One of the ways parents can learn about and celebrate Black history and Black excellence is by ensuring our children’s libraries are full of Black stories and Black excellence– there are so many books that show the beauty of Black culture. Here are some children’s books celebrating Black excellence that we absolutely love!
*Note: There are many many books out there! We have picked some of our favorite books that have been written in the last few years to highlight new authors! If you have authors and books you love, please leave it in the comments!
Children’s Books Celebrating Black Excellence That Kids and Adults Will Love!
Recommended ages: birth- 7 years
This bilingual book (in English and Spanish) celebrates Afro-Latinx culture with engaging imagery and highlights beautiful Black and Latino culture from A to Z!
I Love My Curly Hair: An Early Reader Rhyming Story Book for Children to Help With Positive Self Talk and Self Acceptance (2021)
Recommended ages: preschool, grade school – any age!
This book is a beautiful love note to curly hair and girls with curly hair. The affirmations empower people with curly hair to say and affirm – “I love my curly hair and how it makes me feel.” It highlights all the cool things you can do with curly hair. The author
Young, Gifted and Black: Meet 52 Black Heroes from Past and Present (See Yourself in Their Stories) (2018)
Recommended ages: 2 and up!
My absolute favorite book – as a grown up, I’ve learned so much about Black people from around the world who have done extraordinary things! I really like that this book has people from different countries that we may not necessarily hear about. I also love the introductory note from the authors. You’ll learn about heroes we know like Nelson Mandela, Barack and Michelle Obama, Oprah, but also lesser known world figures like Josephine Baker, Yannick Noah,
Recommended ages: 6-11 years old
This book, from the series Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls – highlights Black girl magic with names I haven’t seen in other books– like Naomi Osaka and Jeanette Epps (who, in case you are wondering, is an astronaut!) This is a perfect gift and a great book to keep on the nightstand and get a little Black girl magic before bedtime, or any time you or your kids need a good dose or inspiration.
Recommended ages: 7-10 years old
The Who Series is wonderful- made for older children who can read chapter books (recommended ages are 7-10 years old) it is easy to read and there is an entire list of biographies to choose from, including the ones we’ve shared here: Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first African American Supreme Court Justice, and Jackie Robinson, the first Black baseball player in the major leagues who broke barriers and records.
This board book, created by the same folks who created the “Who Is?” Series for older kids, explores baseball legend Jackie Robinson’s life especially for the youngest ones in our homes!
Recommended ages: 2-4
A lovely account of Muhammad Ali’s life– with photos, quotes, and that quintessential confidence that Ali showed all. the time, despite the struggles and pushback he faced– but written for our little ones!
This book, written by Stacey Abrams, talks about Stacey’s love of words, spelling them, and reading them. I chuckled when I saw that she also read hiding under the covers, because I did the same. It’s perfect for those kiddos who love reading or for those who may think reading “isn’t cool.” Stacey Abrams is sure cool and inspiring!
Lift Every Voice and Change: A Sound Book: A Celebration of Black Leaders and the Words that Inspire Generations (Original Series) (2023)
Recommended ages: 7-12
James Baldwin, MLK Jr and Jay-Z are just some of the leaders featured in this book which is HOT OFF THE PRESS! But it isn’t only a book to read and look at– the book features the voices of the leaders featured- and that just makes it all the more powerful.
Recommended ages: birth-2 years
Calling all fútbol fans! Brazilian Pelé (who recently passed away) will go down in history as one of the world’s greatest soccer players of all time. This adorable bilingual board book is a perfect gift for any soccer lover parent’s children’s library.
Recommended ages: 2- 8 years old
Another Pelé book, for older kids! But wanted to give a shout out to the Little People, Big Dreams series, which is AWESOME!
Speaking of Little People, Big Dreams… there are so many books to check out from this collection, and here is a recent one that I love: Amanda Gorman, who rose to fame when she read her impassioned poem at the 2021 inauguration.
Michael Jordan: A Kid’s Book About Not Fearing Failure So You Can Succeed and Be the G.O.A.T. (Mini Movers and Shakers)
Recommended ages: 4-9
In this book, which is written in the first person, Michael talks about his love of sports, and how he was competitive with his brother, Larry. I love the way it is written in the first person because it humanizes the stories and makes them relatable.
Recommended ages: 4-9
Another book for those who love sports — Kobe Bryant was a basketball legend who left us too soon. This book is written in the first person and talks about what it was like for him to move to Italy and have to learn a new language, and overcoming those challenges.
Recommended ages: 4-9
This beautiful board book presents already known women like Shirley Chisholm and Sojourner Truth, and lesser-known female figures of history like pilot Bessie Coleman, chemist Alice Ball, mathematician Katherine Johnson (whose story became famous in the film Hidden Figures) and more! Even adults will enjoy this book and learn something new (I know I did!)
Recommended ages: 10 and up
For older children, this is a book that kids can read with parents– it shares the journey of two children who are enslaved as they go on a journey to freedom.
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If you liked this list, listen to some of our episodes celebrating Black excellence: