The Coretta Scott King Book Awards are given annually to outstanding African American authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults that demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values. The award commemorates the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and honors his wife, Mrs. Coretta Scott King, for her courage and determination to continue the work for peace and world brotherhood. First presented in 1970, here's a complete list of award recipients.
Common Sense Media offers guides to the more recent winners with a list that contains books for children by age (preschoolers, little kids (5-7), big kids (8-9), tweens (10-12), and teens (13+). If you click the green “Continue reading” button below a title, you'll go to a page that tells parents what to expect from the book. You'll find a brief summary of the book, a section titled “What parents need to know” which discusses things that may be difficult for children such as a violent event in the story or poverty or colorism within a family. You'll also find ratings on such things as the educational value, positive messages, positive role models and representations, sex, violence, language, consumerism, and substance use/abuse. A section titled “Talk to your kids about…” provides some ideas for discussions to have with your kids to help them process the stories.
The Ethnic & Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT) of the American Library Association offers discussion guides organized by the year the book was published for each winning title from 2009 -- now. This same site also includes resources from the publishers of some of the books.
The Black Experience is an annotated booklist curated by Shannan Hicks, Director of Library Services, William F. Laman Public Library System, North Little Rock, Arkansas. This Google Sheets based list is regularly updated and includes both fiction and non-fiction. (Note: there is a tab for Adults and a tab for Children's/Young Adult)
Bibliography for Schools -- this resource includes Picture Books that Celebrate #Blackjoy by Vanessa Whilloughby, Middle and YA Novels that Celebrate #Blackjoy by Desiree Thomas, Nonfiction K-5, Nonfiction Middle School through Young Adult, Poetry K - 12, and Biography K-12. Created for FORR by Carolyn Lynch, FORR volunteer and School Librarian at Elkhorn Elementary School in Frankfort, Kentucky. This Google based resource will expand over time.
The mission of Black Children’s Books and Authors (BCBA) is to promote awareness of children’s and young adult literature by Black authors. Our online author directory lists traditional and self-published authors. Whether you are a student, parent, educator, librarian, or avid reader, this resource is for you to expand your knowledge of Black children’s authors and the stories they write. This site also contains links to important articles about race and children’s books, some blogs that include booklists, and more.
20 Picture Books for 2020: Readings to Embrace Race, Provide Solace & Do Good by Autumn Allen, Krista Aronson and the Diverse BookFinder Team, and Megan Dowd Lambert. This list was created specifically with the turbulence of 2020 in mind - the racial injustice and uprising as well as the disproportionate effects of covid-19 on Black and brown communities. Parents and other caregivers are seeking resources to help them hold children through the current, terrible wave of racialized violence, which is exacerbated by the tensions and vulnerabilities exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. As scholars, writers, and parents who use books to connect with our children and spark conversations with them, we’ve developed this book list to help engage the broad range of emotions and needs of diverse children in our multiracial society.
Black Joy Booklist for Children and Young Adults by Alia Jones, Senior Library Services Assistant, Downtown Main Library, Cincinnati Hamilton County Public Library System, Cincinnati, Ohio. Alia Jones writes, "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." Click on each book to be led to a page that includes a description of the book, reviews of the book from several standard library reviewing sources, and comments from readers.
The We Are Kid Lit Collective creates lists of books that reflect the principles of social justice, equity, and inclusion; focus on Indigeneous and People of Color; and that we would be comfortable to put in any child’s hands. You’ll find summer reading lists from 2015 – now.
Race and Racism: Selected Books for Pre-K to Grade 12 by The Cooperative Children’s Book Center, University of Wisconsin – Madison, School of Education. When choosing books about race and racism and its impact on the lives of Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), we have emphasized books by BIPOC creators. We have also included several books by white authors that can especially help white readers, develop an awareness of whiteness and white privilege. This list features books set in the past and books set in the present day: Understanding history is critical to understanding racism; it is also critical to acknowledge and discuss the realities of racism and the ongoing legacy of systemic racism today.
Black Experiences: Affirmation and Resilience, Activism and Resistance in 45 Books for PreK-Grade 12. A book list from The Cooperative Children’s Book Center, University of Wisconsin – Madison, School of Education. Most of the books for this list are among titles we’ve recommended for our annual best-of-the-year list, CCBC Choices. It is far from exhaustive; there are many other books we’ve recommended, and many other books available for children and teens acknowledging that Black Lives Matter by celebrating and affirming Black identity and speaking the truth of Black experiences.
The Children's Peace Education & Anti-Bias Library The Peace Education Project provides a list of specially selected anti-bias books to teach peacemaking with young children between one and six years of age. A data base on this site helps you narrow your search.
The Brown Bookshelf is designed to push awareness of the myriad Black voices writing for young readers. Their flagship initiative is 28 Days Later, a month-long showcase of the best in Picture Books, Middle Grade, and Young Adult novels written and illustrated by Black creators. During the twenty-eight days of Black History Month, The Brown Bookshelf profiles a different children’s or young adult author or children’s illustrator, looking for the best new and unnoticed works by African-Americans. From picture books to novels, books fresh off the presses to those that have lurked in the background unsung for months or years. Each day features interviews with the author about their work and inlcudes a focus on a specific book. At the bottom of the 28 Days Later page you'll find links to all the campaigns from 2008 -- now.
Jacqueline Woodson's Essential Books for Discussing Racism With Kids, by Jacqueline Woodson, O The Oprah Magazine, June 9, 2020. Woodson writes: "The Black experience is everyone’s experience. We can step inside and embrace the parts of it that intersect with our own narratives. We can read books that shine a truth and enlighten. Or we can pretend it doesn’t exist and try to eradicate it. It’s up to us to decide whose narrative we will not only choose to see, but choose to believe. And while we’re deciding, here are a few books to help our journey." Jacqueline Woodson is the award-winning author of over 30 books for children and young adults.
18 Children’s Books to Prompt and Further Conversations on Race by Brittany Smith, June 22, 2020 . Smith writes, "As an educator who specializes in early childhood education, I know that one of the most fundamental and easiest ways to start building social skills and empathy in children is through books. . . . My hope is that these books spark honest conversations about differences, and sometimes, the things people face because of those differences."
Lee & Low Books, "America's largest multicultural children's book publisher, is proud to offer books that celebrate the diversity of America's communities and classrooms. Our award-winning books are culturally authentic and published with care, offering both ‘mirrors and windows’ for every reader.” On the site’s Cultures page, click on the grey bar that matches with your interest (African/ African American, Native American, Latino, Asian/Asian American, Middle Eastern and/or Muslim) to be led to numerous collections. Selecting a specific collection will lead you to individual books, many offering extensive teacher’s guides and interviews with the authors.
40 Picture Books for Young Activists by Carter Higgins. Activism can begin at any age. Here is a collection of books for young activists.
These Books Can Help You Explain Racism and Protest to Your Kids by Jessica Grose. New York Times, June 2, 2020. The conversation about race needs to start early and keep happening.
17 Books About Racial Inequality for Young Readers by Marley Marius. Vogue, June 6, 2020.
Children’s Books to Support Conversations on Race, Racism, and Resistance from The Conscious Kid, an education, research, and policy organization dedicated to equity and promoting healthy racial identity development in youth. We support organizations, families, and educators in taking action to disrupt racism in young children.
Confronting Anti-Blackness: Books by Black Authors for ages 0 – 18, a booklist from The Conscious Kid an education, research, and policy organization dedicated to equity and promoting healthy racial identity development in youth. We support organizations, families, and educators in taking action to disrupt racism in young children
Diverse Bookfinder aspires to be a go-to resource for librarians, educators, parents, book creators, and publishers who seek to create collections in which all children can see themselves -- and each other -- reflected in the picture books they read.
This article begins with a link to "8 tips for choosing 'good' picture books featuring Black and Indigenous People, and People of Color" and then Embrace Race identifies promising starting points, in addition to the Diverse BookFinder, for your search for children’s books to which you might apply the criteria described in 8 tips. The blogs and sites included by no means exhaust the list of sites that highlight excellent children’s books. Nor do all the books featured on those sites meet each of the 8 tips criteria. However, a search that begins with the sites on this list is likely to bear quality fruit!
Diversity Resources is an annotated list of content and critical review resources that seek authentic diversity in literature for children and young adults. List created by: The Cooperative Children’s Book Center, University of Wisconsin – Madison, School of Education.
Guide for Selecting Anti-Bias Children’s Books by Louise Derman-Sparks. Depending on the quality of the book, they can reinforce (or undermine) children’s affirmative self-concept, teach accurate (or misleading) information about people of various identities, and foster positive (or negative) attitudes about diversity. Children’s books teach children about who is important, who matters, who is even visible. Consequently, carefully choosing quality children’s books is an indispensable educational and child-rearing task.
Children’s Books By Brilliant Black Women by Ashaia. This guide includes information on evaluating books for children, explains how the white gaze impacts how books handle topics, and talks about the importance of accurate representation. And yes, there’s a booklist of recommended books with evaluative comments. From The Student Ignition Society: Radically inclusive educators for early childhood.
The Spectrum for Multicultural Literature, created by Kaitlin Kamalei Brandon (2017) ensures that multicultural literature is used to its greatest extent to cultivate crosscultural empathy and cultural empowerment in our students. Colorful Pages aims to post book reviews, teaching resources, lesson plans, and general articles to support others in this mission.
Books listed here are all available at the Paul Sawyier Public Library, Frankfort, Kentucky. This list is NOT exhaustive, but highlights just a few of the many important titles you'll find in the book lists above.
The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander, illustrated by Kadir Nelson is a love letter to black America. This picture book honors the strength and bravery of everyday people caught up in the web of history. Kadir Nelson was awarded the 2020 Caldecott Medal presented to the artist that illustrated the “most distinguished American Picture Book for Children published in the United States during the preceding year.” and the 2020 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award, given to exceptional African American illustrators of children and YA literature that “demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values” by the American Library Association. PSPL, Juv nonfiction - J 811.6 ALEX
Jason Reynolds, award-winning author for young adults, and historian Ibram X. Kendi have created Stamped a remix of Kendi's National Book Award winner, Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America. Gripping, fast-paced, and energizing, Stamped shines a light on the many insidious forms of racist ideas -- and on ways readers can identify and stamp out racist thoughts, leading to a better future. PSPL, Young Adult, Y 305.8 KEND
Just Mercy (Adapted for Young Adults): A True Story of the Fight for Justice by Bryan Stevenson. In this young adult adaptation of the acclaimed bestseller Just Mercy, Stevenson delves deep into the broken U.S. justice system, detailing from his personal experience his many challenges and efforts as a lawyer and social advocate, especially on behalf of America's most rejected and marginalized people. PSPL, ebook, Non-fiction
Bigotry and Intolerance: The Ultimate Teen Guide by Kathlyn Gay looks at the various reasons why people of all age levels and backgrounds feel the need to disparage others. This book also offers help to teens who are the object of fear and hatred by showing them how to combat such behavior. Aimed at young adults who are interested in fighting bigotry and intolerance, this book will help teens who suffer from the small-mindedness of others. It might also help those who are less tolerant find some common ground with those who are different from them--and lead to a better understanding of how diversity makes for a richer, more interesting world. PSPL, Young adult - Y 305.8 GAY
This Book Is Anti-Racist by Tiffany Jewell, illustrated by Aurelia Durant is a guide for young people to understand and challenge the oppressive systems and interpersonal behavior that underpin our society. PSPL, 305.8
Dark Sky Rising: Reconstruction and the Dawn of Jim Crow by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. with Tonya Bolden. In this book for young readers, they tell how freed Black people had agency in helping decide policies to ensure their full citizenship, which was later dismantled through discriminatory laws and violence. PSPL, Young Adult, Y 973 GATE
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