This year, I’ve invited non Black people who are in someway connected to youth literature to share a list of 5-10 books written or illustrated by Blacks that will appeal to children. I asked for anything from board books and graphic novels to biographies and adult crossover. The authors or illustrators could be living or dead, U.S. residents or not. The results have been quite amazing.
Today’s post is particularly special to me. Shirley Mullin has a master’s degree in librarianship and has spent all of her professional life working with children and children’s books. For the past 34 years she has owned and operated Kids Ink Children’s bookstore in Indianapolis. She was my children’s lit instructor when I was in library school. Even more than that, Kids Ink is where I would go to purchase books for my children and their friends when they were young. I would tell Shirley that I wanted books by Black authors and she built piles of books for me. I’m so glad I’ve been able to keep in touch with her and to share her booklist with you. Shirley knows books and these are among those that she loves.
Hair Love by Matthew Cherry and Vashti Harrison. (Puffin, 2019)
This book is intriguing as it is also a short film that is short-listed for an Academy Award. Both the film and the book highlight the love and communication between the father and daughter.
Infinite Hope: A Black Artist’s Journey from World War II to Peace by Ashley Bryan. (Atheneum, 2019)
This book adds so much to WWII literature. Amazing that Ashley saved drawings and notes he did during the war. His book highlights the treatment of the black soldiers.
The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander, illustrated by Kadir Nelson. (Versify, 2019)
All the Days Past, All the Days to Come by Mildred Taylor. (Viking, 2020)
In this conclusion or continuation of the story of the Logans, she brings their story up to 2008. Taylor doesn’t shy away from racial inequalities and injustice.
The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson. (Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic, 2018)
Great story about family history and on the Young Hoosier Book Award Middle List 2020-20211.
Thank You, Omu by Oge Mora. (Little, Brown and Co, 2018)
Daddy Calls Me Man by Angela Johnson and illustrated by Rhonda Mitchell. (Orchard Books, 1997)
Mirandy and Brother Wind by Patricia McKissack Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney. (Alfred A. Knopf, 1988) [Edi: I actually purchased this from Kids Ink years ago!!]
Monster by Walter Dean Myers and illustrated by Christopher Myers. (HarperCollins, 1999)
Voice of Freedom Fannie Lou Hamer by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by Ekua Holmes. (Candlewick Press, 2015)
I had never heard of Hamer and was so amazed at her courage faced with such barbaric treatment.