Black books: Sujei Lugo

 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. Today’s guest is librarian and activist Sujei Lugo.
IMG_5156Thanks so much of inviting me to participate in this series. The communities I work with at my library are predominantly families and caregivers with children between the ages of 0-5 and there’s a big demand and usages for books for the little ones. Board books are quite popular in my neighborhood, and I wanted to highlight a couple that I’ve used during my Baby Story Time, or that our caregivers are constantly reading and requesting and enjoying. Oftentimes when discussing children’s literature we forget about our babies and board books made for their little hands that introduce them to concepts, daily routines, self-awareness and their environment.
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Golden Books Essence
Here is a short list of some of those titles. I’m adding the year of the edition I have or used at my library. Sadly, several of these titles are out of print and we need to bring them back! Also, there was a collaboration between Golden Books and Essence Magazine for the Essence Books for Children series…would like to know the history behind that wonderful and much-needed board book series.

Books that were originally published as picture books and then as board books: 

Woke Baby by Mahogany L. Browne; illustrated by Theodore Taylor III (2018)
Baby Says by John Steptoe (2019)
Hey Black Child by Useni Eugene Perkins; illustrated by Bryan Collier (2019)
Homemade Love by bell hooks; illustrated by Shane W. Evans (2017)
Dream Big, Little One by Vashti Harrison (2018)


Books that celebrate childhood and siblings:

Kia Tanisha by Eloise Greenfield; illustrated by Jan Spivey Gilchrist (1997)
Swim! by Marilyn Brigham; illustrated by Eric Velasquez (2012)
What is Light? by Markette Sheppard; illustrated by Cathy Ann Johnson (2018)
Animal Sounds for Baby by Cheryl Willis Hudson; illustrated by George Ford (1995)
Whose Knees are These? by Jabari Asim; illustrated by LeUyen Pham (2006)
Whose Toes are Those? By Jabari Asim; illustrated by LeUyen Pham (2006)
Pretty Brown Face by Andrea Davis Pinkney; illustrated by Brian Pinkney (1997)
Joshua’s Night Whispers by Angela Johnson; illustrated by Rhonda Mitchell (1994)
My Favorite Toy by Carole Boston Weatherford; illustrated by Michelle Mills (1996)
I Can Count by Denise Lewis Patrick; illustrated by Fred Willingham (1999)

Sujei Lugo, a former elementary school librarian in Puerto Rico, is a children’s librarian and a doctoral candidate at Simmons University, focusing on race and children’s librarianship. She is an active member of REFORMA (National Association to Promote Library & Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking) and ALSC (Association for Library Service to Children) and is a member of the We’re Kid Lit Collective. Her body, heart, and mind are constantly traveling between Boston and Puerto Rico.