I love books because they do not talk back. I can read something and have time to reflect and to re-read. Reading helps me see perspectives that I may not otherwise see, and it helps me gain insight into topics I am not knowledgeable about.
As an English teacher, I have seen a decline in reading across the board. I suspect this is because we can get all of our information from the web in seconds. And while that has its perks, I feel the art of reading is slowly moving away from young people. Even more, away from adults. I can’t count the number of times I see people post online based on a headline without having read the entire article. That’s why it’s important that we take the time to become knowledgeable about issues that are important to us, and that starts with reading.
As we celebrate Black History Month, I’ve compiled a list of books by African American authors. I think it’s important for all children to see themselves in books and to see others reading about people who look like them. The list below ranges from board books to teen series and includes a couple of great adult books that help bring insight into African American culture. While this list does not scratch the surface of books by African American authors, these are books that my kids, students and I have enjoyed over the years! Happy Reading!
Please Baby Please by Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee
Whose toes are those? by Jabari Asim
Baby Says by John Steptoe
The Adventures of King: My Red Guitar by David L. Yancey (Local Author)
Dancing in the Wings by Debbie Allen and Kadir Nelson
Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale by John Steptoe
The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson
Max and the Tag-Along Moon by Floyd Cooper
As Brave As You by Jason Reynolds
The Steam Chasers: We made that by Doresa A. Jenning
Blended by Sharon Draper
The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson
The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
Tristan Strong Punches A Hole in the Sky (Vol 1) by Kwame Mbalia
Children of Blood and Bones by Tomi Adeyemi
Monster by Walter Dean Myers
Calling My Name by Liara Tamani
Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reed
Black Leopard Red Wolf by Marlon James