Black Joy Booklist for Children and Young Adults

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Written by Alia Jones, Senior Library Services Assistant, Downtown Main Library 

Hey Black Child
Do you know who you are
Who you really are
Do you know you can be
What you want to be
If you try to be
What you can be

-- “Hey Black Child” by Useni Eugene Perkins

In the midst of a global pandemic, Black people are experiencing fatigue, stress, grief, and anger at more loss of Black life. Coronavirus is hitting Black, Brown, and Native communities at devastating rates while Black and non-Black allies are protesting to remind the world that Black. Lives. Matter.

So how do we nourish Black joy? How can books be a safe space? One thing we can do during this time is to remind Black children that we see them, that we support them, and that they are loved. 

Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop speaks of “windows, mirrors & sliding glass doors” in children’s literature; it’s critical that children grow up seeing themselves reflected in the books they read, starting in infancy. I've highlighted some books in our Library collection that affirm Black childhood and encourage Black youth to dream, speak up, and get started on the path towards liberation. 

These books are available free at the Library. 

Young Children 

Hey Black Child

 

The Undefeated

 

Going Down Home With Daddy

 

City Shapes

 

Black Is A Rainbow Color

 

When Aidan Became A Brother

 

Crown

 

Full, Full, Full of Love

 

Little Melba and Her Big Trombone

 

We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices

 

Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters

 

Shades of Black

 

Mommy's Khimar

 

Honey, I Love

 

Double Bass Blues

 

Thirteen Ways of Looking at A Black Boy

 

My Hair Is A Garden

 


Middle Grade

Ghost

 

The Last Last-day-of-summer

 

The Parker Inheritance

 

Piecing Me Together

 

So Done

 

Sleepover Scientist

 

New Kid

 

Hurricane Child


Young Adult

Say Her Name

 

Not So Pure and Simple

 

Stamped

 

A Phoenix First Must Burn

 

Pride

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