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Diverse Books For All Ages

Books That Celebrate Every Story, Every Voice, Every Child

25 Empowering Children's Books for Black History Month

Updated: Jan 31, 2023

The Best Diverse Children's Books for Black children

Black History Month is a great time to celebrate Black children. These twenty-five children's books by Black authors encourage self-love in Black children by positively representing their hair, skin, families, culture, and more. These books also offer wonderful reflections of the Black community for all children to see and learn about.


Related reading: If you're looking for more ways to celebrate Black children, please join Black Children's Book Week, an annual event in February dedicated to celebrating Black children and the people who ensure Black children are represented in books and other children’s media.


The bestselling illustrator of I Am Enough brings to life the story of a boy whose mirror gives him a whole new way of seeing himself.


Chris loves his long, curly hair, so why do his classmates tease him about it? When he looks for answers in his mirror, something wonderfully wild and weird happens: a lady appears with wise words that make him feel like a king! But when he starts acting like a king at school, it's time for another visit to the mirror.


Actor Marchánt Davis's uplifting picture book debut encourages us all to look beyond hairstyles--reminding us that styles come and go--and to celebrate one another for who we are. #1 New York Times bestselling illustrator Keturah A. Bobo's stunning art brings Chris and his mirror to vibrant life.



The sequel to the acclaimed New York Times bestseller The Proudest Blue shows the power of friendship and kindness, from Olympic medalist Ibtihaj Muhammad.


It's picture day and Faizah can't wait to wear her special red dress with matching hair ribbons, passed down from her mother and sister. Faizah's teacher starts the day by asking her students to envision the kind of world they want, inspiring Faizah and her friends to spend the day helping one another in ways large and small.


But when it's time for sibling pictures, Faizah realizes that she and her older sister, Asiya, don't match like her classmates do with their siblings. With help from her classmates inspired by Asiya's hijab, Faizah finds that acts of kindness can come back to you in unexpected ways.


From Olympic medalist Ibtihaj Muhammad and fellow bestselling, award-winning creators S.K. Ali and Hatem Aly comes a heartfelt exploration of friendship, faith, and the joy of spreading kindness wherever you go.



In the spirit of I Am Enough, this is a moving and lyrical tribute to and affirmation of Black children around the world--by an exciting new author and illustrator team.

Dear Black Child,

We are here to remind you of your glory...

An inspiring love letter to Black children from all cultures, this book is a celebration of their beauty, joy, and resilience.


Dear Black Child is a story of self-acceptance, love, and empowerment for Black immigrant children and families of the diaspora around the world and features joyful and vibrant illustrations.



This empowering board book inspires young readers to use their own special voice to make a difference in the world.


If you want to make a difference,

but you don't know where to start

Begin by searching way deep down

to find what's in your heart


Whether your voice shines through singing, drawing, or dancing--whether it's soft or loud, kind or proud--everyone has a voice that can effect change. This empowering and heartfelt message is conveyed through beautiful, lyrical rhyme that will encourage even the youngest readers to think about what's important to them.



Confident, empowered sisters and best friends are celebrated in this read-together picture book celebrating sisterly love and joy. From the author of the Happy Hair series, which promotes self-love, positivity, and acceptance.


Perfect together! Always and forever! My sister and me!


Beautiful Black and Brown girls with gorgeous natural hairstyles are the stars of this vibrant, rhythmic picture book. With encouraging words of unity and support on each page, it's a great read-aloud to promote confidence and self-esteem among girls of all ages.



This lyrical picture book is a joyous, poetic, celebration of Black children and a reminder of the Universe's unconditional love in stunning verse and captivating collage. Perfect for fans of Sulwe!


When the Universe decides to create a child, she draws from the earth--rich, dark, and full of everything that gives life, including eyes like black star sapphires and full lips to speak the truth. With help from the Sun and the Moon, they create a child of the Universe: beautiful, powerful, and boundless with the brilliance of Black Gold.


Laura Obuobi's empowering, whimsical text and London Ladd's lustrous, captivating illustrations will inspire children to love themselves exactly as they are.



A little girl makes sure she walks out of the barbershop rocking the fabulous hair style she chooses.


Learn the importance of speaking up for what you want through this fun and empowering picture book.


When a little girl walks into her local barbershop, she knows she wants the flyest, freshest fade on the block! But there are so many beautiful hairstyles to choose from, and the clients and her mother suggest them all: parts, perms, frizzy fros, dye jobs, locs, and even cornrows!


But this little girl stays true to herself and makes sure she leaves the shop feeling on top with the look she picks!


Author Shauntay Grant's sweet, rhyming story encourages young girls to be self-confident and celebrates the many shapes and forms Black hair can take. Through their stunning illustrations, Kitt Thomas is able to bring life and movement to the versatile styles featured in this book.



This bright, joyful picture book celebrates a community at play!


It's a sunny spring day, and the tic tac tic tac sound of jump ropes hitting the ground floats through the wind.


"Jump in!"


Everyone lines up for a turn. The Delancy twins, double dutch divas. Leroy Jones with the hip-hop tricks. Even Ms. Mabel, showing the youngstas how it's done. And after a day of fun, when the street lights start to flicker, it's time to . . . jump out!


With a bold graphic style, read-aloud enhancing gatefolds, and an exuberance that leaps off the page, acclaimed artist Shadra Strickland's author/illustrator debut will make readers of all ages get up on their feet!



A young boy learns that he is walking in the footsteps of greatness through a vibrant, lyrical retelling of Black history--both a love letter to Black children and an anthem empowering them to know their God-given worth.


You came bustling into the world,

a mighty bundle of energy, ready to do great things.

And no wonder.

You stand on the shoulders of those who came before,

and you, too, were born to shine.


Starting with his birth, the boy's father lays out the history of his son's ancestry: from the love and warmth of a big family to the change makers and status shakers, the inventors and engineers, the astronomers, philosophers, and storytellers, the leaders and the doctors. The father details the legacy and impact of Black ancestors whose determination, strength, dedication, creativity, and leadership contributed to making the world better.


Throughout the story, the boy discovers the rich heritage of those that have gone before him and learns how he embodies that same greatness. He, too, has the power to change the world by embracing exactly who God made him to be.


You Come from Greatness includes illustrations of Black historical figures such as Wangari Muta Maathai, Ellie Mannette, Rebecca Lee Crumpler, and more, with twenty short biographies at the end of the book.



From debut author Antwan Eady and artist Gracey Zhang comes a glowing tale about the young dreaming big. A perfect story to demonstrate how pride in where we come from can bring a shining confidence.


When Nigel looks up at the moon, his future is bright. He imagines himself as...an astronaut, a dancer, a superhero, too! Among the stars, he twirls. With pride, his chest swells. And his eyes, they glow. Nigel is the most brilliant body in the sky.


But it's Career Week at school, and Nigel can't find the courage to share his dreams. It's easy to whisper them to the moon, but not to his classmates--especially when he already feels out of place.



A confident little Black girl has a fantastic first day of school in this companion to the New York Times bestseller The King of Kindergarten.


MJ is more than ready for her first day of kindergarten! With her hair freshly braided and her mom's special tiara on her head, she knows she's going to rock kindergarten. But the tiara isn't just for show--it also reminds her of all the good things she brings to the classroom, stuff like her kindness, friendliness, and impressive soccer skills, too! Like The King of Kindergarten, this is the perfect book to reinforce back-to-school excitement and build confidence in the newest students.



This Little Golden Book features beautiful illustrations and rhyming text about colors, plus a social justice theme that encourages Black children to celebrate themselves.


Beautiful colors--look up and look down.

Beautiful babies in all shades of brown.


This delightful concept book doesn't just teach colors--it does so with a focus on brown as a celebration and a validation of Black children. As beautiful Black babies play together in a park, they discover yellow flowers, red berries, green grass, and more. This Little Golden Book offers a way for families with very young children to begin addressing themes of diversity and equality.



An empowering and joyous picture book by actress Kirby Howell-Baptiste (The Sandman) that instills confidence and encourages little Black girls to reach for their wildest dreams.


Illustrated by the talented Paul Davey, this inspiring picture book celebrates all little Black girls, the power of community, and the joy and hope of being a child.


In beautiful, lyrical text actress Kirby Howell-Baptiste tells the story of one Black girl and her limitless potential as she pursues her dream of robotics. Determined to have her robot ready for the school fair, getting everything done in time won't be easy, but this little Black girl knows she is destined to shine and is not going to let anything hold her back from achieving her dream. With bright, bold plans in mind she begins to sketch and build her robot. The joy she has pursuing her passion is infectious and she has a community of strong women around her, encouraging and supporting her as she lives out her dream.


You have sparks in your brain and fire in your heart.

You can decide where to stop and where to start.

You were born unique. None of us are the same.

Your only job: Make them remember your name.



A little Black boy finds the courage to go after his dreams in this empowering and inspirational picture book by actress Kirby Howell-Baptiste (The Sandman) with actor Larry Fields.


With vivid, dimensional illustrations by Paul Davey, this encouraging and hopeful picture book celebrates the joy of being a little Black boy and their bright futures.


Fascinated by marine wildlife, a little Black boy dreams of one day swimming in the ocean alongside all the creatures that make it their home. It will take courage to move from the safety of the swimming pool to the vastness of the ocean, but as he begins his journey of discovery, he soon finds there's nothing he can't do. He realizes if he cares about the animals in the ocean, he must also care about their home and sets out to preserve the beaches he loves by picking up trash. This little boy is determined not only to reach his dream of becoming a marine biologist, but to make a difference in the world and to share his passion of environmental conservation with everyone.


Little Black Boy, Oh the things you will do.

Has anyone mentioned the world's open to you?



From the author of Lailah's Lunchbox and Unsettled comes a powerful picture book biography about Maryam Faruqi, the founder of the Happy Home Schools, which provided education to thousands of girls across Pakistan at a time when girls weren't encouraged to go to school.


Maryam was a trailblazer for women's education and the author is her granddaughter, creating a personal, inspiring tale. Perfect for fans of Malala's Magic Pencil and She Persisted!


Milloo lives in a time when school is considered unnecessary for girls. But to Milloo, education is essential. When Milloo reads, her thoughts dance. Milloo courageously dreams of becoming a teacher, but in fifth grade her parents tell her she has had enough school. Milloo is heartbroken but finds a way to achieve her educational goals, graduating high school and college with honors. When she's married, Milloo's husband tells her to stay home, but she does not let that stop her.


She decides to open a school in her house and later opens more schools around Karachi, Pakistan, fulfilling her dreams.



Award-winning picture book creator Frank Morrison makes his author/illustrator debut in an exuberant story about being yourself.


Epic has tricks you won't believe. He's the kick flipping, big rail king. When his family moves to a new neighborhood, he can't wait to hit the street with his skateboard. But his old moves don't feel fresh without a crew to see 'em. Epic thinks about giving up his board to fit in, but an encouraging word from his dad helps him see that the trick to making new friends is to always be yourself. Be you. . . be epic!


Award-winning illustrator Frank Morrison offers a heartwarming, dynamic celebration of self-expression, inspired by his own journey through fatherhood.



Based on Theresa Wilson's (a.k.a. Theresa tha S.O.N.G.B.I.R.D.'s) beautiful, viral spoken word poem of the same name, You So Black is a picture book celebration of the richness, the nuance, and the joy of Blackness.


Black is everywhere, and in everything, and in everyone--in the night sky and the fertile soil below. It's in familial connections and invention, in hands lifted in praise and voices lifted in protest, and in hearts wide open and filled with love. Black is good.


Accompanied by powerful yet tender illustrations by award-winning illustrator London Ladd, Theresa tha S.O.N.G.B.I.R.D. has adapted her poem, full of gorgeous lyricism and imagery, to show readers the love, joy, resilience, and universality in the beauty of Blackness.



When happy things come to you, hold them close and never let go.

From celebrated author of Your Name Is a Song Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow, fine artist Patrick Dougher, and photographer Jamel Shabazz, Hold Them Close is a picture book celebration of Black past, present, and future--a joyful love letter to Black children.


As affirming as it is touching and warm, Hold Them Close encourages young children to hold close their joy, the words of their ancestors and elders, as well as their power to change the world. A perfect book for shared story time, this book will inspire young people to march forth with pride, glow, and happiness.



An empowering follow-up to New York Times bestselling picture book All Because You Matter that celebrates the rich history of Black and brown men and women throughout history with soaring language and stunning illustration.


Lyrical, affirmational, and bursting with love, We Are Here is a poignant story about Black and brown heritage and community. Full of assurance, tenderness, and triumph, this much-anticipated follow-up to the New York Times bestselling picture book All Because You Matter offers an equally inspirational and arresting ode to all of the Black women and men throughout history who have made momentous contributions from the beginning of time.


Tami Charles shares the beauty and excellence in the history of the Black community, assuring Black and brown children of the extraordinary legacy from which they come. Charles's powerful and empowering text is accompanied with illustrations by renowned artist Bryan Collier, a four-time Caldecott Honor recipient and a nine-time Coretta Scott King Award winner or honoree. We Are Here celebrates readers with pride, joy, and love, reminding them of their roots, inviting readers to imagine a future that shines ever bright, and strengthening them for their triumphant days to come!



Bill Withers's celebrated hit song "Lovely Day" comes to life in this beautifully illustrated picture book!


"'Lovely Day' is a positive and uplifting song that comforts the soul. I'm thrilled to see my husband's beautiful words come to life in this stunning picture book." Marcia Withers. Bill Withers's "Lovely Day" is famous for bringing listeners joy. This beautiful picture book adapted from the song's timeless lyrics follows the story of a brother and sister who always find a way to make each other smile, no matter the challenges the day may bring. From discovering new ways to play when the playground is closed, to laughing out loud as they run through the rain, these siblings can count on each other to find the joy in any situation. Because when you're with the ones you love, every day is a lovely day!



An empowering picture book that invites us to explore and embrace our emotions from Karamo, talk show host and culture expert of Netflix's hit series Queer Eye, and Jason Brown, featuring illustrations by Diobelle Cerna, and expert-vetted resources.

A father and son are caught in a storm and must learn to navigate the uncertainty together in this poignant picture book by talk show host and beloved Queer Eye star Karamo Brown and his son Jason "Rachel" Brown, perfect for reassuring young readers in times of stress.

I Am Okay to Feel empowers children to talk about their emotions and anxieties, with the reassuring message that "I am okay to feel and heal." Paired with back matter and resources developed with psychologists, this picture book offers a loving framework for how to identify and express feelings in a healthy way, providing the tools to build emotional intelligence at a formative age.



From the authors and illustrator of I Am Smart, I Am Blessed, I Can Do Anything! comes another story about the always-inspiring Ayaan!


Amazing Ayaan loves being a superhero--he helps a friend who has fallen on the playground, gives pushes on the swings, and offers a boost to those who need it at the rock wall.


But his fun is ruined when two of his friends tell him he doesn't seem like a superhero, and no one will take him seriously. But Ayaan doesn't completely lose his confidence. When he gets home from school, his Dad reminds him that anybody can be a superhero if you are helping others. And just like that, Ayaan dons his cape and mask. Amazing Ayaan to the rescue!



New York Times bestselling and award-winning duo Andrea Davis Pinkney and Brian Pinkney create a joyful and beautiful ode to all bright brown baby boys -- the fifth title in our acclaimed Bright Brown Baby series!


Baby boy. Precious boy. Yes! You're a STAR!


A joyful, poetic celebration and ode to all bright brown baby boys. With bouncing, rhythmic text from New York Times bestselling author Andrea Davis Pinkney and tender, charming illustrations from Caldecott Honor and Coretta Scott King Award-winning illustrator Brian Pinkney, this tender affirmation is the perfect way to rejoice and teach your child that they truly are a star!


This board book is part of the Bright Brown Baby publishing program, a celebration of Black and brown joy, babies, and families. And if you're looking for a gift-able picture book, be sure to also check out the beautiful picture book treasury, Bright Brown Baby, to read "Baby Boy, You're a Star!" alongside four more poems. Just-right for new and expectant parents, baby showers, birthdays, graduations, and more! This is a perfect addition to every child's growing Bright Brown Baby bookshelf!



A little boy who loves storytelling but struggles with writing learns that it's okay to make mistakes in this charming and encouraging picture book from the author of Mommy's Khimar.


Abdul loves to tell stories. But writing them down is hard. His letters refuse to stay straight and face the right way. And despite all his attempts, his papers often wind up with more eraser smudges than actual words. Abdul decides his stories just aren't meant to be written down...until a special visitor comes to class and shows Abdul that even the best writers--and superheroes--make mistakes.



This joyously affirming picture book follows a young boy throughout his day as he plays, paints, and bakes, making positive associations with the color of his skin.


To Benny, brown is more than just a color. Brown is his Gram's coffee and his Gramp's morning kiss. Brown is the wooden spoon he uses for mixing and baking. It's the ground that grows the tomatoes he loves and it's the log he plays on. Brown is the fuzzy blanket he takes to his room at the end of the day. Brown is him and brown is love.


In tender, lyrical text and warmly exuberant illustrations, What Does Brown Mean to You? celebrates all the brilliant and beautiful shades of brown, encouraging children to explore and see the beauty of their skin reflected in their families, communities, and the world around them.


 

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