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Black-Centered Books & Stories to Read With Your Children, at Every Age

Jodie Patterson, author of The Bold World and Born Ready; intro by Daphne Thompson | June 15, 2020

We’re at a pivotal moment in history, together, and it has me thinking a lot about the world in which I hope to raise my future children, the world in which I hope all of our children get to grow up. One responsibility for me as a white parent, I realize, will be stocking their bookshelves with stories as diverse as the country they’ll call home – will be ensuring that there are ample books to read in our house that celebrate black life, teach anti-racism, and open their eyes and hearts to experiences that are not their own.

For black parents, one importance of having BIPOC-centered and authored stories available for their children is representation – that their kids so deserve to see themselves in the books they engage with, to know their history and ancestry, and to grow up honored and empowered by the characters beautifully illustrated and shared on each and every page.

We understand that, for parents, books and storytelling can be a helpful way to start difficult conversations with children, especially when they are young and the topic at hand (blackness, racism, gender identity, sexuality, etc.) is proving tough to navigate. Jodie Patterson, activist, mother, and author of The Bold World and Born Ready: The True Story of a Boy Named Penelope, helped us put together the following list of age-appropriate BIPOC books and stories to share with your kids at each stage of their development.

Picture Books:

Middle Grade Nonfiction:

Middle Grade Fiction:

Young Adult Nonfiction:

Young Adult Fiction:

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Amber Isaac's Partner Bruce McIntyre on His First Father's Day With Their Son Elias
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