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Celebrating Black Joy for Kids and Teens

These books center on portraying Black joy in characters and stories that emphasize everyday living, a wide range of feelings, and positivity through growth in identity and community.

Board Books

Cover of Bright Brown Baby
Andrea
Pinkney
Brian Pinkney
2022

A rhythmic, whimsically illustrated celebration of Black and brown babies and the joy, tender moments, and boundless love shared between children and their caregiver.

Cover of Brown Baby Lullaby
Tameka Fryer
Brown
AG Ford
2020

From sunset to bedtime, two parents lovingly care for their beautiful brown baby.

Cover of Daddy Speaks Love
Leah
Henderson
E. B. Lewis
2022

A moving tribute to the joy and grounding that fathers bring to their children's lives.

Cover of Hey You! An Empowering Cel
Adeola
Dapo
2022

This remarkable picture book is a lyrical, inspirational exploration of growing up Black, written by award-winning illustrator Dapo Adeola, and brought to life by some of the most exciting Black artists of today.

Cover of Lullaby for a Black Mother
Langston
Hughes
Sean Qualls
2021

This beloved poem by Langston Hughes, illustrated by the award-winning Sean Qualls, is an irresistible celebration of the love between mother and baby,

Cover of I, Too, Sing America
Langston
Hughes
Katie Crumpton
2021

This board book introduces children to Langston Hughes' powerful declaration of resilience and hope.

Cover of Shhh! The Baby's Asleep
Janay
Brown-Wood
Elissambura
2021

Baby is finally asleep as Mama begins to shush the rest of the family; but when they are all finally quiet, baby wakes up and big brother realizes just what baby needs-a book!

Cover of Sweet, Sweet Baby!
Javaka
Steptoe
2022

This beautiful board book celebrates the joy, hope, and pride that a new baby brings.

Picture Books and Early Readers

Cover of Change Sings: A Children's
Amanda
Gorman
Loren Long
2021

A young girl leads a cast of characters on a musical journey as they learn that they have the power to make changes-big or small-in the world, in their communities, and most importantly in themselves.

Cover of Dream Street
Tricia Elam
Walker
Ekua Holmes
2021

Real-life cousins pay gorgeous homage to the street they grew up on and the loving community that made their childhood special.

Cover of J.D. and the Great Barber
J.
Dillard
2021

Eight-year-old J.D. turns a tragic home haircut into a thriving barber business in this hilarious new illustrated chapter book series.

Cover of The Proudest Blue: A Story
Ibtihaj Muhammad with
S.K. Ali
Hatem Aly
2019

 A powerful, vibrantly illustrated story about the first day of school-and two sisters on one's first day of hijab-by Olympic medalist and social justice activist Ibtihaj Muhammad. 

Cover of Sadiq and the Explorers (S
Siman
Nuurali
Anjan Sarkar
2020

After a family hike in a nearby park, Sadiq forms the Explorers Club with his friends, who then help a neighbor create a nature-themed scavenger hunt for the Fourth of July celebration.

Cover of Soul Food Sunday
Winsome
Bingham
C. G. Esperanza
2021

Granny teaches her young grandson how to cook the family meal, in this celebration of food, traditions, and gathering together at the table.

Cover of Ty’s Travels: Zip, Zoom!
Kelly Starling
Lyons
Nina Mata
2020

Ty can't wait to ride his new scooter, but when he has a hard time learning and wants to quit, a new friend encourages him to give it another try.

Cover of The Year We Learned To Fly
Jacqueline
Woodson
Rafael Lopez
2022

On a dreary, stuck-inside kind of day, a brother and sister heed their grandmother's advice and before they know it, their imaginations lift them up and out of their boredom.

Cover of Your Name is a Song
Jamilah
Thompkins-Bigelow
Luisa Uribe
2020

Frustrated by a day full of teachers and classmates mispronouncing her beautiful name, a little girl tells her mother she never wants to come back to school. In response, the girl's mother teaches her about the musicality of African, Asian, Black-American, Latinx, and Middle Eastern names on their lyrical walk home through the city. 

School Age

Cover of Akissi: Even More Tales of
Marguerite
Abouet
Mathieu Sapin
2020

Our favorite troublemaker is back in this graphic novel collection of wild childhood adventures set on the Ivory Coast.

Cover of Black Boy Joy
Kwame
Mbalia
2021

From seventeen acclaimed Black male and nonbinary authors comes a vibrant collection of stories, comics, and poems about the power of joy and the wonders of Black boyhood.

Cover of Power Up
Sam
Nisson
Darnell Johnson
2021

Although Miles and Rhys attend the same school, they don't know each other in real life, but in the online game Mecha Melee they are triumphant besties known as Gryphon and Backslash. 

Cover of Operation Sisterhood
Olugbemisola
Rhuday-Perkovich
2022

Four new sisters band together to navigate the difficulties of change, the loyalty of sisters and the love of a family.

Cover of Recognize!: An Anthology H
Wade Hudson and
Cheryl Willis Hudson
2021

Award-winning Black authors and artists come together to create a moving anthology collection celebrating Black love, Black creativity, Black resistance, and Black life.

Cover of A Soft Place to Land
Janae
Marks
2021

Twelve-year old Joy dreams of writing music for the movies, but first she has to survive her family's move into a small apartment when her father loses his job.

Cover of The Swag is in the Socks
Kelly
Baptist
2021

Twelve-year-old Xavier Moon gets the courage to step out of the shadows when his great-uncle gives him some outlandish socks and some even stranger requests.

Cover of We Are Family
Lebron James and
Andrea Williams
2021

When Jayden and his teammates find out there's not going to be a Hoop Group this year--and maybe ever again--they have to learn to lean on each other if they want to save their basketball season.

Cover of Ways to Grow Love (Ryan Ha
Renée
Watson
Nina Mata
2021

In the summer before fifth grade, Ryan Hart continues to grow through changes and challenges, such as waiting for a new baby sister to be born, a summer camp trip, and more.

Teens and YA

Cover of Blackout
Dhonielle
Clayton, et al
2021

Six critically acclaimed, bestselling, and award-winning authors bring the glowing warmth and electricity of Black teen love to this interlinked novel of charming, hilarious, and heartwarming stories that shine a bright light through the dark.

Cover of The Cost of Knowing
Brittney
Morris
2021

Sixteen-year-old Alex Rufus's curse of seeing the future distracts him from being and doing his best, but when he sees his little brother Isaiah's imminent death, he races against time, death, and circumstances to save him.

Cover of Empowered Black Girl: Joyf
M.J.
Fièvre
2020

Take a deep breath. It's essential for Black women and Black teen girls to understand that taking a break to focus on mental health is bravery. You are incredible and enough.

Cover of Home Is Not a Country
Safia
Elhillo
2021

This powerful novel-in-verse captures one girl, caught between cultures, on an unexpected journey to face the ephemeral girl she might have been. This is a tender meditation on family, belonging, and home.

Cover of Long Division: A Novel
Kiese
Laymon
2021

Written in a voice that's alternately humorous, lacerating, and wise, Long Division features two interwoven stories that take place in two different years (think time travel) where the main character, City Coldson, discovers the key to a young girl's disappearance.

Cover of On Girlhood: 15 Stories fr
Glory
Edim (editor)
2021

A curated anthology celebrating short fiction featuring a wide range of unique voices that explore the thin yet imperative line between Black girlhood and womanhood.

Cover of One True Loves
Elise
Bryant
2022

Lenore Bennett meets a hopeless romantic with a ten-year plan who helps her find something she's been looking for-love. An irresistible YA romantic comedy full of self-discovery and Black love-and a dreamy European cruise.

Cover of We Are Not Broken
George M.
Johnson
2021

George M. Johnson captures the unique experience of growing up as a Black boy in America through rich family stories that explore themes of vulnerability, sacrifice, and culture.

Cover of Vinyl Moon
Mahogany L.
Browne
2022

A teen girl reeling from the scars of a past relationship finds healing and hope in the words of strong Black writers and the new community she builds in Brooklyn, New York.