1. I Dream of Africa
In Africa Dream by Eloise Greenfield, a little African-American girl falls asleep and dreams of ancient Africa. In this dream, she returns to her people exercising the principle of Sankofa, which means “to go back and fetch it.” This translates to the phrase “you cannot know where you are going unless you know where you have been.” She visits a village, its marketplaces and even meets her grandfather.
2. Black Is Beautiful in All Shades
The best way to tackle the issues of colorism is to affirm our Black children while they are young and educate them about the dangers of it. In The Colors of Us by Karen Katz, a little Black girl named Lena wants to paint a portrait of herself. After walking through her neighborhood with her mother, she discovers that Black people’s skin comes in numerous shades of brown.
3. Black Children and Beauty
Although Beautiful Blackbird by Ashley Bryan appears to be about birds, it is merely a metaphor for the beauty that Black people possess. The words are very simplistic, which is great for smaller children. This book teaches Black children about their beauty early on even in the midst of envy and jealousy expressed by those who do not look like them.
4. Black Boys on the Move
The exciting book Brothers of the Knight written by Debbie Allen was adapted from the fairytale The Twelve Dancing Princesses. The Rev. Knight has 12 energetic sons who love to dance all night without him knowing. When he sees them in the mornings, he finds that their sneakers are torn, and it is a complete mystery to him what his sons are up to. Perhaps the nanny he hires will find out.
5. Coming of Age in Black America
In Ellington Was Not A Street by Ntozake Shange with stunning illustrations by Kadir Nelson, Shange uses her childhood in the story of what it was like to grow up in the past much like today, where being Black had an effect on rights and resources. Despite these factors, Shange uses this empowering narrative to explain how important Black people were and still are in America.
6. Black Boys’ Need for Black Male Mentorship
My Man Blue by Nikki Grimes is a compilation of poems that tell the story of Damon’s need for a positive Black male role model in his life. With Blue’s mentorship, Damon believes that he can accomplish almost anything.
7. Dance, Dance, Dance
The Twelve Dancing Princesses by Rachel Isadora is the African and fun adaptation of the Grimm Brothers’ fairytale of the same name.
8. Black Girls Rock!
I Like Myself! by Karen Beaumont is about a spirited little Black girl who does more than just like herself. It is very clear that she is carefree and she loves herself.
9. Parents’ Lack of Sleep
Please, Baby, Please by Spike Lee and his wife Tonya Lewis Lee discuss the joys and sleepless nights of parenting in this cute children’s book.
10. The Celebration of Black Children
Shades of Black: A Celebration of Our Children by Sandra L. Pinkney is a book that wonderfully affirms Black children. Black children are important, innovative, creative, and they will become the future generation of adults. This book reinforces that we must affirm all of these things and show them just how much we love them.