10 Children's Books That Celebrate Black Voices

Jan 27, 2023 4:16:00 PM / by Beaming Books


Children learn about the world through books, and it's important that all kids are able to see themselves in the stories they read. Kids books also allow us to celebrate the diversity that makes our communities vibrant and special. That's why both during Black History Month and all year long we celebrate and honor the work of Black Americans. Below are books by Black authors and illustrators sharing stories of love, hope, spirituality, self-esteem, bravery, and joy.



Dear Star Baby

Malcolm Newsome

Written as a letter to his unborn baby sibling, Dear Star Baby shares how a little boy processes the grief he and his family experience after a miscarriage. He tells the baby all about how they were preparing their home to welcome them and the things he was looking forward to doing together. He processes his wonders, wishes, and sadness after this tremendous loss. Dad says their Star Baby feels far away. Mom says their Star Baby is always in her heart. The little boy imagines his baby sibling singing and twinkling in the night sky as he sleeps.

Poignant and sensitively told, this story will help families who have lost a baby to miscarriage or stillbirth grieve and move forward together.

Age: Early grades (5–8 years)

Publication date: April 4, 2023

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Looking for Happy

Ty Chapman

Every day is different. Some days everything goes right—you're in the groove and feeling like yourself. But some days, it's a lot harder to find happy because everything that should be fun just feels . . . flat. In Looking for Happy, a young boy is having one of those dreary days, and nothing seems to help. But after trying his grandmother's way to shake the blues also fails, he discovers that happiness is easiest to find when you're not looking. This picture book gently reminds readers that it's normal to have happy and sad days and normalizes speaking about emotions and seeking help. 

Age: Early grades (5–8 years)

Publication date: May 2, 2023

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Linda Ravin Lodding and Dipesh Pabari

Juma is excited to go fishing with his grandfather, Babu Ali. But when they get to the beach, they find the sand covered in plastic pollution—flip-flops, plastic straws, toothbrushes, bottles, and shopping bags. One of the flip-flops floating in on a wave looks like a boat. That gives Juma and Babu Ali an idea.

Based on the true story of the Kenyan dhow boat Flipflopi, this inspirational tale demonstrates how innovation, art, and determination can transform plastic pollution into something useful. In 2017, 30,000 flip-flops and other plastic waste items, all collected from the Kenyan coast, were melted, shaped, and carved into the dhow named Flipflopi. Weighing in at 7 tons, this boat is a testament to what can happen when awareness is turned into action.

Age: Early Grades (5–8 years)

Publication date: March 14, 2023

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Sarah Rising

Ty Chapman

Sarah starts her day like any other day: she eats her toast and feeds her bugs. But today isn't a day like any other day. Today, her dad brings her to a protest to speak out against police violence against Black people. When Sarah spots a beautiful monarch butterfly and follows it through the crowd, she finds herself inside the no-man's land between the line of police and protesters. In the moments that follow, Sarah is confronted with the cruelty of those who are supposed to protect her and learns what it feels like to protect and be protected.

Inspired by the protests that happened during the Minneapolis Uprising after the police killing of George Floyd, Sarah Rising provides a child's-eye view of a protest and offers an opportunity for children to talk about why people take to the streets to protest racial injustice. Readers will gain a new appreciation for how important it is to be part of a community of people who protect each other.

Continue the conversation about racism and police violence with the Sarah Rising educator's guide, including practical ways kids can get involved in activism.

Age: Early Grades (5–8 years)

Publication date: May 24, 2022

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God's Holy Darkness

Sharei Green and Beckah Selnick

In God's Holy Darkness, Sharei Green and Beckah Selnick deconstruct anti-Blackness in Christian theology by celebrating instances in the story of God's people when darkness, blackness, and night are beautiful, good, and holy. From the darkness at the beginning of creation to the blackness of the sky on the day when Christ's birth was announced to the shepherds, children learn that blackness is something to celebrate as an important element of the life of faith. Perfect for reading and anti-racist reflection in worship, as an affirmation and celebration with children, and at home with caregivers, God's Holy Darkness is a gift to cherish.

Age: Early Grades (5–8 years)

Publication date: July 12, 2022

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BB Opening the Road flat

Opening the Road: Victor Hugo Green and His Green Book

Keila V. Dawson

In the late 1930s when segregation was legal and Black Americans couldn't visit every establishment or travel everywhere they wanted to safely, a New Yorker named Victor Hugo Green decided to do something about it. Green wrote and published a guide that listed places where his fellow Black Americans could be safe in New York City. Soon customers started asking Green to make a guide to help them travel and vacation safely across the nation too. With the help of his mail carrier co-workers and the African American business community, Green's guide allowed millions of African Americans to travel safely and enjoy traveling across the nation.

Download the free Opening the Road Educator's Guide for kids to continue learning about Victor Hugo Green and his Green Book!

Age range: Preschool (3–5 years); Early Grades (5–8 years)

Publication date: January 26, 2021

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Black Girls Unbossed: Young World Changers Leading the Way

Khristi Lauren Adams

Black girls are shaping the future.

Young Black leaders have always been at the forefront of the fight for justice, freedom, and equity. And Black girls today are stepping up and leading in bold, creative ways. From Khristi Lauren Adams, author of the celebrated Parable of the Brown Girl, comes Black Girls Unbossed, which introduces readers to young Black women leading the way and changing the world.

Eight young Black women are profiled, including the founder of a child literacy nonprofit, political activists, and a school shooting survivor who launched a political action committee to prevent gun violence. These are the young Black women we will be reading about and studying decades from now. Like the young women who came before them, Black girls today are saying "enough is enough" and building a better world.

Continue the conversation with the Black Girls Unbossed Discussion Guideperfect for book clubs, church groups, or individual study.

Also available is Unbossed, a companion read for adults. Unbossed is published and sold by our sister imprint, Broadleaf Books.

Age range: Middle Grades (9–13 years)

Publication date: March 22, 2022

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I Love Me!

LaRonda Gardner Middlemiss

"I was teaching my son to say and sign (using American Sign Language [ASL]) I love you, but instead he would say I love me. Those words stayed with me. And I began to think about how important it is to teach kids to love themselves, as they are, before society and outside influences start telling them they aren’t good enough." – LaRonda Gardner Middlemiss on the inspiration behind I Love Me!

I Love Me! is a celebration of all body types, ethnicities, abilities and disabilities, and physical features, and it teaches all kids they have many, many reasons to love themselves.

Age range: Preschool (3–5 years)

Publication date: April 21, 2020

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bitty brown babe flat

Bitty Brown Babe

Deborah LeFalle

When a new baby enters the family, it is cause for great celebration. Bitty Brown Babe compares a baby's precious features to items in nature—a nose as soft as a rose, cheeks as chubby as chickadees, and hair as curly as sheep’s wool.

Age range: Toddler (1–3 years)

Publication date: September 10, 2019

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You Are So Wonderful

Jacqueline Lewis

From your nose to your toes and your chin to your grin, God made you special, wonderful, and perfectly you. You Are So Wonderful features a diverse cast of kids enjoying life in New York City's Central Park, and it celebrates and affirms that every child is unique and deeply loved by God.

Age range: Preschool (3–5 years)

Publication date: March 10, 2020

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Click here to view all books from Beaming Books.

Searching for Black History Month reads for adults? Click here to explore recommendations from our sister imprint, Broadleaf Books.

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