#BlackBoyJoy: Books Highlighting The Everyday Joys of Being a Black Boy
Updated: Jan 9
Children's books featuring African American boys often focus on the struggles they face at the hands of an often-unjust society. While it's important for children to understand the history of America and the work that is still left to be done, that isn't the entire existence of their childhoods.
There is also joy - loving, and fulfilling - JOY.
Helping Kids Rise has created this list of books that celebrate the everyday lives of black boys. These books highlight the joys and diversity of black boys and remind them to embrace the happiness that surrounds them.
Note: For more information on each book, click the book's picture.
The Library Book by Tom Chapin
Illustrated by Michael Mark
What’s the best way to cure a gloomy day? A trip to the library! Based on the hit song by Tom Chapin and Michael Mark, here is an affectionate, exuberant, uproarious celebration of books, reading, and—SHHH!—libraries! The rain is pouring, Dad is snoring, and the same old stuff is on TV—boring. What is there to do today? Go to the library, of course! Who will we meet there? Let's find out!
The Word Collector by Peter H. Reynolds
Some people collect stamps. Some people collect coins. Some people collect art. And Jerome.... Jerome collected words . . .
In this extraordinary new tale from Peter H. Reynolds, Jerome discovers the magic of the words all around him -- short and sweet words, two-syllable treats, and multi-syllable words that sound like little songs. Words that connect, transform, and empower. From the creator of The Dot and Happy Dreamer comes a celebration of finding your own words -- and the impact you can have when you share them with the world.
Baby Blessings A Prayer for the Day You Are Born by Deloris Jordan
Illustrated by James E. Ransome
This touching story from bestselling author Doloris Jordan celebrates the blessings new parents wish for their babies all through their lives. With a strong emphasis on the bonds families share, the inspirational text is accompanied by exquisite art from renowned illustrator James E. Ransome. From infancy to adulthood, there is always a place for Baby Blessings.
Max and the Tag Along Moon by Floyd Cooper
Illustrated by Floyd Cooper
Max loves his grandpa. When they must say good-bye after a visit, Grandpa promises Max that the moon at Grandpa’s house is the same moon that will follow him all the way home. On that swervy-curvy car ride back to his house, Max watches as the moon tags along. But when the sky darkens and the moon disappears behind clouds, he worries that it didn’t follow him home after all. Where did the moon go—and what about Grandpa’s promise?
Bippity Bop Barbershop by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley
by E.B. Lewis
In this companion book to the bestselling, I Love My Hair, a young boy, Miles, makes his first trip to the barbershop with his father. Like most little boys, he is afraid of the sharp scissors, the buzzing razor, and the prospect of picking a new hairstyle. But with the support of his dad, the barber, and the other men in the barbershop, Miles bravely sits through his first haircut.
Written in a reassuring tone with a jazzy beat and illustrated with graceful, realistic watercolors, this book captures an important rite of passage for boys and celebrates African-American identity.
Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall
Illustrated by Gaia Cornwall
Working up the courage to take a big, important leap is hard, but Jabari is almost absolutely ready to make a giant splash.
Jabari is definitely ready to jump off the diving board. He’s finished his swimming lessons and passed his swim test, and he’s a great jumper, so he’s not scared at all. “Looks easy,” says Jabari, watching the other kids take their turns. But when his dad squeezes his hand, Jabari squeezes back. He needs to figure out what kind of special jump to do anyway, and he should probably do some stretches before climbing up onto the diving board.
In a sweetly appealing tale of overcoming your fears, newcomer Gaia Cornwall captures a moment between a patient and encouraging father and a determined little boy you can’t help but root for.
Kevin and His Dad by Irene Smalls
Illustrated by Michael Hays
A simple, graceful text and illustrations infused with warmth and love make this story of a day a boy and his dad spend together a special reading experience. Young boys and their fathers will relish this book that celebrates the ordinary things dads and kids can do together