Black Children's Authors for Your Children's Bookshelves

As an avid reader and author, I'm always looking for great books to read and share with my friends and family. One of my favorite activities with my kids when they were little was visits to the library. We went 2-3 times a week and they'd always leave with dozens of books to last until our next visit. My love for reading continues even though my kids are big and not interested in library visits with me any longer.

One of my personal goals is to diversify my bookshelf by reading as many books by BIPOC authors as I can. For Black History Month, I wanted to amplify Black authors and their work. Publishing remains a predominantly white enterprise with Black and minority authors, editors, agents, etc. lacking in representation. That's why it's important that we support the #ownvoices movement, books written by us and for us. We are empowered to tell our OWN stories and deserve a seat at the table.

I reached out to my author friends for recommendations of new children's and middle-grade books that were published in 2020. This list is just a snapshot of some of the great books published by Black authors and illustrators last year. It is not an extensive list, but a list to get you started on diversifying your children's bookshelves. I hope that you explore the pages of these books (and others) with your children.

Don't forget that you can request books from your local library for FREE! So let's get started.

Praline Lady by Kirstie Myvett - In nineteenth-century New Orleans, a praline lady strolls the French Quarter, selling her delectable sweets. These entrepreneur women of color were once a common sight in the neighborhood. Young readers will go along with this praline lady as she makes her pralines, sells them from her basket, and grows her business.

Brown Baby Lullaby by Tameka Fryer Brown - From sunset to bedtime, two brown-skinned parents lovingly care for their beautiful brown baby: first, they play outside, then it is time for dinner and a bath, and finally a warm snuggle before bed.

Your Name Is A Song by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow - Frustrated by a day full of teachers and classmates mispronouncing her beautiful name, a little girl tells her mother she never wants to come back to school. In response, the girl's mother teaches her about the musicality of African, Asian, Black-American, Latinx, and Middle Eastern names on their lyrical walk home through the city. Empowered by this newfound understanding, the young girl is ready to return the next day to share her knowledge with her class. Your Name is a Song is a celebration to remind all of us about the beauty, history, and magic behind names.

Let's Dance! by Valerie Bolling - Tap, twirl, twist, spin! With musical, rhyming text, author Valerie Bolling shines a spotlight on dances from across the globe, whi