Let’s celebrate BIPOC authors and illustrators all year long with some of my favorite children’s books by Black authors and illustrators.
Reading books that feature BIPOC characters is important, especially when they are written by BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) authors and illustrators.
Diversifying our bookshelves to include all colors, races, religions, and cultures helps children to identify themselves and be empathetic to others. What’s more, when we buy children’s books by Black authors, it helps get more BIPOC authors and illustrators published!
Favorite Children’s Books by Black Authors & Illustrators
Homemade Love by bell hooks and Shane W. Evans
Homemade Love is a sweet board book about family love. It touches on how we can be brave, make mistakes, and enjoy a beautiful day with love. The homey illustrations add to the warmth and joy of this book too. A great choice for any baby, toddler, or preschool-aged child.
B Is For Baby by Atinuke and Angela Brooksbank
This was a favorite in our house well past the baby and toddler years! So simple but incredibly engaging, each page introduces another B word, like bike, brother, and basket. Baby goes on an adventure in a basket of bananas on her brother’s bike. We love this one, and Baby Goes To Market by Atinuke and Angela Brooksbank. You might also like Catch That Chicken by this acclaimed duo as well.
Brown Sugar Baby by Kevin Lewis and Jestenia Southerland
As sweet as its title, this book is just right for babies and toddlers. All about bouncing babies that are the pie of their family’s eyes. This is a good addition to any little library for a new baby.
Whose Knees Are These? by Jabari Asim and LeUyen Pham
(also Whose Toes Are These?)
This adorable book is a great one to read together with a baby or toddler as you find their cute little knees. The rhyme and the art are both right on. Toddlers will love this one!
Picture Books By Black Authors & Illustrators
Just Like Me by Vanessa Brantley-Newton
An ode to girls everywhere who are “just like me.” A book of poetry for young girls ages four and up that celebrates life and positivity. You can’t go wrong with any of Vanessa Brantley-Newton’s books because her writing and art are always spot-on.
Thank You, Omu by Oge Mora
A fantastic picture book that brings the whole neighborhood together. When Omu makes a stew that smells so delicious everyone wants a taste, what will happen when there’s none left for Omu? A new take on a classic tale, with such cool and vibrant art. It’s a classic in its own right!
You Matter by Christian Robinson
In this whimsical book with a loving message, everyone matters and is connected. It shows children that we all have a special place in the world. We are all important in our own ways and make the world a better place.
The Old Truck by Jerome Pumphrey and Jarrett Pumphrey
Written and illustrated by two brothers, this gentle book follows the story of a truck that is loved, lost, and loved again. A farm family uses the truck until it stops running, but can the daughter restore it to its original glory?
Don’t Touch My Hair by Sharee Miller
These cute illustrations deliver a very important message about body autonomy and boundaries. When a young girl wants everyone to stop touching her hair she runs away. But nothing stops it until she stands up for herself! This book is a great tool for teaching children how to let people know their boundaries, especially around their bodies.
Your Name Is A Song by Jamilah Thompkins Bigelow and Luisa Uribe
This book is gorgeous in message and artwork! When a teacher gets a young girl’s name wrong, her mother shows her that her name–and all names–are the beautiful song of your identity. A really wonderful book.
Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry and Vashti Harrison
This book is not just about loving yourself and your natural hair, it’s also about the love between a father and daughter. As a dad has to do his daughter’s hair, he learns how because of his fierce love for her.
Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem by Amanda Gorman and Loren Long
This powerful poem shows children the beauty of change in the world. It’s simple enough for toddlers, with engaging illustrations, but also a good discussion starter for older children too. A hope-filled wish for a better society.
The Kindest Red: A Story Of Hijab and Friendship by Ibtihaj Muhammad, S.K. Ali, and Hatem Aly
Even though this is the sequel to The Proudest Blue, it can be read as a stand-alone book. This book is brimming with kindness and love! Faizah and her friends are doing their part to make the world a kinder place, especially on picture day when Faizah needs some kindness of her own. A lovely story, and the sequel to The Proudest Blue
The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson and Rafael Lopez
With gorgeous illustrations and words, this book shows the power of being yourself and opening up to the world. How we can connect with others and ourselves, and that we are all special. It’s a little on the long side for younger children, but just right for older preschoolers or kindergarteners and up.
M Is For Melanin: A Celebration of the Black Child by Tiffany Rose
An alphabet book that is so bright and beautiful, it exudes happiness. Each page is another letter and another way to honor and celebrate Black lives. A true joy!
ABC’s Of Black History by Rio Cortez and Lauren Semmer
Another brilliant alphabet book in both words and illustrations. This book covers Black History in an engaging way, focusing on a wide array of triumphs and sadness, uniqueness, and hope. Meant for all ages, even toddlers.
Anna Hibiscus by Atinuke
Anna is such a fun protagonist and there is a whole series of books about her to enjoy. Get to know Anna and her whole family, and their compound in West Africa. Great for early readers or as a read aloud. If you like this series, you might also like the No. 1 Car Spotter series about a boy and his West African village life.
The Magnificent Makers by Theanne Griffith and Reggie Brown
Friendship and science mix in this series of chapter books for ages seven and up. When best friends Violet and Pablo team up with their new classmate Deepak, a magical science adventure ensues. Fast-paced and interesting, especially if you love scientific worlds. There are six books in this series to enjoy!
Make Way For Daymonde Daniel by Nikki Grimes and R. Gregory Christie
Daymonde is a role model for anyone who has had to move to a new place or make a new friend. Her boisterous spirit helps her befriend a “grouchy” new kid and find ways to make the world brighter. For ages seven and up, there are multiple books about Daymonde to explore.
Clubhouse Mysteries by Sharon M. Draper
Follow Ziggy and his friends through each book to solve mysteries, like who–or what–buried bones in the backyard. So engaging, these books pull you into both the mystery and the friendship. This series is especially great for any reluctant readers who love mysteries!
It is really important for everyone to support BIPOC authors and illustrators who create books in their own voices so that all children can find characters that they identify with as often as possible. Hopefully, some of these children’s books by Black authors will make their way onto your bookshelves. Which are your favorites?