Books & Beyond

Black Stories: Picture Books

By Lisa T.
February 4, 2022

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.

The Year We Learned to Fly by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by Rafael Lopez.
By heeding their wise grandmother’s advice, a brother and sister discover the ability to use their brilliant minds to imagine a better world.

Change Sings by Amanda Gorman.
As a young girl leads a cast of characters on a musical journey, they learn that they have the power to make changes in the world.

The Me I Choose to Be by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley; art by Regis and Kahran Bethencourt.
What will you choose to be? The possibilities are endless in this immersive call for self-love and confidence.

A History of Me by Adrea Theodore
A mother’s recounts her experience as the only Black child in school to her daughter.

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.

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.
Poetry and artwork articulate a child’s experiences following a police shooting—through grief and protests, healing and community.

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.

Bright Brown Baby by Andrea Davis Pinkney; illustrated by Brian Pinkney
Cuddle up and share these sweet poems that celebrate black and brown babies, and the tender early days between parent and child.

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.

 Time for Bed Old House by Janet Costa Bates; illustrated by AG Ford.
Nervous about being away from home for the first time, Isaac takes part in a special bedtime routine with grandpa.

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

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  by Nancy Redd; illustrated by Nneka Myers.
At bedtime family members braid, brush, and twirl their hair, putting on kerchiefs, and wave caps, but little sister cannot find her bonnet.

Daddy Speaks Love by Leah Henderson; illustrated by E.B. Lewis.
A tribute to the joy and grounding that fathers bring to their children’s lives.

Going Down Home with Daddy by Kelly Starling Lyons, llustrated by Daniel Minter.
Alan looks forward to the annual family reunion at the farm where Daddy grew up.

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.

Soul Food Sunday by Winsome Bingham; illustrated by C. G. Esperanza.
Granny teaches her grandson to cook the family meal in this loving celebration of food, traditions, and gathering together at the table.

Dream Street by Tricia Elam Walker; illustrated by Ekua Holmes.
Two real-life cousins celebrate their childhood neighborhood.


Books for young children about Black history and culture.

Nina : A Story of Nina Simone by Traci N. Todd; illustrated by Christian Robinson
A biography of the singer whose music gave voice to the struggle for racial equality during the Civil Rights Movement.

We Shall Overcome by Bryan Collier
Collier brings lyrics to life with illustrations that meld emblematic moments of the twentieth-century Civil Rights movement with the present day.

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

The ABCs of Black History by Rio Cortez; illustrated by Lauren Semmer
Presents key names, moments, and places in Black history.

Opal Lee and What it Means to be Free : The True Story of the Grandmother of Juneteenth  by Alice Faye Duncan; illustrated by Keturah A Bobo.
The story of Black activist Opal Lee and her vision of Juneteenth as a holiday for everyone.

The Highest Tribute: Thurgood Marshall’s Life, Leadership, and Legacy by Kekla Magoon
A portrait of the first Black justice on the Supreme Court.

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.
Presents the history of hip-hop including, how it evolved from folktales, spirituals, and poetry.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T : Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Frank Morrison
This rhythmic biography pays the Queen of Soul the R-E-S-P-E-C-T she deserves.

Shirley Chisholm is a Verb by Veronica Chambers, illustrated by Rachelle Baker
Celebrates the life and contributions of the first Black woman in Congress who sought the Democratic nomination to be president.

More to explore on our Blog!