Updated: Aug 29
How oonuh do? is a Gullah Geechee phrase that means How are you? in standard American English. Watch the video below to learn about Gullah Geechee people, culture, and language.
Children's books are a great way to build Gullah Geechee pride and to teach others about the culture. These picture books by Black authors share stories about the foodways, language, history, and traditions of Gullah Geechee people.
A gorgeous, imagination-sparking introduction to the beauty and interconnectedness of the Black diaspora.
A young girl living on the coast of South Carolina dreams of her distant relatives on the shores of Africa and beyond.
Indigo Dreaming is a poetic meditation between two young girls--on different sides of the sea--who wonder about how they are intricately linked by culture, even though they are separated by location. The girls' reflections come together, creating an imaginative and illuminating vision of home, as well as a celebration of the Black diaspora.
This gorgeous lyrical tale engages the senses and evokes childlike curiosity and wonder.
In her grandmother's garden, a young Black girl learns about mindfulness and herbal medicine in this soothing intergenerational story about our connection to nature.
It's Joy's first summer in her grandmother's South Carolina garden--a rite of passage. In the midst of okra, spinach, and strawberries, Grammy teaches Joy that plants are friends with many uses. Herbs, for example, can be turned into medicine.
There in Grammy's abundant backyard, Joy learns to listen for the heartbeat of the earth and connect it to her own as she takes deep breaths and puts her intentions into the soil. By the story's end, she learns to grow seeds in her own garden, honoring all that her grandmother taught her. With sensory-rich illustrations from award-winning illustrator Ashleigh Corrin, Joy Takes Root is a blissful reminder of all that might bloom. (June 20, 2023)
This rhythmic, joyous picture book from Natalie Daise, the co-star of the hit Nickelodeon show "Gullah Gullah Island," celebrates a special day of father-son cooking, and serves up a love letter to food, family, Gullah Geechee culture, and tradition--and includes the author's own recipe!
Papa has something special planned for tonight's family dinner--and Bobo can't wait! Excited to learn how to make okra stew like his ancestors, Bobo helps Papa pick veggies from the garden, catch shrimp from the creek, rain down rice in the pot, simmer the stew, and even make a tasty side of cornbread. When the stew begins to bubble and pop, Bobo and his family gather around for a mouthwatering feast. (October 10, 2023)
A heartwarming picture book about how one little girl's unique beauty has been growing for generations in her family tree.
Anyiaka is in awe of her gorgeous Gullah Geechee family--she wants to be beautiful like her older sister, Sorie, a great listener like her mom, and a talented artist like her grandma. But on today's visit to her grandparents' house, Anyiaka sticks out from the rest of the family like a sore thumb. She can't seem to do anything right, and a trip to Grandma's art studio confirms just how different she is from the rest of the family.
But Grandma's artwork--a special set of nesting dolls--also shows that what's on the outside doesn't always tell the whole story. While they may be distinct, together, her family's beauty and inner strength have deep roots that have been growing within each of them for generations. (October 10, 2023)
Hear Ron Daise talk about his journey to embracing his Gullah Geechee heritage.
Vanessa Brantley-Newton dedicated Grandma's Purse to "...my Gullah Geechee Belles who carried history in their pocketbooks."
Spend the day with a grandma and granddaughter in this charming picture book about the magic found in their favorite accessory, a perfect gift this Mother's Day!
When Grandma Mimi comes to visit, she always brings warm hugs, sweet treats...and her purse. You never know what she'll have in there--fancy jewelry, tokens from around the world, or something special just for her granddaughter. It might look like a normal bag from the outside, but Mimi and her granddaughter know that it's pure magic!
In this adorable, energetic ode to visits from grandma, beloved picture book creator Vanessa Brantley Newton shows how an ordinary day can become extraordinary. Hear the read aloud.
Debut author Eden Royce arrives with a wondrous story of love, bravery, friendship, and family, filled to the brim with magic great and small.
It's 1963, and things are changing for Jezebel Turner. Her beloved grandmother has just passed away. The local police deputy won't stop harassing her family. With school integration arriving in South Carolina, Jez and her twin brother, Jay, are about to begin the school year with a bunch of new kids. But the biggest change comes when Jez and Jay turn eleven-- and their uncle, Doc, tells them he's going to train them in rootwork.
Jez and Jay have always been fascinated by the African American folk magic that has been the legacy of their family for generations--especially the curious potions and powders Doc and Gran would make for the people on their island. But Jez soon finds out that her family's true power goes far beyond small charms and elixirs...and not a moment too soon. Because when evil both natural and supernatural comes to show itself in town, it's going to take every bit of the magic she has inside her to see her through. (middle grade)
From the award-winning author of Root Magic comes the story of a girl forced to spend the summer with a great-grandmother she's never met--only to discover she runs a school for Southern conjure magic.
If you ask Delphinia Baker, she'd tell you she has all the family she needs. Sure, her mom passed away when she was young, her dad is often away on deployment, but even though Del has never had anyone she can call her people, she has always had her grandmother--and that's enough. Besides, having no roots just makes it that much easier when you have to move again.
All of that changes, though, when Gramma falls ill and Del is sent to stay with her great-grandmother. Del has never even heard of Nana Rose, and she has no interest in spending the summer on an unbearably hot island off the South Carolina coast. And when Nana Rose starts talking about the school she runs dedicated to their family's traditions--something called "conjure magic"--Del knows she's in for a weird, awkward summer.
That is, until the magic turns out to be real. Soon, Del is surrounded by teachers who call themselves witches, kids with strange abilities, creatures and ghosts who can speak to her. She has a hundred questions, but one more than any other: Why didn't Gramma ever tell her about her family, the island, this magic? As Del sets out to find her place in a world she never knew existed, she also discovers a shadowy presence on the island--and comes to believe that it all might be connected. (June 27, 2023 - middle grade)
The author of Nigel and the Moon, delivers a tender intergenerational story inspired by his childhood in the rural south. Here's a farm stand that represents the importance of family, community, and hope.
Every stand has a story.
This one is mine.
Saturday is for harvesting. And one little boy is excited to work alongside his Papa as they collect eggs, plums, peppers and pumpkins to sell at their stand in the farmer's market. Of course, it's more than a farmer's market. Papa knows each customer's order, from Ms. Rosa's pumpkins to Mr. Johnny's peppers. And when Papa can't make it to the stand, his community gathers around him, with dishes made of his own produce.
Heartwarming illustrations complement the lyrical text in this poignant picture book that reveals a family's pride in their work and reminds us to harvest love and hope from those around us. (January 30, 2024)
G is for Gullah is a book that teaches children the alphabet while educating them about Gullah culture.
Each letter represents someone or something from Gullah culture.
A is for Aunt Pearlie Sue B is for Beaufort N is for Natalie and Ron Daise....and so on.
Author Dr. Ebony Toussaint is on a mission to preserve Gullah culture and this picture book is one of the many ways she is doing just that. If you're looking for an engaging ABC book to both entertain and educate, G is for Gullah is a great option.
A moving tribute to the little-known history behind the first Memorial Day, illustrated by Coretta Scott King Award winner Floyd Cooper
Today is a special day. Eli knows it's important if he's allowed to miss one second of school, his "hard-earned right."
Inspired by true events and told through the eyes of a young boy, this is the deeply moving story about what is regarded as the first Memorial Day on May 1, 1865. Eli dresses up in his best clothes, Mama gathers the mayflowers, Papa straightens his hat, and together they join the crowds filling the streets of Charleston, South Carolina, with bouquets, crosses, and wreaths. Abolitionists, missionaries, teachers, military officers, and a sea of faces Black, Brown, and White, they march as one and sing for all those who gave their lives fighting for freedom during the Civil War.
With poignant prose and celebratory, powerful illustrations, A Day for Rememberin' shines light on the little-known history of this important holiday and reminds us never to forget the people who put their lives on the line for their country. The book is illustrated by award-winning illustrator Floyd Cooper and includes archival photos in the back matter, as well as an author's note, bibliography, timeline, and index.
Robert Smalls was born enslaved in Beaufort, SC, but he refused to remain enslaved. As a young man, he made a choice that changed his life and the life of many others, forever.
In the early hours of May 13, 1862, in the midst of the deadly U.S. Civil War, an enslaved man named Robert Smalls was about to carry out a perilous plan of escape. Standing at the helm of the ship, Smalls impersonated the captain as he and his crew passed heavily armed Confederate forts to enter Union territory, where escaped slaves were given shelter.
The suspenseful escape of the determined crew is celebrated with beautiful artwork and insightful prose, detailing the true account of an unsung American hero.
Exploring culture in children's books: Caribbean Culture in Children's Books
MORE GULLAH GEECHEE RESOURCES:
Sunn m'Cheaux: Gullah Teacha: In 2017, he became the first and only Gullah language instructor at Harvard University
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