Books & Beyond

Black Stories: Picture Books

By Lisa T.
February 5, 2021

Authentic Black stories matter for all children.   Not only do these stories  portray for children the richness and diversity of the Black American experience, they allow Black and Brown children to see themselves in media.  Check out these stories written by some of the most exciting children’s book creators working today!


Books celebrating Black children and culture.  Here you’ll find titles that explore issues such as skin color, beauty, and self-esteem.

Magnificent Homespun Brown by Samara Cole Doyon
This title explores family and the natural world, pays homage to the color brown, and celebrates being at home in your own skin.

All Because You Matter by Tami Charles, illustrated by Bryan Collier
This is a heart-lifting love letter to Black and Brown children everywhere that reminds them how much they matter!

M is for Melanin: A Celebration of the Black Child by Tiffany Rose.
Each letter of the alphabet contains affirming, Black-positive messages, from A is for Afro, to F is for Fresh, to W is for Worthy.

Black is a Rainbow Color by Angela Joy, illustrated by Ekua Holmes
A child reflects on the meaning of being Black in this anthem about Black people, culture and history.

Just Like Me by Vanessa Brantley-Newton
This joyful poetry collection encourages self-love and acceptance for girls or all shades and stripes.

I am Every Good Thing by Gordon C. James, illustrated by Derrick Barnes
With powerful text and  energetic portraits, this title celebrates and affirms Black boys.

A Place Inside of Me: A poem to heal the heart by Zetta Elliott, illustrated by Noa Denmon

Sulwe by Lupita Nyong’o, illustrated by Vashti Harrison
Actor Nyong’o addresses colorism in this magical story about a girl who wishes her skin were lighter, but ultimately learns to love herself and see her own beauty.


Bedtime stories, special times, and everyday life.  For babies, see our blog post, Diverse Board Books: A Place to Begin,

Time for Kenny by Brian Pinkney
Follow preschooler Kenny through his busy day.

Milo Imagines the World by Matt de la Peña, illustrated by Christian Robinson
While Milo takes a long subway ride with his older sister to visit his incarcerated mother, he observes, imagines, and draws.

Brown Baby Lullaby by Tameka Fryer Brown, illustrated by AG Ford
Parents prepare a busy, independent, beloved baby for bedtime.

Bedtime for Sweet Creatures by Nikki Grimes, illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon
A beloved and very sleepy little boy resists his mother’s efforts to put him to bed.

Me & Mama by Cozbi Cabrera
A little girl spends a rainy day at home with her mama.

Saturday by Oge Mora
When their Saturday plans go awry, Ava and her mother still find a way to appreciate their special time together.

Bedtime Bonnet
At bedtime family members braid, brush, and twirl their hair, putting on kerchiefs, and wave caps, but little sister cannot find her bonnet.

Going Down Home with Daddy by Kelly Starling Lyons, llustrated by Daniel Minter

People & History

Here are just a few books to introduce young children about Black history and culture.  For more titles, visit out our blog post,  Juneteenth:  Honoring Black Culture and History with Picture Books.

The Bell Rang by James E. Ransome
A young enslaved girl witnesses the heartbreak and hopefulness of her family and their plantation community when her brother escapes for freedom.

The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander, illustrated by Kadir Nelson
Poetry and illustrations create a remarkable ode to Black American experience, history, genius and everyday struggle.

Overground Railroad by Lisa Cline-Ransome
A young girl tells the story of her family’s train journey from North Carolina to New York City as part of the Great Migration. 

The Roots of Rap: 16 Bars on the 4 Pillars of Hip-Hop by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Frank Morrison

The Highest Tribute: Thurgood Marshall’s Life, Leadership, and Legacy by Kekla Magoon

R-E-S-P-E-C-T : Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Frank Morrison

Shirley Chisholm is a Verb by Veronica Chambers, illustrated by Rachelle Baker

Kamala Harris: Rooted in Justice by Nikki Grimes, illustrated by Laura Freeman.

Find more picture books by Black creators here:  Juneteenth:  Honoring Black Culture and History with Picture Books.

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