Children’s books are a beautiful way to bridge important conversations about race and racism in our society with our little ones. It’s up to each of us to amplify the stories and voices of Black authors, so we can raise our children with an awareness of and appreciation for our Black brothers & sisters. By having these conversations from a young age, it empowers children to participate in movements for racial justice. The books chosen below are written by black authors and can help get these conversations started in a safe place:
1. Wide Big World, Maxine Beneba Clarke:
A picture book about our diverse and wonderful world. The story follows Izzy and Belle as they take a journey together to discover all the differences that surround them.
2. The Day You Begin, Jacqueline Woodson:
A poignant, yet heartening book about finding courage to connect, even when you feel scared and alone. The story centres on Angelina, a young girl with big curly hair and brown skin as she begins her school year.
3. Hair Love, Matthew A Cherry:
An ode to loving your natural hair. Ok so it’s not a book, but it’s a heartwarming short film that won an Oscar! Zuri’s hair has a mind of its own and it’s up to her dad to style it in the way she likes for a special occasion. This story teaches children to love their natural hair and celebrate it.
4. Little Leaders, Bold Women in Black History, Vashti Harrison:
Educates and inspires young readers about true stories of forty Black women in American history. The book highlights important black figures in history such as poet Maya Angelou and chemist Alice Ball.
5. Fair Skin Black Fella, Renee Fogorty:
A story of Mary, a young Aboriginal girl who is Shunned by the other girls because of her fair skin. The book sends a message that aboriginal identity goes beyond the colour and shade of your skin and is really about family, culture, country and community.
6. What colour is my world, Kareem Abdul Jabbar:
This book highlights the important inventions , product improvements ,and scientific and medical discoveries by African Americans. It’s an entertaining and surprising exploration of lesser known innovators.
7. My country, Ezekiel Kwaymullina:
A book that takes you on a journey through a child’s home country and emphasises and celebrates the importance of forming a connection with the natural environment. The story is from an indigenous Australians perspective of life and connects traditional and contemporary experiences in lyrical prose.
8. When we were alone, David Alexander Robertson:
The story of a young girl who questions her grandma about the way she does her hair and what she wears only to be introduced to a difficult time in history. The book contains beautiful illustrations and sends a message of how cultures can try to be suppressed but will always be kept alive.
9. Something happened in our town, Dr Marietta Collins, Dr Marianne Celano, and Dr Ann Hazzard:
Written by a trio of child psychologists, the story follows two different families, one white and one black family which discuss an incident in their town about Police brutality and racial injustice. The book aims to answer the questions that children may have in these traumatic events as well as identifying racial injustices in their own encounters.
10. Black is a rainbow colour, Angela Joy:
A book about a child who reflects on the meaning of being black. A story that amplifies Black and Indigenous histories, languages and culture. This book is an excellent introduction into Black history month.