Books & Beyond

Black Voices: Chapter Books

By Lisa T.
February 4, 2022

We’ve gathered some recent stellar children’s literature by Black authors, from early readers to chapter books. How about celebrating Black History Month by reading a title by a Black author that is new to you? And, keep reading Black books all year long! Black books matter. From learning to read to reading to learn, all kids need books that reflect their own lived experience, as well as books that depict a multiplicity of cultures, skin colors, and points of view.


We are finally seeing some early reader series being published that feature culturally authentic Black protagonists.  We share a few great new series, plus a fun stand alone from the Elephant & Piggie Like Reading series.

Where is Mommy? by Pat Cummings

A girl follows clues that lead to Mommy! Perfect for new readers.

Ty’s Travels: All Aboard! by Kelly Starling Lyons, illustrated by Nina Mata.
Follow the everyday adventures of imaginative Ty and his family in this new series. Find more titles in the Ty’s Travels series.

It’s Shoe Time! by Bryan Collier
Shoes are clamoring to be selected by a young girl for her “Daddy and Me Day” in this humorous tale.

Ana & Andrew:  A Day at the Museum by by Christine Platt, illustrated by Sharon Sordo
Ana and Andrew visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Ana & Andrew series


From fantasy to humor to realistic fiction, something for every reader!  So many great writers here!  The first row on the list are just right for early elementary age readers.

J.D. and the Great Barber Battle by J. Dillard; illustrated by Akeem S. Roberts.
Eight-year-old J.D. turns a tragic home haircut into a thriving barber business in this hilarious new illustrated chapter book series.

Maya and the Robot by Eve L. Ewing; illustrated by Christine Almeda
A forgotten homemade robot comes to life just when aspiring fifth-grade scientist Maya needs a friend – and a science fair project.

Dragons in a Bag by Zetta Eliot
In Brooklyn, nine-year-old Jax joins Ma, a curmudgeonly witch who lives in his building, on a quest to deliver three baby dragons to a magical world, and along the way discovers his true calling. Start of a fun fantasy series.

Ways to Make Sunshine by Renee Watson
The Hart family of Portland, Oregon, faces many setbacks after Ryan’s father loses his job, but no matter what, Ryan brings sunshine to her loved ones. Ways to Grow Love continues Ryan Hart’s story.

Black Boy Joy: 17 Stories Celebrating Black Boyhood edited by Kwame Mbalia
A collection of stories, comics, and poems, featuring contributions from acclaimed authors.

Stuntboy, In the Meantime by Jason Reynolds, illustrated by Raúl the Third
Portico Reeves’ superpower is making sure all the other superheroes, like his parents and best friends, stay super and safe.

From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks
Aspiring baker Zoe receives an unexpected letter on her twelfth birthday from her imprisoned father; the letter sends Zoe on a quest to solve the mystery of the crime for which her father was convicted.

Ophies’s Ghosts by Justina Ireland
Discovering her ability to see ghosts when a cruel act ends her father’s life and forces her to move in with relatives in 1920s Pittsburgh, young Ophelia forges a helpful bond with a spirit whose own life ended suddenly and unjustly.

Loretta Little Looks Back: Three Voices Go Tell It by by Andrea Davis Pinkney; illustrated by Brian Pinkney.
Loretta, Roly, and Aggie B. Little relate their Mississippi family’s struggles and triumphs from 1927 to 1968 while living as sharecroppers under Jim Crow, and fighting for Civil Rights.

Being Clem by Lesa Cline-Ransome
After his father dies in the infamous Port Chicago disaster, his mother is forced to work as a maid for a wealthy white family, and Clem must live up to his father’s legacy. Part of a trilogy that includes, Finding Langston and Leaving Lymon.

Amari and the Night Brothers by B. B. Alston
Thirteen-year-old Amari gets an invitation from her missing brother to join the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs and join in the fight against an evil magician.

Root Magic by Eden Royce
In 1963 North Carolina, twins Jez and Jay Turner begin studying rootwork with their uncle.

Playing the Cards You’re Dealt by Varian Johnson
Hoping to measure up to his father’s expectations, ten-year-old Anthony Joplin is honing his card skills.

Clean Getaway by Nic Stone
Join William “Scoob” Lamar on a wild road trip through The South with his unconventional grandma, along the way he learns about the history of the Jim Crow South and starts to wonder about just what G-ma is up to on this unplanned adventure.


Middle school stories . . . exploring identity, confronting injustice, embarking on otherworldly adventures, surviving school and friendship drama and more.

Fast Pitch by Nic Stone
Working hard to prove that Black girls belong on the softball field, team captain Shenice Lockwood must prove herself on and off the field.

New Kid by Jerry Craft.
Jordan Banks has transferred from public school to an elite, predominantly White private school and must contend not only with typical middle school challenges but also with microaggressions and code-switching.

Good Kind of Trouble by Lisa Moore Ramée.
After attending a powerful protest, Shayla starts wearing an armband to school to support the Black Lives Matter movement, but when the school gives her an ultimatum, she is forced to choose between her education and her identity.

Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson.
ZJ’s friends Ollie, Darry and Daniel help him cope when his father, a beloved professional football player, suffers severe headaches and memory loss.

King and the Dragonflies by Kacen Callender.
In a small but turbulent Louisiana town, one boy’s grief takes him beyond the bayous of his backyard, to learn that there is no right way to be yourself.

Genesis Begins Again by Alicia D. Williams
Genesis navigates poverty, family relationships, bullying, and overcomes the feelings of self-hate due to the trauma of colorism.

The only Black Girls in Town by Brandy Colbert
In a predominately white California beach town, the only two black seventh-graders, Alberta and Edie, find hidden journals that uncover family secrets and speak to race relations in the past.

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia
Seventh-grader Tristan Strong tumbles into the MidPass and, with allies John Henry and Brer Rabbit, must entice the god Anansi to come out of hiding and seal the hole Tristan accidentally ripped in the sky. First in a series.

What Lane? by Torrey Maldonado.
Biracial sixth-grader Stephen questions the limitations society puts on him after he notices the way strangers treat him and learns about the Black Lives Matter movement.

Ghost by Jason Reynolds
Ghost, a naturally talented runner and troublemaker, is recruited for an elite middle school track team. He must stay on track, literally and figuratively, to reach his full potential. Check out the rest of the Track Series.