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Children’s Book List by Black Voices

Updated: Oct 18, 2021

At i-Immersion, we are committed to delivering in our mission of connecting our communities to appreciate language and culture. We develop our program with diversity and inclusiveness in mind. Below are some great children’s titles by black voices suitable for readers ages 0-10

1. Whose Knees Are These? by Jabari Asim Whose Knees Are These and its companion book, Whose Toes Are Those are classics that should lay on the nightstand of every parent charged with tucking a toddler in at night. My son and I have precious memories of the snuggling, laughing, and tickling of toes inspired by this book that literally reinforced the loving bond between us. The images, I know, fed my son’s self-esteem, though it would do the same for any child—black, cocoa brown, beige, or any hue. One day I hope to read these to my son’s children.”—Charisse Carney-Nunes. Takes a loving look at knees from the vantage point of a mother’s lap.

2. I Can Do It Too! by Karen Baicker This heartwarming story reminds us how satisfying it is to grow up surrounded by love. I Can Do It Too! affirms a little girl’s growing independence as she, too, can begin to do all the things she sees her parents, relatives, and neighbors do: pouring juice at breakfast, strumming a guitar, and even riding a bike! The simple cadence of text and direct-to-the-heart art result in a book as warm and generous as its message, providing reading pleasure for toddlers, older siblings, and the grown-ups who love them.

3. Happy To Be Nappy by Bell Hooks This joyous ode to hair may well restart conversations that began last year with the controversy over Carolivia Herron’s Nappy Hair. Bubbling over with affection, and injecting a strong self-esteem boost for girls, hooks’s ebullient, poetic text celebrates the innate beauty and freedom of hair that’s soft like cotton, flower petal billowy soft, full of frizz and fuzz. Waxing poetic about “short tight naps” or “plaited strands all,“ hooks conjures all the lovely varieties of hairstyles that “let girls go running free.” She sings the praises of “girlpie hair,” subtly reinforcing her theme with a chorus of descriptive words like “halo” and “crown.”

4. The King of Kindergarten by Derrick Barnes A confident little boy takes pride in his first day of kindergarten, by the Newbery Honor-winning author of Crown. The morning sun blares through your window like a million brass trumpets. It sits and shines behind your head—like a crown. Mommy says that today, you are going to be the King of Kindergarten! Starting kindergarten is a big milestone—and the hero of this story is ready to make his mark! He’s dressed himself, eaten a pile of pancakes, and can’t wait to be part of a whole new kingdom of kids. The day will be jam-packed, but he’s up to the challenge, taking new experiences in stride with his infectious enthusiasm! And afterward, he can’t wait to tell his proud parents all about his achievements—and then wake up to start another day.

5. Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry “I love that Hair Love is highlighting the relationship between a Black father and daughter. Matthew leads the ranks of new creatives who are telling unique stories of the Black experience. We need this.”

6. I Can Be Anything! Don’t Tell Me I Can’t by Leo & Diane Dillon Like most girls and boys, Zoe enthusiastically embraces the wonders of our world and its infinite possibilities. “I can be anything I want to be!” she tells us, presenting herself in a range of careers. “But what if you fail?” asks a voice of doubt that attempts to undermine her confidence.

7. I Am Jackie Robinson by Brad Meltzer Jackie Robinson always loved sports, especially baseball. But he lived at a time before the Civil Rights Movement when the rules weren’t fair to African Americans. Even though Jackie was a great athlete, he wasn’t allowed on the best teams just because of the color of his skin. Jackie knew that sports were best when everyone, of every color, played together. He became the first black player in Major League Baseball, and his bravery changed African-American history and led the way to equality in all sports in America.

8. Black History: Kids Edition by Stephen Jones Black History is World History. This book is intended for kids to enjoy. It is my intention for parents and teachers to read along with kids and explain any difficulties they may run across. This book will not only raise awareness but will also raise self-esteem. Something that is important for early child development. In order to achieve a high status or an important figure in life, you must first believe it is possible. Too many kids are dropping out of school, being incarcerated, becoming addicted to illegal substances, or just giving up on life. Many have been disenfranchised.

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