As we say goodbye to Black History Month, it’s time to look forward to the future — something that’s easy to do when reading kids books by talented Black authors. For too long, literature for children, like literature for everyone, was limited to white writers and their singular world view. But this generation of kids has the benefit of reading books coming from many different perspectives. This list of some of our favorite books by Black authors is a mere sampling of that shift.
This is a big deal. When Black kids read books by Black authors, they see themselves represented and have their self-worth reaffirmed. When non-Black kids read books by Black authors, they get to see the world from someone else’s point of view. And aren’t those two outcomes what we all want from a good book?
In the collection of children’s books by Black authors we’ve gathered here, you’ll find poetry in picture book form (as in Zetta Elliott’s A Place Inside of Me), history in simple terms (as in Vashti Harrison’s Follow Your Dreams, Little One), and inspiration in empowering words (as in Meena Harris’ Ambitious Girl). Some themes in these books are universal, others are specific to the struggle, pride, and beauty of Black life in America. They’re all worthy of a spot on your home’s bookshelves.
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Here are some of the best children’s books by Black authors to come out in the past year.