Let's Read About Black Characters & People -- Round-Up of Children's Books

The other day as I talked to Hazel about current events on our walk and was telling her my plans for Crafty Moms Share, she said, "Did you ever notice that when there is a black person in a book there is just one in a group of white friends?" Oh, yes, we still have the token black person in our society of books and television shows. She even commented how sometimes the group is made up of one person of different races like in The Start-Up Squad Series. I recently read an article about how white people need to do more than talk to our kids about racism. Where we live, who our neighbors are, books we read/provide our kids, who our friends are, the diversity of the school we send our kids to all play a part in how our kids grow up and understand race relations. Now I cannot change your neighborhood or their school but I hope I can change the books in your house and your library. I asked some fellow bloggers as well as authors that are part of the Multicultural Children's Book Day group for any books, activities, and reviews they had with black people as the main characters. Today I am going to share a round-up of books shared and some others I found (on Amazon). I will link reviews and activities whenever possible. It is important that all of our kids read books that have people like them but it is also important that our kids read books with people who do not look like them. This will build their understanding and help them to grow and learn about race and culture and hopefully not be racist when they grow up. I have the books separated into picture books, fairy tales, chapter books/novels, and non-fiction/biographies. There are some separation within some of these genres as well. 

Picture Books

We will start with our picture books. And we will start with ones for babies or toddlers. These books are board books or more simply written books for the youngest of our children. 

1) The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats and a coding activity to go with it from J.Daniel4's Mom
2) Please, Baby Please by Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee suggested by Happily Ever Elephants
3) Baby Code! Music by Sandra Horning
4) I Love My Hair! by Natasha Anastacia Tarpley suggested by The Mommy Evolution
5) Let's Clap, Jump, Sing & Shout; Dance, Spin & Turn It Out! collected  by Patricia C. McKissack
6) Baby Goes to Market by Atinuke 
7) Full, Full, Full of Love by Trish Cooke suggested by Happily Ever Elephants
8) Dream Big Little One by Vashti Harrison suggested by The Mommy Evolution
9) All My Friends Are Fast Asleep by 
10) Peekaboo Morning by Rachel Isadora suggested by Happily Ever Elephants
11) The Mommy Evolution shares many a round-up of Black History Books for Kids including this African American Toddler Books Round-Up

Picture Books for Older Kids

 1) Oh Susanah Series is a an easy reader chapter book by Carole P. Roman. Susanah is white but her best friend, Lola, is black. The second book takes place at Lola's house with her family as well. I reviewed the first book here
2) Mr. Posey's New Glasses by Ted Kooser has a black boy who accompanies Mr. Posey on his adventures. 
3) Princess Grace by Mary Hoffman is one of my favorite princess books. I have shared it twice. I love the fact that it is about a young black girl who wants to be a princess but learns about real life princesses from different countries around the world. I did some research on some of the princesses shared in the book
4) Love Is... by DeeDee Cummings is one of the few of DeeDee's books that I haven't reviewed.
5) More-igami by Dori Kleber is a fun multicultural tale about young Joey who learns origami
6) Jazz Day by Roxane Orgil (actually a nonfiction but a great picture book)
7) Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall 
8) How to Trick the Tooth Fairy by Erin Danielle Russell
9) Green Pants by Kenneth Kraegel
10) The Granddaughter Necklace by Sharon Dennis Wyeth
11) A round-up of books by Deirdre (DeeDee) Pecchioni Cummings
12) Dance Like Starlight by Kristy Dempsey and Floyd Cooper
13) The Color of Us by Karen Katz is a great look at race and color of skin and how all the colors are beautiful!
14) Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty
15) The Day No One Played Together by Donalisa Helsley
16) Double Bass Blues by Andrea J. Loney (saw on Amazon and thought it looked good)
17) Book Round-Up suggested by Pragmatic Mom 
18) Everywhere, Wonder by Matthew Swanson
19) Of Thee I Sing by Barrack O'Bama suggested by Pragmatic Mom
20) Pink and Say by Patricia Pollacco suggested by Pragmatic Mom
21) The Word Collector by Peter H. Reynolds from Happily Ever Elephants
22) Rosa Parks: Not Giving In by James Collin from Pragmatic Mom
23) Do Not Bring Your Dragon to the Library by Julie Gassman
24) Hot Day on Abbott Avenue by Karen English suggested by Pragmatic Mom
25) Love in Langston by 
26) Minty: A Story of Young Harriet Tubman by Alan Schroder suggested by Pragmatic Mom (oops! wrong section)
27) Boundless Grace and Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman suggested by Pragmatic Mom
28) Have You Seen Elephant? by David Barrow suggested by Happily Ever Elephants

1) Rice & Rocks by Sandra L. Richards
2) Rainbow Stew by Cathryn Falwell
3) Noah Builds an Ark by Kate Banks
4) My Pet Wants a Pet by Elise Broach
5) Me, Myselfie, and I by Jamie Lee Curtis and Laura Cornell
6) Princess Truly Series by Kelly Greenawalt (read my reviews over at Multicultural Kid Blogs)
7) Dictionary for a Better World by Irene Latham and Charles Waters is a wonderful book to give language to talk about race, prejudices and more with poetry and experiences
8) Justice Pon Di Road by Aliona Gibson tells the tale of Justice visiting his mother's former home, Jamaica, for the first time. 
9) Repeat (Sorry)
10) White Water by Michael S. Bandy and Eric Stein is a great book to learn about segregation
11) Twins by Mike Ciccotello has a black boy who thinks he is twins with a giraffe. It looks at similarities and differences.
12) The Mighty Knights Series by Peter J. Clark are two great books that share brave black kids 
13) The Patchwork Bike by Maxine Beneba Clarke is about a boy who pieces together a bike in an unnamed African country. 
14) Under the Same Sun by Sharon Robinson is about a family in Tanzania getting excited for a visit from the grandmother and aunt who live in the United States
15) My Hair Is a Garden by Cozbi A. Cabrera suggested by Happily Ever Elephants
16) Where Did My Clothes Come From? by Chris Butterworth takes us around the world as we see people of different cultures and countries and the role they play in making our clothes. 
17) The Very Last Castle by Travis Jonkers suggested by Happily Ever Elephants
18) Disney's The Nutcracker and the Four Realms by Courtney Acampora
19) The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson suggested by Happily Ever Elephants
20) Mary Had a Little Glam by Tammi Sauer suggested by Happily Ever Elephants
21) Monster Trouble by Lane Frederickson suggested by Happily Ever Elephants
22) What If... by Samantha Berger suggested by Happily Ever Elephants
23) The Field by Baptiste Paul suggested by Happily Ever Elephants
24) What Is Given from the Heart by Patricia C. McKissack suggested by Happily Ever Elephants
25) My Rows and Piles of Coins by Tolowa M. Mollel suggested by Jeddah Mom
26) When's My Birthday? by Julie Fogliano
27) Kitchen Dance by Maurie J. Manning suggested by Happily Ever Elephants
28) I Am Human by Susan Verde suggested by Happily Ever Elephants
29) I Am Famous by Tara Luebbe suggested by Happily Ever Elephants
30) I Am Enough by Grace Byers suggested by Happily Ever Elephants
31) Hey, Wall by Susan Verde suggested by Happily Ever Elephants 
32) Alfie by Thyra Heder suggested by Happily Ever Elephants
33) Repeat (Sorry)
34) Julian Is a Mermaid by Jessica Love suggested by Happily Ever Elephants
35) LaDonna Books by Kimberly A. Gordon Biddle
36) The Big Bed by Bunmi Laditon
37) Crown by Derrick Barnes suggested by Happily Ever Elephants
38) Emily's Day in the Desert A Kid's Yoga Desert Book by Giselle Shardlow (I haven't reviewed this particular book but have reviewed several of Giselle's kid's yoga books)
39) Repeat (Sorry)
40) Children's Books Round-Up from The Mommy Evolution
41) Top Ten African American Picture Books over on Pragmatic Mom
43) Vanilla and Chocolate by Maritza Martinez Mejia suggested by Luz Del Mes

Fairy Tales

1) The Nutmeg Princess by Richardo Keens-Douglas (a Caribbean fairy tale)
2) The Girl Who Spun Gold by Virginia Hamilton (West Indies Rumpelstiltskin story)
3) Sugar Cane by Patricia Sorace (Caribbean Rapunzel story)
4) Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters by John Steptoe (Cinderella story that takes place in Africa)
5) Beauty and the Beast by H. Chuku Lee (inspired by Western Africa)
7) Jack and the Red Beanstalk by Aphrodyi Antoine
8) The Talking Eggs by Robert D. San Souci (Cinderella story takes place in Southern USA)
9) Sukey and the Mermaid by Robert San Souci (Cinderella story takes place in Southern USA)
10) Cenrillon by Robert D. San Souci (Caribbean Cinderella story)
11) Moroccan Folktales by Jilali El Koudia, we featured "Jealous Mother" which is a Snow White style story
12) Tales Arab Women Tell by Hasan M. El-Shamy, we featured "More Beautiful Than the Moon" which is a Snow White tale from Algeria
13) The Princess and the Pea by Rachel Isadora suggested by Happily Ever Elephants

For more fairy tales in other cultures check out our series.

Chapter Books and Novels (Grade 2 through Young Adults)

1) Ellie Ultra: Extraordinary Girl by Gina Bellisario
2) Dear Molly, Dear Olive by Megan Atwood (Penpals share about their lives with one another--one a country girl and the other a city girl)
3) Smashie McPerter and the Mystery of the Missing Goop by N. Griffin tells us about two kids, Smashie and Dontel who work together to solve a mystery.
4) Hello Stars by Alena Pitts is a Christian novel for middle grades. 
5) Absolutely Alfie Series by Sally Warner (lower elementary)
6) Walking with Miss Millie by Tamara Bundy (upper elementary-middle school) this book is amazing!! It shares a story of a white girl adapting to life in a new state to help with her grandmother but she develops a relationship with the elderly black woman next door and learns all about what it is like to be black and have lived in the South during the Civil Rights Movement.
7) Zora and Me The Cursed Ground by T.R. Simon
8) The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba (young reader edition) STEAM Powered Family offers activities to go with all three versions of the book
9) The Stars Beneath Our Feet by David Barclay Moore (10+) suggested by Artsy Momma
10) Cody Series by Tricia Springstubb (Cody is a white girl who has a black boy for a best friend and they discover life together)
11) The Last Kids on Earth Series by Max Brallier is a series that includes a black person as a main character but is the token black person
12) The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba (young adult) STEAM Powered Family offers activities to go with all three of the versions of this book for different ages
13) New Kid by Jerry Craft is a great story about a boy starting a new school and trying to fit in as one of the only black kids there
14) Trell by Dick Lehr (12+) is a story based on a true story from Boston about someone wrongly convicted of murder and his daughter fighting for the truth.
15) Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets by Kwame Alexander with Chris Colderley and Marjory Wentworth features poems from different poets--not all black but many are and the artwork is also amazing!
16) Hell and High Water by Tanya Landman (YA) takes place during slavery times in England. The main character is the child of a white woman and a slave. The only family he knows (his uncle but thinks of him as his father) is taken from him and tells him to find his aunt. 
17) Round up of Middle School Books by Mommy Evolution

Novels that I found but have not reviewed (or seen in person)

I cannot speak personally of these books but they look interesting and I am going to check some of them out.
1) President of the Whole Fifth Grade by Sherri Winston (series)
2) Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
3) Gone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Williams-Garcia
4) One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
5) Jazmin's Notebook by Nikki Grimes
6) Crossover by Kwame Alexander (series)
7) Dear Martin by Nic Stone
8) P.S. Be Eleven by Rita Williams-Garcia (series)
9) Genesis Begins Again by Alicia D. Williams
10) Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes
11) For Black Girls Like Me by Mariama J. Lockington
12) Calling My Name by Liara Tamani
13) A Good Kind of Trouble by Lisa Moore Ramee
14) What Momma Left Me by Renee Watson
15) The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
16) Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson

Non-Fiction Books

Civil Rights Books

 1) Rosa by Nikki Giovanni suggested by Happily Ever Elephants
2) Rosa Parks by Al Beringer
3) I Am Rosa Parks by Brad Meltzer
4) Seeds of Freedom: The Peaceful Integration of Huntsville, Alabama by Hester Bass
5) Rosa Parks by Lisbeth Kaiser
6) The Youngest Marcher by Cynthia Levinson suggested by Happily Ever Elephants
7) Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up By Sitting Down by Andrea Davis Pinkney suggested by Happily Ever Elephants
8) Civil Rights Book Round-Up
9) Let Freedom Sing by Vanessa Newton Wise Owl Factory offers a free printable to go with this book. 
10) Let the Children March by Monica Clark-Robinson suggested by Happily Ever Elephants
11) As Fast As Words Could Fly by Pamela Tuck
12) We Shall Overcome by Debbie Levy
13) 1968: Today's Authors Explore a Year of Rebellion, Revolution and Change by Marc Aronson and Susan Campbell Bartoletti (12+)
14) Freedom Summer by Deborah Wiles suggested by Happily Ever Elephants
15) The Silence of Our Friends by Mark Long and Jim Demonakos is a graphic novel that is perfect for our times. It explores 1967 (somewhat autobiographical).
16) Pragmatic Mom has a round-up of the top ten books on Civil Rights Movement as well as books on Civil Rights Movement for Fourth Grade

Martin Luther King, Jr.

1) Teaching Young Children about MLK Round-Up
2) First Look Tour on books about MLK and Rosa Parks
3) I Am Martin Luther King Jr. by Brad Meltzer
4) Martin's Dream by Jane Kurtz with activity page from Wise Owl Factory
5) My First Biography: Martin Luther King Jr. by Marion Dane Bauer Suggested by Pragmatic Mom
6) Show Me History! Martin Luther King Jr by James Buckley
7) Martin Luther King The Peaceful Warrior by Ed Clayton (my review is on Multicultural Kid Blogs)
8) Round-Up
9) Round-Up
10) March On! The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World by Christine King Farris
11) I Have a Dream by Kadir Nelson suggested by Happily Ever Elephants
12) Martin & Mahalia by Andrea Davis Pinkney and Brian Pinkney
13) Mommy Evolution has a round-up of books

Books about Slavery Times

1) I Am Harriet Tubman by Brad Meltzer Books and Giggles shares a craft to go with the book
2) Before She Was Harriet by Lesa Cline-Ransome
3) The Underground Railroad by Judy Dodge Cummings
4) Henry's Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad by Ellen Levine suggested by Happily Ever Elephants
6) Facing Frederick by Tonya Bolden
7) A Voice of Her Own by Kathryn Lasky
8) When the Slave Esperanca Garcia Wrote a Letter by Sonia Rosa (a Brazilian story)
9) Not pictured Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt by Deborah Hopkinson Wise Owl Factory offers free discussion questions to go with the book.

Black Scientists

1) Katherine Johnson
2) Hidden Figures Young Readers' Edition by Margot Lee Shetterly
3) Hidden Women by Rebecca Rissman
4) Mae Among the Stars by Roda Ahmed suggested by Happily Ever Elephants
5) The Doctor with an Eye for Eyes: The Story of Patricia Bath by Julia Finley Mosca suggested by Happily Ever Elephants
6) The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba (Picture Book) STEAM Powered Family offers activities to go with all three of the versions of this book for different ages
7) Black Inventors
8) Benjamin Banneker
9) Round-up of Black Women in Science from Mommy Evolution 

Black Athletes

1) Catching the Moon by Crystal Hubbard
5) I Am Jackie Robinson by Brad Meltzer
6) Game Changers: The Story of Venus and Serena Williams by Lesa Cline-Ransome suggested by Happily Ever Elephants
7) Run with Me by Sanya Richards-Ross
8) Champion: The Story of Muhammad Ali by Jim Haskins suggested by Happily Ever Elephants
9) The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander suggested by Happily Ever Elephants
12) Lebron James: The Who Became King by Anthony Curcio
13) Salt in His Shoes by Deloris Jordan with Roslyn M. Jordan suggested by Mommy Evolution

More Amazing Black People

1) Preaching to Chickens: The Story of Young John Lewis by Bethany Hegedus suggested by Happily Ever Elephants
2) Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library by Carole Boston Weatherford
3) The Power in Her Pen: The Story of Groundbreaking Journalist Ethel L. Payne by Lesa Cline-Ransome suggested by Happily Ever Elephants
4) Round-Up (Underground Railroad, Sarah Breedlove Walker, Ella Fitzgerald, and voting)
5) Lillian's Right to Vote by Jonah Winter suggested by Happily Ever Elephants
6) A Ride to Remember by Sharon Langley and Amy Nathan suggested by Happily Ever Elephants
8) The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read by Rita Lorraine Hubbard suggested by Happily Ever Elephants
10) Trailblazer: The Story of Ballerina Raven Wilkinson by Reda Schubert suggested by Happily Ever Elephants
12) Heroes of Black History: Biographies of Four Great Americans from Editors of Time for Kids (Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Jackie Robinson, and Barrack Obama)
15) Betty Before X by Ilyasah Shabazz (daughter of Betty & Malcolm X) with Renee Watson
16) The Cosmobiography of Sun Ra by Chris Raschka
17) Between the Lines: How Ernie Barnes Went from the Football Field to the Art Gallery by Sandra Neil Wallace suggested by Happily Ever Elephants
18) Maya Angelou by Lisbeth Kaiser
19) Rise! From Caged Bird to Poet of the People by Bethany Hegedus suggested by Happily Ever Elephants
20) X: A Novel by Ilyasah Shabazz (daughter of Malcolm X) with Kekla Magoon
21) The Case of Loving by Selina Alko suggested by Happily Ever Elephants
22) Virgie Goes to School with Us Boys by Elizabeth Fitzgerald Howard suggested by Pragmatic Mom
23) Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison suggested by Happily Ever Elephants
24) The Roots of Rap: 16 Bars and the 4 Pillars of Hip Hop by Carole Boston Weatherford suggested by Happily Ever Elephants
25) Through My Eyes by Ruby Bridges suggested by Happily Ever Elephants
26) Ona Judge Outwits the Washingtons by Gwendolyn Hooks and The Escape of Robert Smalls by Jehan Jones-Radgowski (and Mamie on the Mound shared above)
27) The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles suggested by Pragmatic Mom
29) Round-Up over at Mommy Evolution

One more that I didn't share is Little Legions: Exceptional Men in Black History by Vashti Harrison. In truth there are many more I have not shared, but this is a strong beginning. There are even some on the links I share from other bloggers that didn't make it into my collages. I hope you will check them out and let's bring race to the forefront so we can all work to a solutions because black lives matter!