Celebrating Black Voices: A Recommended Reading List for Kids 

Sharing stories that celebrate diversity and feature characters of color is one small way to help broaden the worldview of young readers. Below are eight of our favorite children’s books that teach about social justice and focus on identity, respect, justice and action through storytelling.

1. “Sulwe” by Lupita Nyong’o (recommended for ages 4-8)
From Academy Award–winning actress Lupita Nyong’o comes a powerful, moving picture book about colorism, self-esteem and learning that true beauty comes from within.

2. “Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut” by Derrick Barnes (recommended for ages 3-8)
Ahigh-spirited, engaging salute to the beautiful, raw, assured humanity of Black boys and how they see themselves when they approve of their reflections in the mirror.

3. “Hair Love” by Matthew A. Cherry (recommended for ages 4-8)
Tender and empowering, “Hair Love” is an ode to self-confidence and loving your natural hair – and a celebration of fathers and daughters everywhere.

4. “A is for Activist” by Innosanto Nagara (recommended for ages 3-7)
An ABC board book for families who want their kids to grow up in a space that is unapologetic about activism, environmental justice, civil rights, LGBTQ rights and everything else that activists believe in and fight for.

5. “Antiracist Baby” by Ibram X. Kendi (recommended for ages 0-3)
This vibrant picture book introduces very young children to the concept and power of antiracism by providing the language necessary to begin critical conversations at the earliest ages.

6. “Something Happened in Our Town” by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins and Ann Hazzard (recommended for ages 5-10)
Two families — one White, one Black — discuss a police shooting of a Black man in their community. The story aims to answer children’s questions about such traumatic events and to help children identify and counter racial injustice in their own lives. (age level 7 – 10)

7. “The Breaking News” by Sarah Lynne Reul (recommended for ages 4-8)
When devastating news rattles a young girl’s community, her normally attentive parents and neighbors are suddenly exhausted and distracted. She wants more than anything to help in a big way, but maybe she can start with one small act of kindness instead.

8. “All Are Welcome” by Alexandra Penfold (recommended for ages 4-8)
Follow a group of children through a day in their school, where everyone is welcome. A school where children from all backgrounds play side-by-side and learn from each other’s traditions. A school where diversity is a strength.

Continuing to Make a Difference

Teaching kids about Black achievements, heroes and the history of Black culture helps create a new generation that will keep fighting for racial justice. If you’re searching for more ways to share Black history with kids, read our list of Kid-Friendly Ideas for Celebrating Black History Month.

Explore more resources for talking to kids about race on our website and at Little Moments Count, a consortium of Minnesota organizations dedicated to early childhood development.

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