Children’s Books Written by Black Authors

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Wild, wild hair by Nikki Grimes
“Hating having to get her wild hair painfully combed and braided every Monday, Tisa decides to hide, but once her hair is done, she loves it so much that her mother cannot tear her away from the mirror.”
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Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Doreen Rappaport
“This picture-book biography is an excellent and accessible introduction for young readers to learn about one of the world’s most influential leaders, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Doreen Rappaport weaves the immortal words of Dr. King into a captivating narrative to tell the story of his life. With stunning art by acclaimed illustrator Bryan Collier, Martin’s Big Words is an unforgettable portrait of a man whose dream changed America-and the world-forever.”

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The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

“No book has captured the magic and sense of possibility of the first snowfall better than The Snowy Day. Universal in its appeal, the story has become a favorite of millions, as it reveals a child’s wonder at a new world, and the hope of capturing and keeping that wonder forever.”

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One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
“Eleven-year-old Delphine is like a mother to her two younger sisters, Vonetta and Fern. She’s had to be, ever since their mother, Cecile, left them seven years ago for a radical new life in California. But when the sisters arrive from Brooklyn to spend the summer with their mother, Cecile is nothing like they imagined. While the girls hope to go to Disneyland and meet Tinker Bell, their mother sends them to a day camp run by the Black Panthers. Unexpectedly, Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern learn much about their family, their country, and themselves during one truly crazy summer.”
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The People Could Fly by Virginia Hamilton
“The well-known author retells 24 black American folk tales in sure storytelling voice: animal tales, supernatural tales, fanciful and cautionary tales, and slave tales of freedom. All are beautifully readable. With the added attraction of 40 wonderfully expressive paintings by the Dillons, this collection should be snapped up.”–(starred) School Library Journal
Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña
“Every Sunday after church, CJ and his grandma ride the bus across town. But today, CJ wonders why they don’t own a car like his friend Colby. Why doesn’t he have an iPod like the boys on the bus? How come they always have to get off in the dirty part of town? Each question is met with an encouraging answer from grandma, who helps him see the beauty—and fun—in their routine and the world around them.”
Happy Hair by Mechal Renee Roe
“Happy Hair is a call and response picture book that promotes positive self-esteem and hair love to girls of all ages! Happy Hair covers different shades and hair types all while being fun and fashionable! This book is the foundation to building Happy Hair.”
Magic Land by Cheri Marie Anthony
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The Colors of Us by Karen Katz
“Seven-year-old Lena is going to paint a picture of herself. She wants to use brown paint for her skin. But when she and her mother take a walk through the neighborhood, Lena learns that brown comes in many different shades.
Through the eyes of a little girl who begins to see her familiar world in a new way, this book celebrates the differences and similarities that connect all people.”
If I Ran For President by Catherine Stier
“If you ran for president, you would have to do a lot of hard work. You would study the nation’s problems, tell the American people about your platform, select a running mate, and debate your opponents on live television.”
Gone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Williams-Garcia
“Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern are off to Alabama to visit their grandmother Big Ma and her mother, Ma Charles. Across the way lives Ma Charles’s half sister, Miss Trotter. The two half sisters haven’t spoken in years. As Delphine hears about her family history, she uncovers the surprising truth that’s been keeping the sisters apart. But when tragedy strikes, Delphine discovers that the bonds of family run deeper than she ever knew possible.”
The Adventures of Obi and Titi: The Hidden Temple of Ogiso (Volume 1) by Oyehmi Begho
“The Adventures of Obi and Titi is a chapter book series that uses a beautiful blend of fact and fiction to take its readers on an untold journey across ancient Africa.
This epic adventure series follows the story of two brave, young children and a very naughty monkey, who set out on an unexpected journey of knowledge, hope and everlasting friendship.”
What Color Is My World?: The Lost History Of African-American Inventors
by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Raymond Obstfeld
“Did you know that James West invented the microphone in your cell phone? That Fred Jones invented the refrigerated truck that makes supermarkets possible? Or that Dr. Percy Julian synthesized cortisone from soy, easing untold people’s pain? These are just some of the black inventors and innovators scoring big points in this dynamic look at several unsung heroes who shared a desire to improve people’s lives. Offering profiles with fast facts on flaps and framed by a funny contemporary story featuring two feisty twins, here is a nod to the minds behind the gamma electric cell and the ice-cream scoop, improvements to traffic lights, open-heart surgery, and more – inventors whose ingenuity and perseverance against great odds made our world safer, better, and brighter.”
Peeny Butter Fudge by Toni Morrison and Slade Morrison
“There is no one like Nana in the whole wide world. She is the best. Nana knows how to take an ordinary afternoon and make it extra special! Nap time, story time, and playtime are transformed by fairies, dragons, dancing, and pretending — and then mixing and fixing yummy, yummy fudge just like Nana and Mommy did not so many years ago….”
Grandpa, Is Everything Black Bad? by Sandy Lynne Holman
My Painted House, My Friendly Chicken, and Me by Maya Angelou
“Full color photographs. “Hello, Stranger-Friend” begins Maya Angelou’s story about Thandi, a South African Ndebele girl, her mischievous brother, her beloved chicken, and the astonishing mural art produced by the women of her tribe.  With never-before-seen photographs of the very private Ndebele women and their paintings, this unique book shows the passing of traditions from parent to child and introduces young readers to a new culture through a new friend.”


Life Doesn’t Frighten Me by Maya Angelou, Sara Jane Boyers, Jean-Michel Basquiat

“Maya Angelou’s brave, defiant poem celebrates the courage within each of us, young and old. From the scary thought of panthers in the park to the unsettling scene of a new classroom, fearsome images are summoned and dispelled by the power of faith in ourselves.
Angelou’s strong words are matched by the daring vision of artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, whose childlike style reveals the powerful emotions and fanciful imaginings of childhood. Together, Angelou’s words and Basquiat’s paintings create a place where every child, indeed every person, may experience his or her own fearlessness.”

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