Black Stories to Share with Young Children

Black lives matter.  Black creators matter.  Black stories matter.

The list below features picture books written by Black authors. Most are also illustrated by Black artists. These books capture multiple facets of life: family, new beginnings, tall tales, conquering fears, friendships, and more. These books include joy, hurt, anger, love, laughs, tears, and hugs. These books celebrate and affirm Black children’s lives and show a variety of lived experiences. These books are for every family, every child, and should be enjoyed and read no matter your skin color.   

Check them out online, linked if available, or call your Heights Libraries branch to order.  

And, also, this is by no means (very much, not at all) a comprehensive list!  For more resources and book lists, including information on Juneteenth, scroll to the bottom.

Picture Books


King of Kindergarten by Derrick Barnes, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton (ebook) and Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes, illustrated by Gordon C. James (ebook)

Grandma’s Purse (ebook) and Just Like Me by Vanessa Brantley-Newton (ebook)

Brown Baby Lullaby by Tameka Fryer Brown, illustrated by AG Ford  

Grandma’s Tiny House by JaNay Brown-Wood, illustrated by Priscilla Burris (ebook)

Hair Love by Matthew Cherry, illustrated by Vashti Harrison (ebook)

Max and the Tag-Along Moon by Floyd Cooper 

Shortcut by Donald Crews 


One Hot Summer Day by Nina Crews  

Parker Looks Up: An Extraordinary Moment by Parker Curry and Jessica Curry, illustrated by Brittany Jackson (ebook)

My Mommy Medicine by Edwidge Danticat, illustrated by Shannon Wright

Chocolate Me and Mixed Me by Taye Diggs, illustrated by Shane W. Evans (audio file)


Magnificent Homespun Brown: A Celebration by Samara Cole Doyon, illustrated by Kaylani Juanita  

Just Like a Mama by Alice Faye Duncan, illustrated by Charnelle Pinkney Barlow

Not Quite Snow White by Ashley Franklin, , illustrated by Ebony Glenn 

Honey, I Love by Eloise Greenfield, illustrated by Jan Spivey Gilchrist 


Bedtime for Sweet Creatures by Nikki Grimes, illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon

My Friend Maya Loves to Dance by Cheryl Willis Hudson, illustrated by Eric Velasquez  (ebook)

That is My Dream by Langston Hughes, illustrated by Daniel Miyares (ebook)

Black is a Rainbow Color by Angela Joy 


Please, Baby, Please and Please, Puppy, Please by Spike Lee, illusrated by Kadir Nelson 

Going Down Home with Daddy by Kelly Starling Lyons, illustrated by Daniel Minter (ebook)

Hands Up! by Breanna J. McDaniel, illustrated by Shane Evans (ebook)

What is Given from the Heart by Patricia McKissack, illustrated by April Harrison (ebook)


The Proudest Blue by Ibtihaj Muhammad with S.K. Ali, illustrated by Hatem Aly (ebook)

Thunder Rose by Jerdine Nolen, illustrated by Kadir Nelson 

Sulwe by Lupito Nyong’o, illustrated by Vashti Harrison (ebook)

I Got Next by Daria Peoples-Riley

Hey Black Child by Useni Eugene Perkins, illustrated by Bryan Collier (ebook)

Bedtime Bonnet by Nancy Redd, illustrated by Nneka Myers 

Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold

Another and You Matter by Christian Robinson 


M is for Melanin by Tiffany Rose 

Layla’s Happiness by Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie, illustrated by Ashleigh Corrin  

Mommy’s Khimar by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow, illustrated by Ebony Glenn 

Looking for Bongo by Eric Velasquez (ebook)

Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by E.B. Lewis (audio file)


More resources and booklists:

The Brown Bookshelf

We Need Diverse Books

The Conscious Kid

Here Wee Read

Diverse Book Finder

Social Justice Books

This week also marks the 155th anniversary of the holiday Juneteenth.  On June 19, 1865, news finally reached (or was shared with) Galveston, Texas, that the Civil War had ended and that enslaved people were free.  Also known as Freedom Day or Jubilee Day, now, each year on June 19, this special day is a celebration of freedom and a call to reflect on the history of enslavement and the path to freedom in America.  The holiday also serves as a reminder of how much more there is to achieve in the realm of civil rights and equality for all.  As former President Barack Obama tweeted, “Juneteenth has never been a celebration of victory, or an acceptance of the way things are. It’s a celebration of progress. It’s an affirmation that despite the most painful parts of our history, change is possible––and there is still so much work to do.”

Juneteenth Books


Juneteenth for Mazie by Floyd Cooper

Juneteenth Jamboree by Carole Boston Weatherford

All Different Now: Juneteenth the First Day of Freedom by Angela Johnson

Juneteenth by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson


Juneteenth Resources

Juneteenth – a website launched in 1996 to provide a channel in which to connect all who share the vision of [the Juneteenth] celebration

Juneteenth Book Festival – virtual event organized by YA author, L.L. McKinney, and book publicist, Saraciea Fennell.  “Things are hard right now, and my goal is that we take a moment to celebrate us during all of this,” said McKinney.  The online event, “seeks to use this day of jubilation to boost and celebrate Black American stories and the people behind them.”  Dozens of writers and industry insiders, including Angie Thomas, have signed on to participate.  You might discover your next favorite book or author! RSVP here or follow on social media, @JuneteenthBkFst, and YouTube for updates. 

National Museum of African American History and Culture – offers a tour of the “Slavery and Freedom” exhibition given by the Founding Director, Lonnie Bunch III.

Teaching Tolerance – offers a guide to adults and educators on discussing and teaching the holiday.



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