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Children’s literature has definitely progressed. Today, little kids are lucky enough to see themselves in the books they read. For Black children in particular, there are certain books that belong in their own home library to help them understand the world around them.
For a long time, the media has left out Black children and their stories. Though the lack of representation still persists, there are several authors who are doing their part for Black kids. Below, you’ll find five books that will help shape your child’s view of themselves in the world.
1. Shop: Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry, $6.90 – $14.99
Most memorable for the Oscar award-winning short film by the same name, Hair Love also comes in book form. The story tells the tale of a dad doing his daughter’s hair. Zuri, the daughter in question, constantly critiques her dad’s skills. By the end of the book, the story uncovers the relationship Black children have with their hair. Worth noting, the audiobook version is narrated by Blue Ivy Carter.
2. Shop: Sulwe by Lupita Nyong’o, $9.98 – $20.09
Colorism is one thing many young brown skin Black girls face for most of their life. Lupita Nyong’o recognizes the need for dark skin girls to love their deep skin in her children’s book, Sulwe. Nyong’o’s book takes readers through Sulwe’s journey. Her skin is darker than everyone in her family and everyone at her school. While at first, she wants to be like her mom and her sister, she goes on an adventure that changes her mind on her own unique beauty.
3. Shop: I Am Perfectly Designed by Karamo Brown, $19
Queer Eye host Karamo Brown celebrates modern families in his book I Am Perfectly Designed. This picture book takes you on a journey that highlights a father and son relationship and its importance in growing up.
4. Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes, $7.32 – $12.99
A fresh cut, waves and sleek lines are celebrated throughout Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes. This picture book by Derrick Barnes shares the joys of going to the barbershop and coming out a newer, swaggier person who is confident to take on the world.
5. Shop: The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, $9.91 – $13.49
The Bluest Eye is a classic for all young Black girls. Living in a space that doesn’t feel like your own is a common experience, and this Nobel Prize winner reveals all of its nuances. The book tells the story of an 11-year-old girl named Pecola Breedlove. Breedlove wants to change her eyes from brown to blue because she thinks it is the key for her to be considered beautiful. However, the story digs into race, class, gender and the overall detriment of assimilating to unrealistic beauty standards.
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