Diverse Reads for Children

Posted on

Black History month is celebrated each February. If you are looking for books for children that showcase Black characters, history, authors and illustrators, check out these picture books in our collection.

If you think picture books are only for beginning readers, think again!

Picture books are “everybody” books! Some picture books may be enjoyed by young children being read to by an adult, while others are better-suited to an older child who can read independently. Although their large, illustrated format may be thought of as best for the very young, even older elementary and middle school-aged readers can benefit from picture books. By addressing mature topics and themes in an easily-accessible way through both their words and illustrations, they can be a way to start a discussion about complex issues and prompt further, more in-depth reading.

The selections below, compiled by Fauquier Public Library’s youth services staff, provide diverse perspectives and feature a wide variety of characters and subjects.

The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander; illustrated by Kadir Nelson
The history of Black people in America is depicted from their achievements and triumphs to their trials and tragedies.

I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes; illustrated by Gordon C. James
A young boy shares all the wonderful parts of himself including his creativity and kindness, his musical ability and athleticism, and so much more.

All Because You Matter by Tami Charles; illustrated by Bryan Collier
A couple explains how much their child matters, to both their family and the whole world, in the face of all the hardships the child may face.

Bedtime for Sweet Creatures by Nikki Grimes; illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon
A little boy brings a menagerie of animals to life through his bedtime activities.

Black is a Rainbow Color by Angela Joy; illustrated by Ekua Holmes
A girl realizes that, although not a part of the rainbow, black is a color full of meaning.

Saturday by Oge Mora
Mother and child hope to spend a fun Saturday together, but have to change their plans as things don’t go as expected.

Two young black girls walk across a field with a large bird, wings spread, behind themFreedom Bird by Jerdine Nolen; illustrated by James E. Ransome
An enslaved boy and girl are inspired to escape to freedom by the flight of a bird.

Sulwe by Lupita Nyong’o; illustrated by Vashti Harrison
A girl learns the story of night and day as she comes to accept her skin color.

The Little Mermaid by Jerry Pinkney
This updated version of the traditional fairy tale features themes of discovery and friendship.

The Bell Rang by James E. Ransome
The chime of a bell marks the start of every day of a week in the life of a family of slaves.

Overground Railroad by Lesa Cline-Ransome; illustrated by James Ransome
A family travels by train from North Carolina to New York during the Great Migration.

Layla’s Happiness by Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie; illustrated by Ashleigh Corrin
Do the things that make Layla happy make you happy, too?

Additional resources are available at We Need Diverse Books, The Brown Bookshelf, and the Coretta Scott King Awards. Or stop by the reference desk at your local library for additional suggestions.

Comments are closed.