Diversity in children’s books is extremely important, yet it can be difficult to find picture books that feature African American characters. To celebrate Black History Month and encourage reading more diverse books, I thought I’d share 10 of our favorite kid’s books that star black children.
As the mom of two girls, it’s incredibly important to me that my daughters are exposed to books with lots of strong, fierce female characters. While I have no problem with pretty, pretty princesses, I also want my daughters to read stories filled with determined girls building and getting dirty and not ticking off all of the stereotypically “female” boxes.
Multi-dimensional, diverse characters are so important in children’s literature. Kids need to see depictions of children that are just like them doing a wide range of things. They also need to see stories of children who are not just like them. It helps build empathy and a connection between people who are different from them.
Did you know that a study by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that only about 12% of children’s books published in 2016 star black characters? If you regularly read children’s books, that’s probably not so surprising—but it’s definitely unacceptable.
Since February is Black History Month, I thought now would be as good a time as any to feature a few of our favorite books that star African American children. Please note that these are not (with the exception of one) about historical figures (for a great list of those check out the Brightly article 22 Books That Celebrate Lesser-Known African Americans and Their Contributions to History). Instead, these books star highly relatable girls and boys that your kids will love.