
Published: July 7, 2020
Frustrated by a day full of teachers and classmates mispronouncing her beautiful name, a little girl tells her mother she never wants to come back to school. In response, the girl’s mother teaches her about the musicality of African, Asian, Black-American, Latinx, and Middle Eastern names on their lyrical walk home through the city. Empowered by this newfound understanding, the young girl is ready to return the next day to share her knowledge with her class. Your Name is a Song is a celebration to remind all of us about the beauty, history, and magic behind names.
Chicken in the Kitchen
Published: September 1, 2017
What would you do if you woke up one night to find the shadow of a giant chicken passing your bedroom door? Go and investigate, of course!
When Anyaugo follows a giant chicken into her kitchen one warm night in Nigeria, she embarks on a fun-filled adventure where nothing is quite as it seems. Is the nature spirit that lives in the wooden walls of her house a help or a hindrance? Is the mischievous giant chicken a friend or a foe? Most importantly, will Anyaugo be able to save the food her Aunties have cooked for the New Yam Festival the next day?
An entertaining look at the fascinating masquerade culture of West Africa, told from the perspective of a plucky young Nigerian girl who finds the courage to protect the traditions she loves.
Just Like Me
Published: January 14, 2020
I am a canvas
Being painted on
By the words of my family
From Vanessa Brantley-Newton, the author of Grandma’s Purse, comes a collection of poetry filled with engaging mini-stories about girls of all kinds: girls who feel happy, sad, scared, powerful; girls who love their bodies and girls who don’t; country girls, city girls; girls who love their mother and girls who wish they had a father. With bright portraits in Vanessa’s signature style of vibrant color
Olu and Greta
Published: February 15, 2022
Olu lives in Lagos, Nigeria; his cousin, Greta, lives in Milan, Italy. Though their lives may be different, their ways of living and playing are quite similar. They both roller skate; they both skip down the street; they both play with toy trains, trucks, and boats… and they both dream of meeting and being together. Debut author-illustrator Diana Ejaita references her own childhood and heritage to create a rich, poignant, and authentic portrayal of Nigeria, of Italy, and of the unity of childhood.
Thank You, Omu
Published: October 2, 2018
Everyone in the neighborhood dreams of a taste of Omu’s delicious stew! One by one, they follow their noses toward the scrumptious scent. And one by one, Omu offers a portion of her meal. Soon the pot is empty. Has she been so generous that she has nothing left for herself?
Debut author-illustrator Oge Mora brings to life a heartwarming story of sharing and community in colorful cut-paper designs as luscious as Omu’s stew, with an extra serving of love. An author’s note explains that “Omu” (pronounced AH-moo) means “queen” in the Igbo language of her parents, but growing up, she used it to mean “Grandma.” This book was inspired by the strong female role models in Oge Mora’s life.
Tiara’s Hat Parade
Published: April 1, 2020
Tiara has a gift for storytelling; her momma has a gift for making hats. When a new store opens that sells cheaper hats, Momma has to set her dreams aside, but Tiara has an idea for helping Momma’s dreams come true again.
The Electric Slide and Kai
Kai’s aunt is getting married, and everyone in the Donovan family is excited about the wedding … except Kai. The highlight of every Donovan occasion is dancing the electric slide–a groovy line dance with footwork that Kai can’t quite figure out. More than anything, he wants to prove that he can boogie with the rest of his family and earn a cool nickname from his granddad. Can Kai break through his nerves and break it down on the dance floor?
Told with humor and heart by author Kelly J. Baptist and lively illustrations from debut picture book artist Darnell Johnson, The Electric Slide and Kai is a funky celebration with all the right moves!
Mayowa and the Masquerades
Published: January 19, 2021
City-dwelling Mayowa is unhappy because he has been told he will be visiting his grandmother in Ilisan, Nigeria. When he gets there, Grandma pairs him up with the ever-hungry, fun-loving Denuyi. Together, they explore the town and all its wonders. The boys chase grasshoppers, dip their feet into a stream, visit piglets, climb a tree… and join in with a masquerade parade! By the time he returns to Lαgos, Mαyowa has learnt that there is more to life than computer games.
Best Picture Books by Black Authors: Non-Fiction
Here are some of the best non-fiction picture books by Black authors:
The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read
Published: January 7, 2020
In 1848, Mary Walker was born into slavery. At age 15, she was freed, and by age 20, she was married and had her first child. By age 68, she had worked numerous jobs, including cooking, cleaning, babysitting, and selling sandwiches to raise money for her church. At 114, she was the last remaining member of her family. And at 116, she learned to read. From Rita Lorraine Hubbard and rising star Oge More comes the inspirational story of Mary Walker, a woman whose long life spanned from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement, and who–with perseverance and dedication–proved that you’re never too old to learn.
Kamala and Maya’s Big Idea
Published: June 2, 2020
One day, Kamala and Maya had an idea. A big idea: They would turn their empty apartment courtyard into a playground!
This is the uplifting tale of how the author’s aunt and mother first learned to persevere in the face of disappointment and turned a dream into reality. This is a story of children’s ability to make a difference and of a community coming together to transform their neighborhood.
Nana Akua Goes to School
Published: June 16, 2020
It is Grandparents Day at Zura’s elementary school, and the students are excited to introduce their grandparents and share what makes them special. Aleja’s grandfather is a fisherman. Bisou’s grandmother is a dentist. But Zura’s Nana, who is her favorite person in the world, looks a little different from other grandmas. Nana Akua was raised in Ghana, and, following an old West African tradition, has tribal markings on her face. Worried that her classmates will be scared of Nana–or worse, make fun of her–Zura is hesitant to bring her to school. Nana Akua knows what to do, though. With a quilt of traditional African symbols and a bit of face paint, Nana Akua is able to explain what makes her special, and to make all of Zura’s classmates feel special, too.
Published: September 29, 2020
Misty is so captivated by the tale and its heroine, Swanilda, she decides to audition for the role. But she’s never danced ballet before; in fact, this is the very first day of her very first dance class!
Though Misty is excited, she’s also nervous. But as she learns from her fellow bunheads, she makes wonderful friends who encourage her to do her very best. Misty’s nerves quickly fall away, and with a little teamwork, the bunheads put on a show to remember.
Featuring the stunning artwork of newcomer Setor Fiadzigbey, Bunheads is an inspiring tale for anyone looking for the courage to try something new.
Stacey’s Extraordinary Words
Published: December 28, 2021
Stacey is a little girl who loves words more than anything. She loves reading them, sounding them out, and finding comfort in them when things are hard.
But when her teacher chooses her to compete in the local spelling bee, she isn’t as excited as she thought she’d be. What if she messes up? Or worse, if she can’t bring herself to speak up, like sometimes happens when facing bullies at school?
Stacey will learn that win or lose . . . her words are powerful, and sometimes perseverance is the most important word of all.
Mae Among the Stars
Published: January 9, 2018
A great classroom and bedtime read-aloud, Mae Among the Stars is the perfect book for young readers who have big dreams and even bigger hearts.
When Little Mae was a child, she dreamed of dancing in space. She imagined herself surrounded by billions of stars, floating, gliding, and discovering.
She wanted to be an astronaut.
Her mom told her, “If you believe it, and work hard for it, anything is possible.”
Little Mae’s curiosity, intelligence, and determination, matched with her parents’ encouraging words, paved the way for her incredible success at NASA as the first African American woman to travel in space.
Parker Looks Up: An Extraordinary Moment
Published: October 15, 2019
When Parker Curry came face-to-face with Amy Sherald’s transcendent portrait of First Lady Michelle Obama at the National Portrait Gallery, she didn’t just see the First Lady of the United States. She saw a queen—one with dynamic self-assurance, regality, beauty, and truth who captured this young girl’s imagination. When a nearby museum-goer snapped a photo of a mesmerized Parker, it became an internet sensation. Inspired by this visit, Parker, and her mother, Jessica Curry, tell the story of a young girl and her family, whose trip to a museum becomes an extraordinary moment, in a moving picture book.
Parker Looks Up follows Parker, along with her baby sister and her mother, and her best friend Gia and Gia’s mother, as they walk the halls of a museum, seeing paintings of everyone and everything from George Washington Carver to Frida Kahlo, exotic flowers to graceful ballerinas. Then, Parker walks by Sherald’s portrait of Michelle Obama…and almost passes it. But she stops…and looks up!
Parker saw the possibility and promise, the hopes and dreams of herself in this powerful painting of Michelle Obama. An everyday moment became an extraordinary one…that continues to resonate its power, inspiration, and indelible impact. Because, as Jessica Curry said, “anything is possible regardless of race, class, or gender.”
Little Melba and Her Big Trombone
Published: August 4, 2014
Melba Doretta Liston loved the sounds of music from as far back as she could remember. As a child, she daydreamed about beats and lyrics, and hummed along with the music from her family s Majestic radio. At age seven, Melba fell in love with a big, shiny trombone, and soon taught herself to play the instrument. By the time she was a teenager, Melba s extraordinary gift for music led her to the world of jazz. She joined a band led by trumpet player Gerald Wilson and toured the country. Overcoming obstacles of race and gender, Melba went on to become a famed trombone player and arranger, spinning rhythms, harmonies, and melodies into gorgeous songs for all the jazz greats of the twentieth century: Randy Weston, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Billie Holiday, and Quincy Jones, to name just a few. Brimming with ebullience and the joy of making music, Little Melba and Her Big Trombone is a fitting tribute to a trailblazing musician and a great unsung hero of jazz.
There they are: 50 of the best picture books by Black authors! Which ones have you read? I LOVED Siba and Saba, Shh! The Baby is Asleep and The Electric Slide and Kai. Which ones did I miss?
Lots of great choices! I also love My Mama is a Mechanic by Doug Cenko (though the author is white), and I Am Perfectly Designed by Jason and Karamo Brown.
Parker Looks Up has been criticized by Dr. Debbie Reese: https://americanindiansinchildrensliterature.blogspot.com/2019/12/not-recommended-parker-looks-up-by.html