Lauren's List: Representative Picture Books in Honor of Black History Month

For me, and maybe you also, my go-to picture books for my kids are often the ones I remember fondly from my own childhood. Since the great majority of those beloved books featured white characters, it takes more intentionality to seek out wonderful books with characters of other ethnicities. So, this list is a starting point for recommended children’s books with black characters. As my personal relationships testify, representation matters. When children have a chance to strongly identify with a character in a book read to them, it creates empathy and shared identity. Perhaps even more important is modeling to children, through quality reading choices with representative characters, that all people are equally valuable despite our differences.


Here’s eight books well worth your family’s time, listed in youngest to oldest age order starting from board books (#1-#4) great for babies through preschoolers, and then longer picture books (#5-#8) that work better from kids 4 and up.


#1 Joshua By the Sea by Angela Johnson, illustrated by Rhonda Mitchell



#2 Please Baby, Please by Spike Lee & Tonya Lewis Lee illustrated by Kadir Nelson



#3 The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats



#4 Feast for 10 by Cathryn Falwell



#5 Corduroy by Don Freeman



#6 Never Ask A Dinosaur to Dinner by Gareth Edwards & Guy Parker-Rees



#7 Flossie & The Fox by Patricia C. McKissack, pictures by Rachel Isadora



#8 Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts