Representation Matters. At a young age, children need to see people that look like them. At the doctor’s office, the bank, the news, in the classroom, in their books, and everywhere else on a daily basis. Children learn through imitation. The more they see people that look like them doing things, the more they will try to imitate it and excel at it. One of the earliest forms of representations that children get is through reading books. Every family needs books featuring black characters.
Many parents start reading books to their children when they are days old. At some point, children begin to follow along and recognize the images in the books and the storyline in the book as well. Sometimes African American children don’t see a character in a book that looks like them until they are in middle school- which is too late. I’ve found a great list of books featuring black characters that your kids need now. These books are perfect for early readers and can be found on Amazon and in many libraries.
Miracle Malcolm by Ariel Simmons
From the moment Malcolm was born, his parents knew he would be one of a kind! However, what they didn’t know is that their little Malcolm would make his mark on the world in a very special way. Born prematurely at only one pound, Malcolm would soon become the strongest little person his parents could ever know! His sweet heart, determination, and keen observations of the world around him are what gave him the name Miracle Malcolm!
My Nana and Me by Irene Smalls
A joyful story celebrating the love between a granddaughter and her grandmother. This delightful picture books follows a young girl and her grandmother through a day of tea parties, dancing, hide and seek, pat-a-cake, bath time, story time, and bedtime. At the end of the story the little girl discovers why she is so extra special. My Nana and Me is a great opportunity for fabulous hat dress up tea parties, etiquette lessons and a bedtime read aloud.
Hair Love by Matthew Cherry and Vashti Harrison
It’s up to Daddy to give his daughter an extra-special hair style in this story of self-confidence and the love between fathers and daughters. Zuri knows her hair is beautiful, but it has a mind of its own! It kinks, coils, and curls every which way. Mum always does Zuri’s hair just the way she likes it – so when Daddy steps in to style it for an extra special occasion, he has a lot to learn. But he LOVES his Zuri, and he’ll do anything to make her – and her hair – happy.
I Am Enough by Grace Byers
A #1 New York Times bestseller and Goodreads Choice Awards picture book winner! This is the perfect gift for mothers and daughters, baby showers, and graduation. This gorgeous, lyrical ode to loving who you are, respecting others, and being kind to one another. We are all here for a purpose. We are more than enough. We just need to believe it.
ABC She’s Brown Like Me by Brittany Franks
ABC She’s Brown Like me was written to help young girls learn their alphabet while also learning about their history. It is important to see representation in books so that Brown girls will know that they can grow up and be anything I want to be
Max and the Tag Along Moon by Floyd Cooper
Max loves his grandpa. When they must say good-bye after a visit, Grandpa reminds Max that the moon above them at Grandpa’s house is the same moon that will follow him all the way home. And on that swervy-curvy car ride back home Max smiles as the moon tags along, thinking of Grandpa. But when the sky darkens and the moon disappears behind clouds, Max worries that it did not follow him home after all. Yet when the clouds part and light streams through his window, he realizes that Grandpa was right—the moon was with him all along.
Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall
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.
I Can Do Hard Things by Gabi Garcia
What kids tell themselves matters! It becomes their inner voice. It can help them connect with their power within. Help your child tap into their inner strength and resilience when challenges arise. I Can Do Hard Things introduces children to the practice of using mindful affirmations for support and encouragement when they need it. It reflects the beautiful diversity in our world.
Whose Knees Are These? by Jabari Asim
A vibrant, playful verse that celebrates a beautiful brown baby’s sweet little knees. Snuggle with a child on your lap with this companion title to the popular board book Whose Toes Are Those?. With lush, adorable pictures from New York Times bestselling illustrator LeUyen Pham, reminiscent of the beloved work of Ezra Jack Keats, this interactive rhyme full of toddler appeal is a perfect baby gift for parent-child playtime.
Every Little Thing by Cedella Marley
Every family will relate to this universal story of a boy who won’t let anything get him down, as long as he has the help of three special little birds. This cheerful book will bring a smile to faces of all ages—because every little thing’s gonna be all right. This cute children’s book includes all the lyrics of the original song “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley, along with exciting new song verses
I hope your little ones love these books just as much as my girls do. These are just a few on the books your children need featuring black characters. For more, check out all the books we have found an Amazon. Let me know if you children love these books.
Check out more of my motherhood blogs for more suggestions and breaking generational curses and helping our babies be the best that they can be!