Black books: Evan Turk

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. Bringing a different perspective to this list is Evan Turk, an award-winning illustrator, author and animator. He is the author-illustrator of The Storyteller, HeartbeatYou Are Home: An Ode to the National Parks, and A Thousand Glass Flowers and the illustrator of Muddy: The Story of Blues Legend Muddy Waters, which was a New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book; Grandfather Gandhi; and its companion Be the Change. Originally from Colorado, Evan now lives in the Hudson River Valley with his husband and two cats. Visit him at and @evanturkart on Instagram and Twitter. I bet you’re excpecting a superb list of picture books. You’re getting that and much more from Evan.

Evan Turk







Thanks so much, looking forward to reading everyone else’s selections as well!

The Broken Earth Trilogy (The Fifth Season, Obelisk Gate, The Stone Skyby N. K. Jemison
One of the most thrilling fantasy series I’ve ever read

Freedom in Congo Square by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie
A fascinating history; vibrant, rhythmic text; and daring, beautiful illustrations

Blues People : Negro Music in White Americaby Amiri Baraka  (originally published as LeRoi Jones)
I read this while working on the illustrations for Muddy: The Story of Blues Legend Muddy Waters and it changed the way I looked at American music and its history

Thank you, Omu by Oge Mora
A wonderful story with warm, lively illustrations

Kindred – Octavia Butler
Powerfully and painfully written

Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets – Kwame Alexander, Chris Colderley, and Marjorie Wentworth, Illustrated by Ekua Holmes
A great collection of poems with evocative collages

Beautiful Blackbird – Ashley Bryan
Simple, but powerfully designed illustrations by a master storyteller

Americanah – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
I loved reading about the contrast between life in Nigeria, The United States, and the UK, and the difficulty of living in two worlds

Connect with Evan Turk on website or @evanturkart, Twitter/Instagram