Celebrate Black Voices

Celebrate Black Voices

This #Ownvoice booklist features titles written about and by the Black community. #Ownvoice stories are important because it allows children to see themselves in stories and know the person behind the words is similar to them. It means that not only is the story important, but also who tells that story. Enjoy these great titles!


Compiled by:
Ginny H.

Picturebooks and Younger Elementary

All Because You Matter

Tami Charles
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Cha)

A lyrical, heart-lifting love letter to Black and Brown children everywhere reminds them how much they matter, that they have always mattered, and that they always will. Recommended for ages 3–6.


Black is a Rainbow Color

Angela Joy
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Joy)

A child reflects on the meaning of being Black in this anthem about a people, a culture, a history, and a legacy that lives on. Recommended for ages 3-6.


Brand-New School, Brave New Ruby

Derrick D. Barnes
(Juvenile Fiction - J Barnes)
Series: Ruby and the Booker Boys

When Ruby Booker starts third grade at Hope Road Academy, the same school her three illustrious older brothers attend, she tries hard to make an impression of her own. Recommended for ages 6-9.


Cool Cuts

Mechal Renee Roe
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Roe)

This affirming, joyful celebration of the diversity of Black self-expression is told through illustrations of hairstyles and an empowering refrain. Recommended for ages 3–6.


The Day You Begin

Jacqueline Woodson
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Woo)

Other students laugh when Rigoberto, an immigrant from Venezuela, introduces himself. Later, he meets Angelina and discovers that he is not the only one who feels like an outsider. Woodson's lyrical text and López's dazzling art remind us that we all feel like outsiders sometimes––and how brave it is that we go forth anyway. Recommended for ages 6–9.


Grandma's Purse

Vanessa Brantley-Newton
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Bra)

Spend the day with Mimi and her granddaughter in this charming picture book about the magic found in Mimi's favorite accessory, perfect for readers who love How to Babysit a Grandma! When Grandma Mimi comes to visit, she always brings warm hugs, sweet treats...and her purse. You never know what she'll have in there--fancy jewelry, tokens from around the world, or something special just for her granddaughter. It might look like a normal bag from the outside, but Mimi and her granddaughter know that it's pure magic! Recommended for ages 3-6.


Hands Up!

Breanna McDaniel
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Mcd)

A young girl lifts her hands up in a series of everyday moments, such as giving a hug, playing basketball, before finally raising her hands in resistance at a protest march. Recommended for ages 3-6.


Hey Black Child

Useni Eugene Perkins
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 811.54 Per)

A lyrical, empowering poem that celebrates Black children and seeks to inspire all young ones to dream big and achieve their goals. Recommended for ages 6–9.


King of Kindergarten

Derrick D. Barnes
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Bar)

Instilled with confidence by his parents, a young boy has a great first day of kindergarten. Recommended for ages 3-6.


Nana Akua Goes to School

Tricia Elam Walker
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Wal)

Zura is worried about how her classmates will react to her Ghanaian Nana's tattoos on Grandparents Day, but Nana finds a way to show how special and meaningful they are. Recommended for ages 3-6.


Rock Star

Kelly Starling Lyons
(Juvenile First Chapter Books - J Lyons)
Series: Jada Jones

Fourth-grader Jada's best friend moved away but a class project on rocks and minerals, her favorite topic, could mean new friends. For Jada, rocks are easier to find than friends. Or are they? Recommended for ages 6-9.


Older Elementary

Finding Langston

Lesa Cline-Ransome
(Juvenile Fiction - J Clinera)

Discovering a book of Langston Hughes' poetry in the library helps Langston cope with the loss of his mother, relocating from Alabama to Chicago as part of the Great Migration, and being bullied. Recommended for ages 9-12.


From the Desk of Zoe Washington

Janae Marks
(Juvenile Fiction - J Marks)

Zoe Washington isn’t sure what to write. What does a girl say to the father she’s never met, hadn’t heard from until his letter arrived on her twelfth birthday, and who’s been in prison for a terrible crime? A crime he says he never committed. Could Marcus really be innocent? Zoe is determined to uncover the truth. Even if it means hiding his letters and her investigation from the rest of her family. Everyone else thinks Zoe’s worrying about doing a good job at her bakery internship and proving to her parents that she’s worthy of auditioning for Food Network’s Kids Bake Challenge. But with bakery confections on one part of her mind, and Marcus’s conviction weighing heavily on the other, this is one recipe Zoe doesn’t know how to balance. Recommended for ages 9-12.


Lifting As We Climb : Black Women's Battle for the Ballot Box

Evette Dionne
(Juvenile nonfiction - J 323.34 Dio)

For African American women, the fight for the right to vote was only one battle. An eye-opening book that tells the important, overlooked story of Black women as a force in the suffrage movement--when fellow suffragists did not accept them as equal partners in the struggle. Recommended for ages 9-12.


New Kid

Jerry Craft
(Juvenile Graphic Novels- J-GN Craft New Kid)

After his parents send him to a prestigious private school known for its academics, Jordan Banks finds himself torn between two worlds. Recommended for ages 9–12.


The Only Black Girls in Town

Brandy Colbert
(Juvenile Fiction - J Colbert)

In a predominately White California beach town, the only two Black seventh-graders, Alberta and Edie, find hidden journals that uncover family secrets and speak to race relations in the past. Recommended for ages 9–12.


The Parker Inheritance

Varian Johnson
(Juvenile Fiction - J Johnson)

Twelve-year-old Candice is spending the summer in South Carolina, in the old house that belonged to her grandmother, who died after being dismissed as city manager for having the city tennis courts dug up looking for buried treasure. When Candice finds the letter that sent her grandmother on the treasure hunt, she finds herself caught up in the mystery and sets out to find the inheritance, exonerate her grandmother, and expose an injustice once committed against an African American family in town. Recommended for ages 9–12.


Season of Styx Malone

Kekla Magoon
(Juvenile Fiction - J Magoon)

Caleb Franklin and his big brother, Bobby Gene, spend an extraordinary summer with their new, older neighbor, Styx Malone, a foster boy from the city. Recommended for ages 9-12.


Something to Say

Lisa Moore Ramée
(Juvenile Fiction - J Ramee)

A friendless girl who has developed a knack for keeping her head down at school resists a red-headed newcomer who wants to make friends, before the two are paired for a class assignment that she hopes will secure her position on the debate team. Recommended for ages 9-12.