Black lit was on point last year–Scifi, fantasy, historical fiction, YA, even kids books. This post is full of books all about #BlackKidMagic, which we never really lose interest in no matter how old we get.
Counting the Stars by Lesa Cline-Ransome
A drop dead GORGEOUS picture book telling the story of Katherine Johnson–a NASA mathematician. This book is all about a young Black girl’s struggle to be respected at one of the world’s most powerful scientific companies. Johnson was one of the first “human computers”—a person who ran numbers that helped launch rockets into the sky and put a man on the moon. But what a lot of people don’t know is that some of these “computers” were Black women and they had to fight hard to be taken seriously, to be treated as equals, and to be given opportunities. This book is inspiring, full of Black Girl Magic, and is perfect for lovers of science, math, and engineering!
Nighttime Symphony by Timbaland
This is probably my favorite children’s cover of all time. It’s gentle, warm, and gorgeous. I love the #BlackBoyJoy and peace it gives off. Read this book to a restless little one who refuses to go to sleep. Bonus: It has an audiobook too! So you can play the audio and the kid can read along while the song slowly encourages them to sleep.
Parker Looks Up by Parker Curry
Y’all remember that famous photo of the little girl looking up at Michelle Obama’s portrait? That pic was everywhere and was the most inspiring thing I’ve ever seen. It showed how much it matters to little girls to see women who look like them succeeding. Black kids need to see their people winning, in power, and thriving. In this story, Parker sees the possibility and promise, as well as the hopes and dreams of herself in this powerful painting of Michelle Obama.
Sulwe by Lupita Nyong’o
Our favorite actress wrote this book for all the dark skinned kids who are told their deep, flowing Black skin isn’t beautiful. Sulwe is about a little girl who is bullied and unappreciated at school, and she doesn’t feel pretty or special. In this book she learns just how special she and skin like hers really is. I LOVE the purple and blue colors in the book. It just makes Black skin shine and stand out like stars in the night sky. I think Nyong’o did this on purpose. So often, us Black folks are insulted with phrases like “blue black” or “purple colored.” It feels pretty revolutionary that Nyong’o, a dark skinned Black actress, is using these colors to show just how beautiful dark skin really is.
And that’s it! Please, don’t feel guilty about buying and reading these books for yourself. We are all still kids at heart. I personally will ALWAYS love kid lit. Children’s literature is when I fell in love with books. It’s still home to me and it always will be.
By Jesse E
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