11 Children’s Books With Strong Black Characters

All children need exposure to diverse books, including the full spectrum of Black characters and their experiences. Explore these stories featuring strong Black characters that exude bravery, confidence, and curiosity.

Lupita Nyong’o (Author) and Vashti Harrison (Illustrator)
Image of Sulwe

This Coretta Scott King award-winning picture book is about Sulwe, who is darker than everyone in her family and wishes she had lighter skin. With the help of her mother and a shooting star, Sulwe embarks on a heartfelt journey to embrace her unique beauty that comes from within.

Hair Love
Matthew A. Cherry (Author) and Vashti Harrison (Illustrator)
Image of Hair Love

When Daddy has to help style Zuzu’s hair for a special occasion, he has a lot to learn. After a few failed attempts, he carefully combs, parts, and twists until Zuzu’s hair is all set for the special day.

The Day You Begin
Jacqueline Woodson (Author) and Rafael López (Illustrator)
Image of The Day You Begin

A lyrical reminder that we all feel like outsiders sometimes. It may be from the way we look, where we’re from, and even how we talk. This book is all about finding the courage to share our stories and make connections to celebrate our differences.

I Believe I Can
Grace Byers (Author) and Keturah A. Bobo (Illustrator)
Image of I Believe I Can

Regardless of gender, race, religion, or ability, this moving text inspires children to never give up.Through powerful affirmation, children feel empowered to believe in themselves and their potential to make their dreams a reality.

My Hair is a Garden
Cozbi A. Cabrera
Image of My Hair is a Garden

When Mack gets teased and taunted at school about her unruly hair, she turns to her neighbor Miss Tillie for comfort and help. To help Mack learn to care for her hair — and appreciate herself — Miss Tillie uses the metaphor of her lush garden to show Mack the many kinds of beauty and all the nurturing they require.

Amazing Grace
Mary Hoffman
Image of Amazing Grace

Grace loves to act, but one day some kids tell her she can’t play the part of Peter Pan because of the way she looks. Grace’s grandmother helps this young girl realize that with effort anything can be achieved. It’s an inspiring and heartwarming story.

I Am Enough
Grace Byers
Image of I Am Enough

This ode to female empowerment is the perfect gift for any little girl in your life. It’s all about loving who you are, kindness, and respecting others.

My Favorite Book in the Whole Wide World
Malcom Mitchell (Author) and Michael Robertson (Illustrator)
Image of My Favorite Book in the Whole Wide World

Henley has a difficult time finding books that are “just right” for him. Most books are too long, too big, or simply too boring. When Henley is asked to bring in his favorite book to share with his class, he goes on a mission to find the perfect book for the assignment.

My Rainy Day Rocket Ship
Markette Sheppard (Author) and Charly Palmer (Illustrator)
Image of My Rainy Day Rocket Ship

On a rainy day stuck inside with nothing to do, a little boy decides to build a rocket ship. With the help of his parents, a cardboard box, and a strong imagination, he sets off on a fun-filled adventure in outer space.

Layla’s Happiness
Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie (Author) and Ashleigh Corrin (Illustrator)
Image of Layla’s Happiness

Layla shares all the things around her that make her happy. From planting seeds and watching them grow to looking at the moon and catching sand dollars, Layla is truly comfortable in her own skin within her loving community.

Rocket Says Look Up!
Nathan Bryon (Author) and Dapo Adeola (Illustrator)
Image of Rocket Says Look Up!

Rocket is an aspiring astronaut and stargazer prepared for the Phoenix meteor shower. She hands out flyers for the event, but when the meteor shower takes too long to begin, many people begin to leave. 

Source : Dolisha Mitchell

About the Author

Christian Elongue

Christian Elongué is the author of “Introduction to Children Literature in Cameroon” (2019) and researcher on children and young adult literature. Dismayed by a lack of black characters in books available to African children, Elongué founded Muna Kalati in 2017 with the goal of building international recognition for African children’s book authors and increasing access to African children literature. Muna Kalati, was founded at a time when African children’s books were poorly promoted, and African authors and illustrators were virtually unknown. In 2018, they started publishing Muna Kalati magazine, which is becoming a reference for writers, publishers and illustrators of children's and Young Adult books, as well as librarians, teachers, editors and parents. Lifelong learner, he holds a postgraduate certificate on children literature (University of Liège, France) and 3 master’s degree

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may also like these