Children Books to Celebrate Black Identity

I shared some books regarding how to teach children about race and racism earlier this week but I wanted to also share books to celebrate Black identity. I think it is important to share different narratives for Black people and not just one of pain and suffering. The links will all take you to Eso Won Books, a Black owned bookstore in Los Angeles.

Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry, Vashti Harrison (Illustrator)

When mommy is away, it’s up to daddy to do his daughter’s hair in this ode to self-confidence and the love between fathers and daughters from former NFL wide receiver Matthew A. Cherry and New York Times bestseller Vashti Harrison.

Zuri’s hair has a mind of its own. It kinks, coils, and curls every which way. Zuri knows it’s beautiful. When mommy does Zuri’s hair, she feels like a superhero. But when mommy is away, it’s up to daddy to step in! And even though daddy has a lot to learn, he LOVES his Zuri. And he’ll do anything to make her—and her hair—happy.

Tender and empowering, Hair Love is an ode to loving your natural hair—and a celebration of daddies and daughters everywhere. 

Sulwe by Lupita Nyong’o, Vashti Harrison (Illustrator) 

A picture book about colorism, self-esteem, and learning that true beauty comes from within.

Sulwe has skin the color of midnight. She is darker than everyone in her family. She is darker than anyone in her school. Sulwe just wants to be beautiful and bright, like her mother and sister. Then a magical journey in the night sky opens her eyes and changes everything.

Don’t Touch My Hair! by Sharee Miller   

An entertaining picture book that teaches the importance of asking for permission first as a young girl attempts to escape the curious hands that want to touch her hair.

It seems that wherever Aria goes, someone wants to touch her hair. In the street, strangers reach for her fluffy curls; and even under the sea, in the jungle, and in space, she’s chased by a mermaid, monkeys, and poked by aliens…until, finally, Aria has had enough!

Author-illustrator Sharee Miller takes the tradition of appreciation of black hair to a new, fresh, level as she doesn’t seek to convince or remind young readers that their curls are beautiful–she simply acknowledges black beauty while telling a fun, imaginative story. 

Brown Boy Joy by Thomishia Booker 

This book is filled with all the things little brown boys love. This book is also available in Spanish.

Happy to Be Nappy by Bell hooks, Chris Raschka (Illustrator) 

Bell hooks and Chris Raschka join together to create an exuberant, rhythmic, read-aloud celebration about the joy and beauty of “nappy” hair.

Daddy Calls Me Man by Angela Johnson, Rhonda Mitchell (Illustrator) 

“This story…consists of four short verses about the happy home life of a young African-American boy. Family love and the shared stories and symbols that connect the generations are pervasive themes.” – Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Not Quite Snow White by Ashley Franklin, Ebony Glenn (Illustrator)

Tameika is an African American girl who loves musical and dreams of starring in one as a princess one day. But she fears that having brown skin and a plump frame might keep her from her dreams.