Almost everyone has that book, that one book from when you were a child that the mere thought of brings a smile to your face. What makes the best children’s books so powerful is that their impact on a child grows over time. The pictures are first to grab the attention with a galaxy of colours and shapes. Then the comprehension develops, as the sound that has often accompanied the amazing images gradually turns into meaningful and understood words, and the pictures take on new meaning. As the child continues to grow, they naturally look for reflections of themselves in the stories. Does the girl have short hair like mine? Does the boy wear eyeglasses too?
It is difficult to see the world as clearly and plainly as a child. They see the world as it is, filled with people of different shapes, colours and sizes but they only learn what (if anything) these differences mean in their communities and environments. If a child reads books filled with images of princes and princesses and they are all Caucasian, it is purely logical for them to assume it is not possible for a Black child to be one. Why would they assume something they have never seen? Books play such a crucial role in a child’s early development and it is vitally important that the books children consume are representative of the world and environment they will grow up in.
The retailers listed below specialise in creating diverse books where Black characters play central roles. A necessity for Black families living as minorities in Western countries, these books are just as beneficial for Caucasian children as well. They need to learn that African and Afro-Caribbean characters can be the leads of stories, not just the trusted side-kicks or villains as portrayed in most Western media. Check out the following list of Black-owned shops selling children’s books by Black authors.
Children’s Books By Black Authors
Casey Elisha Books is a book retailer run by Black children’s author Casey Elisha. She create books that represent Black children. Most Black children do not see characters that look similar to them in books, and Casey Elisha wants children to feel proud of who they are. Some of the selections in her catalogue include Love Thy Fro, My Daddy Does, and My Mummy is Superwoman.
“For My Books” is an online retailer that produces fantastic books that are personally created by Black children’s authors. With eye-catching artwork and designs, the authors create books to depict the richness of Caribbean culture and take children on a great adventure. They have a book currently available called Later, which is a great story about family and culture.
Exploring London is a series of books following sisters Ama and Neri as they explore London attractions. The books encourage children to explore the history of the city, and also promote learning and reading. With two Black children as the leads, the books are filled with fun artwork and depictions of London landmarks.
Bella and Logan’s World takes a rarer angle than most, as they produce educational books with Black characters as the lead. Bella and Logan teach children the alphabet, numbers and shapes while taking children around the world, introducing them to different countries, fruits and animals. They also provide free material on their website such as a colouring sheet.
The beautiful me collection is a series of books created by Black author and illustrator Marlene Service. With a focus on inclusion and representation, each book contains a range of characters and ethnicities to promote diversity, integrity, and culture. The collection of four books can be purchased in hard and soft covers, as well as digitally.
The selection of book retailers listed above are Black-owned businesses that seek to change the way children’s books represent Black children. They achieve this by displaying culture, happiness, education and values. For more children’s books and graphic novels by Black authors, visit our Blacklist. Don’t forget to also visit our directory of thousands of Black-owned businesses, where you can find retailers selling more children’s products.