The Conscious Kid, one of my favorite parenting resources on Instagram, is known for sharing goldmines full of resources. They’re a Black and brown-owned nonprofit, and I’m constantly in awe of their insight and wisdom; always mindful, always cited, always encouraging me to do better.
Recently they shared a post that asked “Are your kids too young to talk about race?” I knew well enough that the answer was “no” - children are never too young for important conversations like race. But, how does a white parent go about it in the best way? How do I equip my kids with tools of understanding and advocacy, respect and admiration?
First of all, I won’t delay. Even with my toddler, I’ll take steps in teaching anti-racism and some of that will be by expanding our family’s library with children’s books that celebrate diversity, kindness, and inclusion.
There are many books recommendation lists being shared right now, but the following books are specifically recommended by Black authors, illustrators, and parents. I trust their recommendations most of all.
Note: Many of the links we've included below are to Amazon, as those are usually where the authors' websites/social bios send people. If you have the ability to shop a Black-owned bookstore, or small local bookstore, we highly encourage that! Call ahead to check stocks, and be patient with shipping/wait times.
Author illustrator Vashti Harrison created a board book for the littlest readers among us inspired by two of her other children’s books "Little Leaders: Bold Women In Black History" and "Little Legends: Exceptional Men In Black History". Harrison is definitely a Black creator to follow, I can’t wait to see what she writes and/or illustrates next and in the meantime we’ll be soaking up her current works.
UK mom Sandra Igwe launched her book at the end of May and it is already one of Amazon’s bestsellers. In this rhyming story Zoe and Chloe explore everyday feelings and learn ways to promote positive mental health.
Charnaie Gordon’s blog Here We Read has become one of my favorite places to visit for book recommendations. She recently rounded up a number of Black character books with Mother’s Day themes and this one immediately caught my attention. "What Is Given From the Heart" tells a story of compassion through poignant words and breathtaking illustrations. Three time Coretta Scott King award winner Patricia C. McKissack, is another author who consistently delivers amazing stories for children and young adults.
Elicia Davis, mom of two, owner of Wear Truth and Gold, and champion for diverse literacy recommended this book and it is hands down the ABC book we all need. So many books featuring Black characters are historically based, and positive representation in a modern scope is definitely needed.
Target had this masterpiece on their end cap during my recent grocery run and surprise, it’s illustrated by the talented Vashti Harrison. "Sulwe" immediately jumped into my cart and I’m not half sad about it! Lupita Nyong’o’s debut picture book will inspire all children to find the beauty within themselves and others.
Welcome this imaginative and brave book from author Ashley Spires to your home library for an adventurous story about a group of racially diverse children. Spires approaches topics like failure, empowerment, and growth mindset in relatable ways.
Mom Natalie Brenner recently highlighted Marvelous Me:Inside and Out in her Instagram Stories sharing that it is one of her son’s favorite bedtime reads. In this picture book, author Lisa Bullard celebrates the main character, Alex’s uniqueness and prompts so many great conversation starters!
Another recipient of a Coretta Scott King award, "Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans" is both a story and a curriculum option. There is even a teaching guide included! Author illustrator Kadir Nelson left no stone unturned in unraveling the courageous role of African Americans in the growth of America. In fact, all his books are a worthwhile read, don’t miss any.
Blogger Jennifer Borget of Cherish 365 counted "Dancing In the Wings" as one of her family’s favorite picture books of late. And it’s no wonder, author, Debbie Allen, loosely based this darling story on her own experience as a young dancer! And, Kadir Nelson illustrated!
Ready to dance, move, and groove? Join a Black mother and daughter as they experience the beauty of the world through the beat of their everyday life. Author Connie Schofield-Morrison and illustrator Frank Morrison were included in Read Brightly’s collection of new authors who are creating books with people of color in mind and this book is a gorgeous representation.