Children's Books with Diverse Characters
Children’s books with diverse characters need to be in every home.
I am creating this list of diverse children’s books because I believe it is incredibly important for all families. As I began my research to find more books to add to our collection, I learned that people of color are grossly underrepresented in children’s books. I found it particularly difficult to find books about black males.
Children deserve to see themselves in books. Children of color need to see that they can be the hero. White children need to see that children of color can be the hero. And most importantly, all children need to see that they can work together, support each other, befriend each other, and coexist together.
The wonderful and magical thing is books have the power to help with this. From the minute your baby is born you can begin to read to them. This is where we are powerful.
We can teach our babies from the beginning to recognize, familiarize, and love characters of color so that when they meet people of color in person it feels familiar. Regardless of where you live or who your neighbors are you can bring black characters into your home with books.
3 Types of Diverse Children’s Books
I am breaking up my list into 3 types of books.
- Historical: These are books about historical figures and events.
- Diversity: These are books that describe diversity and racism both explicitly and indirectly.
- “Normal”: These are books where the main character just happens to be black.
I am sharing books that my family has personally read and recommends AS WELL AS books that so many of you recommended on social media. I will be sure to clearly identify the ones I ave read vs. the ones you have recommended. I am also linking to some of my friends who share books that they have read and recommend.
Books about Historical Events and Figures
Diverse Books About Historical Figures and Events Recommended by my Community
Books about Racism and Diversity
“Normal” Books With Children of Color Protagonists
- Max and the Tag-Along Moon – Floyd Cooper
- I Just Want to Say Good Night – Rachel Isadora
- The Snowy Day – Ezra Jack Keats
- Luke Goes to Bat – Rachel Isadora
- Dear Dragon – Josh Funk
- I Like Myself – Karen Beaumont
- Monster Trouble – Lane Fredrickson
- Jabari Jumps – Gaia Cornwall
- Lizard from the Park – Mark Pett
- Saturday – Oge Mora
- I Like Myself – Karen Beaumont
- Mary Had a Little Glam – Tammi Sauer
Books with Black Characters Recommended by the Community
“Normal” Books With Children of Color
- Here and Now – Julia Denos
- I Hear a Pickle (and Smell, See, Touch, and Taste It, Too!) – Rachel Isadora
- Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain – Verna Aardema
- Corduroy – Don Freeman
- ABCers – Carole Lexa Schaefer
- Rulers of the Playground – Joseph Kuefler
- Be Kind – Pat Zietlow Miller
- Even Superheroes Have Bad Days – Shelly Becker
- L is for Love – Greg Paprocki
When I shared this list of books on Instagram, I was met with two common questions.
Q: What are some small Black-owned businesses that you can buy these books from?
A: I’m not sure. I 100% support anyone’s decision to buy from small shops. Typically, I buy from Amazon and Target because honestly, they are more convenient and affordable. In my opinion, the most important thing is to get these books in the hands of children, parents, and teachers. If you do that by buying from small shops, large retailers, using black blogger’s affiliate codes, or borrowing from the library, I support you.
Q: Are the authors of these books Black?
A: I don’t know for every book. I know some are and some are not. I may not find it appropriate for a white person to write about racism and how it feels to be discriminated against. I also believe that it is appropriate for them to write about a black boy with a pen pal. My thoughts on this are that representation matters. According to the US census, the US population is 76% white and 13% black. If authors are only allowed to write books about THEIR race, we will have 76% of books with white characters and 13% of books with Black characters. This will continue the circle of lack of representation.