8 New Kids’ Books By Black Writers
Reading one of these new children’s books is the perfect way to celebrate Black History Month with your little one.
By Elizabeth Sile, Nora Horvath
February 1, 2018
Black History Month was first created by historian Carter G. Woodson in 1926 as “Negro History Month,” a time when people were encouraged to honor and celebrate the often overlooked accomplishments of black Americans throughout history—including in literature. While the name has changed over time, the sentiment has stayed the same.
Add these eight new children’s books by black authors and illustrators to your kids’ shelves this month—and read them all year long.
1. Little Leaders, by Vashti Harrison
This gorgeous book tells the stories of 40 black women who have changed the world, from abolitionists to artists. Some of the faces you will recognize, like Harriet Tubman and Maya Angelou, while others might be new to both you and your kids. Vashti Harrison’s sweet illustrations accompany each biography.
2. Princess Hair, by Sharee Miller
In this adorably illustrated book for early readers, debut author Sharee Miller celebrates the diversity of black hair. Princess Hair shows young girls that whether you wear dreadlocks or puffs, you’re still a princess.
3. Mae Among the Stars, by Roda Ahmed, Stasia Burrington (Illustrator)
This just-released picture book for preschoolers tells the story of Mae Jemison, the first black woman to go to space. When Mae tells her mother she wants to see Earth from above, her mother encourages her to become an astronaut. Mae Among the Stars is an inspiring read for curious children with big dreams.
4. A Child’s Introduction to African American History, by Jabari Asim, Lynn Gaines (Illustrator)
This illustrated history book takes children deeper into African-American history than they might go in a typical classroom. Through gorgeous illustrations, Jabari Asim and Lynn Gaines bring to life both famous and lesser-known figures, artists, and movements in black history—from The First Rhode Island Regiment to Stevie Wonder.
5. Libba, by Laura Veirs, Tatyana Fazlalizadeh (Illustrator)
Singer-songwriter Laura Veirs and up-and-coming illustrator Tatyana Fazlalizadeh illuminate the life of influential American folk musician Elizabeth Cotten. Veirs song-like prose (best for 6-9 year olds) traces Cotten’s journey learning to guitar backwards and on her left hand, writing her iconic song “Freight Train” at only 11 years old, and performing around the world later in life.
6. Hidden Figures, by Margot Lee Shetterly, Laura Freeman (Illustrator)
If your kids are still too young to enjoy the big-screen adaption of this story, read them this illustrated version instead. Based on the novel of the same name, this gorgeous book tells the story of how four brilliant women—Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden—who overcame gender and racial barriers to provide the essential calculations for some of NASA’s first journeys into space.
7. In Your Hands, by Carole Boston Weatherford, Brian Pinkney (Illustrator)
Caldecott Honor-winner Carole Boston Weatherford (Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom, Freedom in Congo Square) writes from the perspective of a new mother reflecting on her hopes and dreams for her newborn son. This moving preschool-level book—with pastel watercolors by Brian Pinkney—is one that will be cherished by children and adults alike.
8. Young, Gifted and Black, by Jamia Wilson, Andrea Pippins (Illustrator)
This vibrant collection introduces young readers to 52 inspiring individuals that changed the world in different ways. Figures like Martin Luther King and Serena Williams are brought to life with bright illustrations.