Celebrating Black Childhood

Tarpley, Natasha Anastasia

An uplifting story about self-confidence and a child's limitless potential.

Thompkins-Bigelow, Jamilah

Hold happiness, trials, and triumph close. Written by Your Name Is a Song author Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow with stunning collages by debut illustrator Patrick Dougher, Hold Them Close is a moving celebration of Black children. Children will see that if they look to their glorious past, embrace their present feelings, and reach for a bright future, there is much to hold close, and they can light up the world.

Charles, Tami

A lyrical, heart-lifting love letter to Black and Brown children everywhere reminds them how much they matter, that they have always mattered and they always will.

Pinkney, Sandra L.

Photographs and poetic text celebrate the beauty and diversity of African American children.

Rodriguez, Ayesha

In this book, author Ayesha Rodriguez uses rhyming verses to express love and appreciation for our beautiful brown skin children. May the words from this ode be an anchor in your child's heard and mind for years to come.

Rose, Tiffany

Each letter of the alphabet contains affirming, Black-positive messages, from A is for Afro, to F is for Fresh, to W is for Worthy. This book teaches children their ABCs while encouraging them to love the skin that they're in.

Black Girl Magic

Kids' books that celebrate Black girls.

Acknowledges, applauds, and amplifies the incredible stories of 100 inspiring Black women and girls from the past and present.

Abari, Tonya

My Hair, My Crown Board Book from Mudpuppy features sweet rhyming words and bold, colorful illustrations that highlight a beautiful and diverse range of Black hairstyles. A surprise mirror on the last page encourages children to celebrate their own beautiful hair!

Allen, Crystal

Nine-year-old Mya is excited about participating in School Spirit Week, even making a pinky promise with her best friend Naomi to be her partner, but when she accidentally gets paired with the biggest bully in school, Mean Connie, Naomi is mad at Maya for breaking her promise, so she must learn to work with Mean Connie and try and get her friend back.

Bolling, Valerie

Told in rhyming text, a young African American girl learns to ride a bike, with the help of her father.

Barnes, Brynne

A love letter to and for Black girls everywhere, Black Girl Rising alchemizes the sorrow and strength of the past into the brilliant gold of the future, sweeping young readers of all backgrounds into a lyrical exploration of what it means to be Black, female, and glorious.

Bates, Janet Costa, author.

With her best friend moving away, Rica Baptista needs a pet so she won't get lonely, but her parents are against it until an act of kindness and courage proves she is ready for the pet of her dreams.

Broaddus, Maurice

A young graffiti artist learns to fight smart against the gentrification threatening her neighborhood.

Byers, Grace

Shares a story of loving who you are, respecting others and being kind to one another.

Christmas, Johnnie

Bree can't wait for her first day at her new middle school, Enith Brigitha, home to the Mighty Manatees--until she's stuck with the only elective that fits her schedule, the dreaded Swim 101. The thought of swimming makes Bree more than a little queasy, yet she's forced to dive headfirst into one of her greatest fears. Lucky for her, Etta, an elderly occupant of her apartment building and former swim team captain, is willing to help.

Collier, Nicole D.

It's hatching season and Jemison Elementary is buzzing about the arrival of the baby chicks. Fifth-grader Jillian must learn to speak and break free of her shell to enter her school's competition and keep her promise to her grandmother.

Dalton, Angela

Once a year, each of Rubys relatives prepares a special dish to share at their family reunion. Daddy calls it their signature dishand Ruby wants one of her own. She wanders through the bustling kitchen looking for inspiration. As she watches Pop-Pops chicken sizzling in the skillet, Uncle G slicing onions, and Auntie Billie cooking corn on the hot grill, she wonders if she's just too young to have a signature dish. Thats when she finds it the perfect solution!

Davis, Tanita S.

After her best friend, JC, has a kidney transplant, Serena feels that they are falling out of touch, especially as JC makes a new best friend in the hospital.

Doyon, Samara Cole

While her mother works magic styling her hair, a young Black girl recalls how her hairstyles can reflect the natural world and show that her hair can be elegant, mischievous, or whimsical.

Elizabeth, Jordannah

A middle grade fully illustrated book introducing the basics of astrology for black girl readers, including how to look at natal charts, knowing sun, moon, and rising signs, and how to navigate studying astrology while also keeping religion in one's life.

Ewing, Eve L.

A forgotten homemade robot comes to life just when aspiring fifth-grade scientist Maya needs a friend--and a science fair project.

Finison, Carrie

Lulu and Zoey are sisters and like most sisters sometimes they quarrel or mess up each other's belongings--but in the end they make up, because they are always sisters.

Harris, Meena

A girl sees a woman labeled as having too much ambition, but when the girl considers its definition she finds herself inspired and realizes ambition is required to make changes to the world and have her voice be heard.

James, Nancy Johnson

A girl describes the many wonders of the color black, which is the amalgam of all colors: the starry sky at night, her own black puppy, and even the color of her eyes.

Marroquin, M. L.

A little girl proclaims the wonders of her natural hair.

Nyong'o, Lupita

When five-year-old Sulwe's classmates make fun of her dark skin, she tries lightening herself to no avail, but a shooting star's tale of the sisters Night and Day helps her understand there is beauty and worth in every shade.

Sherman, Charlotte Watson

When a little girl has doubts about the color of her skin, her mother shows her all the wonderful, beautiful things brown can be! This message of self-love and acceptance uses rich, dreamy illustrations to celebrate the color using all the senses: sight, smell, touch, taste, and hearing.

Thomas, Sonja

Eleven-year-old Miranium's summer is going down hill fast: her best friend, Thomas, has moved away, her know-it-all nemesis, Tamika, has moved too near for comfort, her parents are stressed since her father has lost his job, she has just blown up the microwave with an ill advised experiment (destroying her own cellphone in the process), and worst of all her beloved cat, Sir Fig Newton, has developed diabetes; there is no money for his medical care, and her parents want to re-home him--but Mira is determined to raise the money somehow even if it means turning to Tamika for help.

Thompkins-Bigelow, Jamilah

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.

Black Boy Joy

Kids' books that celebrate Black boys.

edited by Kwame Mbalia

From seventeen acclaimed Black male and nonbinary authors comes a vibrant collection of stories, comics, and poems about the power of joy and the wonders of Black boyhood.

Baptist, Kelly J.

Isaiah is now the big man of the house. But it's a lot harder than his dad made it look. His little sister, Charlie, asks too many questions, and Mama's gone totally silent. Good thing Isaiah can count on his best friend, Sneaky, who always has a scheme for getting around the rules. Plus, his classmate Angel has a few good ideas of her own--once she stops hassling Isaiah. And when things get really tough, there's Daddy's journal, filled with stories about the amazing Isaiah Dunn, a superhero who gets his powers from beans and rice. Isaiah wishes his dad's tales were real. He could use those powers right about now!

Barnes, Derrick

Celebrates the magnificent feeling that comes from walking out of a barber shop with newly-cut hair.

Barnes, Derrick D.

Illustrations and easy-to-read text pay homage to the strength, character, and worth of a child.

Dillard, J.

Eight-year-old J.D. turns a tragic home haircut into a thriving barber business in this hilarious new illustrated chapter book series.

Dumas, Marti

Giant Afro. Even Bigger Brain. Jaden Toussaint is a 5 year-old who know it all. I mean, really knows it all. Animal Scientist. Great Debater. Master of the art of ninja dancing. There is nothing Jaden Toussaint can't do. The only problem is that grown-ups keep trying to convince him that, even though he's really smart, he doesn't know EVERYTHING. The thing is ... he kind of does. This time our hero must use all his super-powered brain power to convince the grown-ups that he needs more screen time.--Back cover.

Holder, Alissa

Ayaan loves being a superhero and offering a helping hand, but when two classmates tell him he does not look like a superhero, Ayaan's father assures him that superheroes come in all shapes and sizes.

King Neil, Aliya

D wakes up on the wrong side of the bed, but discovers after a long day at school that while not every day will be a good day, the bad ones will pass.

Lyons, Kelly Starling

When his friend RJ bets that Miles will wipe out at the ice rink, he is determined to prove him wrong.

Lyons, Kelly Starling

Ty wishes his family would play with him, but everyone is too busy before dinner-time. Luckily, Ty knows just what to do... 

Medina, Tony

A fresh perspective of young men of color depicting thirteen views of everyday life: young boys dressed in their Sunday best, running to catch a bus, and growing up to be teachers, and much more. Each of Tony Medina's tanka is matched with a different artist including recent Caldecott and Coretta Scott King Award recipients.

Reed, Dwayne

Chicago fifth-grader Simon, an aspiring rapper who lacks self-confidence, uses his rhymes to help bring his community together.

Reynolds, Jason

Portico Reeves' secret identity as Stuntboy allows him to use his superpower keep everybody safe, but when his superhero parents start fighting a lot he feels the responsibility to save them.

Sheppard, Markette

Told in rhyming text, a young African American boy, stuck inside on a rainy day, uses his imagination to create a rocket ship out of a rocking chair and takes off on an trip to a distant planet.

Reynolds, Jason

When Genie and his older brother spend their summer in the country with their grandparents, he learns a secret about his grandfather and what it means to be brave.

Stone, Nic

For the life of him, William "Scoob" Lamar can't seem to stay out of trouble--and now the run-ins at school have led to lockdown at home. So when G'ma, Scoob's favorite person on Earth, asks him to go on an impromptu road trip, he's in the RV faster than he can say FREEDOM. With G'ma's old maps and a strange pamphlet called the 'Travelers' Green Book' at their side, the pair takes off on a journey down G'ma's memory lane. But adventure quickly turns to uncertainty: G'ma keeps changing the license plate, dodging Scoob's questions, and refusing to check Dad's voice mails. And the farther they go, the more Scoob realizes that the world hasn't always been a welcoming place for kids like him, and things aren't always what they seem--G'ma included.

Magoon, Kekla

Eleven-year-old Chester and his classmate Skye, tasked with a complex puzzle-solving mission, discover the key to their spy assignment is to stop a heist, but cracking the code could mean finding out things are not always what they seem.

Ford, J.R.

A transgender boy prepares for the first day of school and introduces himself to his family and friends for the first time.

Summaries provided by DPL's catalog unless otherwise noted. Click on each title to view more information.

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