17 Books Every Black Child Should Read

It's World Book Day! Today we celebrate the books that will broaden your child's imagination and open new worlds of discovery and self-love. Here are some must-reads to add to your kid's bookshelf. 

 

Jolie A. Doggett May, 05, 2015

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When a little boy is teased for looking different than other kids because of his dark skin, his mother tells him why he's beautiful just the way he is. Actor Taye Diggs and Shane W. Evans' book will help both kids and parents love the skin they're in. 

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Over 50 years ago, Ezra Jack Keats wrote this story about a young Black child's imaginative day playing in the snow and we've been mesmerized ever since. It's the perfect read for a bad weather day. 

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Ezra Jack Keats also gave us the endearing story of Peter who has a hard time adjusting to sharing his toys and furniture with his new baby sister. Any kid with new siblings will relate to Peter's struggle and his resolution.

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Nappy Hair by Carolivia Herron is written in the call and response tradition and could be fun to read together with your little one. The illustrations by Joe Cepeda are vibrant and stunning.

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Simple text and historical photographs help little readers follow the extraordinary story of Ruby Bridges, the first African-American child to integrate a New Orleans school. In the face of racism and segregation, Ruby’s triumphant spirit endures, teaching brown girls they can overcome any obstacle.

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This delightful story teaches girls to love their hair and their heritage. The affirmative “I love my hair!” really teaches girls to say “I love myself!” A familiar ritual of combing the tangles from a head full of kinks and curls will give brown girls something to relate to in the story. This book, which starts with tears ends in triumph as the narrator imagines the many styles she can wear her kinky, curly hair. Definitely a great read for any girl who is struggling with loving every bit of her brown girl self.

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"The People Could Fly" is brightly illustrated retelling of some of the best folk tales, cautionary tales and slave tales that will enchant and educate your little one. 

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Penny and the Magic Puffballs by Alonda Williams is the book to buy for your little girl who wishes her hair was like anyone’s but hers—Penny discovers the magic in her hair and that could inspire your little girl to love her own magic puffballs!

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"Amazing Grace" is an old school favorite about a young girl who loves stories, movies and plays who fights for the chance to play the lead in Peter Pan. Grace's fierce determination and love of words will be contagious. 

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Happy to Be Nappy (Jump at the Sun) by bell hooks is a favorite for a reason. The lessons imparted by the famed feminist scholar are bright and beautiful, and the illustrations by Chris Rashcka just jump off the page.

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A young girl searches for beautiful things in her inner-city neighborhood and finds that they are actually all around her. Her neighbors show her that there is a lot of beauty in the little things—from a fried fish sandwich to a smooth stone. This story is perfect for teaching our daughters perspective: it’s our outlook that determines our outcome.

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President Obama's tender letter to his daughters will make your pre-teen girl  feel loved and empowered.

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The debut book from our favorite twins. Tia and Tamera Mowry team up to tell the story of Cassie and Caitlyn who use their magical abilities to change the future before it can happen.

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Nick Cannon combines comedy with storytelling in this book of silly poems and illustrations that just might teach your kid something about the meaning of life. Maybe...

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This book features poems by Countee Cullen, Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes that will give your child pride in their history and culture.

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The young adult in your life will be enthralled by the story of Steve, a teen boy in juvenile detention and awaiting a trial that may change the lives of everyone around him, including the reader. 

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Loosely based off the life of choreographer Debbie Allen, a young girl overcomes big feet and long legs to achieve her dream of becoming a dancer. Sassy, the main character, gets teased by her dance mates and even her brother because she’s the odd girl out. Budding ballerinas will be inspired by her ability to persevere despite the ridicule and her own self-doubt.