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Ely Library at Westfield State University
African American Picture Books
This is a guide to some of the ERC's African American Children's Literature. The guide includes, picture books, historical fiction, as well as books that showcase current and relatable topics in black communities and cultures.
Amazing Grace by
Call Number: PZ1000.H67562 AM 1991
Publication Date: 1991-09-02
Grace loves stories. So, when she gets to play a part in Peter Pan, she knows exactly who she wants to be. Remarkable watercolor illustrations give full expression to Grace's high-flying imagination.
*Check out other great books by this Author
Freedom Summer by
Call Number: PZ1000 W648 Fr 2001
Publication Date: 2005-01-01
Joe is white and John Henry is black, and in the South in 1964, that means John Henry isn't allowed to do everything his best friend is. Then a law is passed that forbids segregation. Joe and John Henry soon discover that it takes more than a new law to change people's hearts.
Hair Dance! by
Call Number: PZ600 J67 Hai 2007
Publication Date: 2007-09-04
Hair comes in all colors, textures, and styles. Whether it is worn long or short, in braids or cornrows, or left natural in an Afro. This book shows pictures of the many ways hair can be worn.
I Love My Hair! by
Call Number: PZ1000 T176 laab 1998
Publication Date: 2001-09-01
An encouraging book that helps African American children feel good about their special hair and to be proud of their heritage.
More Than Anything Else by
Call Number: PZ1000 B7175 Mo 1995
Publication Date: 1995-09-01
"A fictionalized story about the life of young Booker T. Washington. Living in a West Virginia settlement after emancipation. His intense desire to learn to read becomes his source of power.
Rainbow Joe and Me by
Call Number: PZ1000 .S89 Rai 1999
Publication Date: 1999-09-01
An exuberant book about a cool young African American artist and a young girl, Eloise. Both, have a fondness for bold colors and boldly outlined shapes. Their sensory differences and similarities are enlightening and enchanting.
Call Number: CT 4300 P377 G56 2005
Publication Date: 2007-12-26
This book is a tribute to Mrs. Parks and is a celebration of her courageous action and the events that followed.
The Great Migration by
Call Number: PZ600 G7 Gr 2011
Publication Date: 2010-12-21
We were one family among the many thousands. Mama and Daddy leaving home, coming to the city, with their hopes and their courage, their dreams and their children, to make a better life.
Call Number: PZ1000 C67759 Up 2000
Publication Date: 2004-01-01
Uptown is a rich mix of flavors, colors, sounds, and cultures that come together to create a vibrant community like no other in the world. Seen through the eyes of one little boy who lives there.
Yo! Yes? by
Call Number: PZ 1000 R18148 Yo 1993
Publication Date: 2007-01-01
This book captures the street poetry between two boys-one black, one white, one shy, one outgoing, one nerdy, one street-smart. At first the boys are shy and awkward but in the end their friendship explodes off the page.
Allie's Basketball Dream by
Call Number: PZ1000 .B23 Al 1996
Publication Date: 2013-04-01
Illustrated by Darryl Ligasan Basketball is Allie's favourite sport but when she's constantly told it's a boy's game her confidence falters but then rebounds in this encouraging tale which offers a spirited tribute to perseverance.
Ashley Bryan's ABC of African American Poetry by
Call Number: PZ600 A83 Ash 1997
Publication Date: 2001-01-01
A collection of inspiring excerpts of poems by celebrated African American poets. Beautifully illustrated with his own tempera and gouache paintings.
Catching the Moon by
Call Number: CT4300.S86 H83 2005
Publication Date: 2005-09-01
The spirited story of Marcenia Lyle, the African American girl who grew up to become "Toni Stone," the first woman to play for an all-male professional baseball team.
Deshawn Days by
Call Number: PZ600.M435 De 2001
Publication Date: 2001-04-01
This book is made up of reflections of 10-year-old DeShawn as he thinks about his family, his life in the projects and the world around him. Medina's poetry is immediately accessible to young readers and he sketches a world filled with learning, love, fear, joy and loss.
Call Number: PZ 1000 M9825 Fl 2001
Publication Date: 2001-11-01
When Jawanza meets the colorful Roderick Jackson Montgomery the Three and his ensemble of feathered friends, Jawanza discovers that his drab rooftop is actually a sunny sanctuary, filled with friendship. With full-colour water colour illustrations on every page.
Freedom in Congo Square by
Call Number: PZ1000 W353 Fre 2016
Publication Date: 2016-01-05
As slaves relentlessly toiled in an unjust system in 19th century Louisiana, they all counted down the days until Sunday, when at least for half a day they were briefly able to congregate in Congo Square in New Orleans.
Gettin' Through Thursday by
Call Number: PZ1000 .C67764 Ge 1998
Publication Date: 2002-05-01
Andre dreads Thursdays. It's the day before his mother gets paid at work each week - it's the day when money is tight and spirits are low for Andre and his family.
Henry's Freedom Box by
Call Number: PZ1000 L5786 He 2007
Publication Date: 2007-01-01
Henry Brown doesn't know how old he is. Nobody keeps records of slaves' birthdays. All the time he dreams about freedom. Then one day, as he lifts a crate at the warehouse, he knows exactly what he must do: He will mail himself to the North. In the end Henry finally has a birthday - his first day of freedom.
Joe Louis, My Champion by
Call Number: PZ1000 .M63738 Jo 2004
Publication Date: 2004-06-01
Sammy wants to be a boxer - just like Joe Louis, whose fame and success are a source of pride and hope for people all over the world. As Sammy gradually realises the significance of Louis' victories in the ring, he begins to understand the true meaning of being a champion.
Night Golf by
Call Number: PZ1000 .M63738 Ni 1999
Publication Date: 1999-05-01
James loves sports and one day finds a golf club and discovers that the game come naturally to him. When he goes to the town's golf club, however, he finds that black people are not allowed to play and in fact are only allowed on the course as caddies. Based on a true story, James worries that he will never be able to play, until he befriends a veteran caddy and learns that there is a way to play: at night!
Nobody Owns the Sky by
Call Number: PZ1000 L6148 NM 1996
Publication Date: 1998-01-06
As a young black woman in the 1920s, Bessie Coleman's chances of becoming a pilot were slim. But she never let her dream die and became the first licensed African-American aviator.
Only Passing Through by
Call Number: CT 4300 T7 R62 2000
Publication Date: 2002-12-10
Only Passing Through is the inspiring story of how a woman, born a slave with no status or dignity, transformed herself into one of the most powerful voices of the abolitionist movement.
The Escape of Oney Judge by
Call Number: PZ1000 M478415 Es 2007
Publication Date: 2007-01-23
When General George Washington is elected the first President of the United States, his wife chooses young Oney Judge, a house slave who works as a seamstress at Mount Vernon, to travel with her to the nation's capital in New York City as her personal maid. There Oney meets free blacks for the first time. Soon Oney decides to run, in order to be free.
The Piano by
Call Number: PZ1000 .M63738 Pi 2000
Publication Date: 2000-04-01
Tia accepts a maid's job from Miss Hartwell, a white woman, just so she can hear the music is played there. Once inside the house, Tia discovers something extraordinary - a big, black shiny piano. Eventually, she convinces Miss Hartwell to teach her and they embark on a journey of discovery.
Tree of Hope by
Call Number: PZ1000 L7362 Tr 1999
Publication Date: 1999-10-25
The Great Depression hits Harlem and closes the Lafayette Theater, throwing Florrie's actor dad out of work. The only reminder of the Lafayette's glory days is the Tree of Hope growing beside the theater. If a wish is made on the tree, good luck will follow.
Two Mrs. Gibsons by
Call Number: PZ 1000 .I38 Tw 1996
Publication Date: 2013-04-01
Two Mrs. Gibsons is author Toyomi Igus's tender and touching tribute to the two most important women in her life--her Japanese mother and her African American grandmother. throughout this story, Toyomi celebrates the joys and rich diversity of growing up biracial.
Something on My Mind by
Call Number: PZ 600 F32 So 1978
Publication Date: 1986-03-17
Nikki Grimes is the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of dozens of children and young adult books as well as a poet and journalist.
Children's Book Help and Information
As Fast As Words Could Fly by
Call Number: PZ1000.T805 As 2013
Publication Date: 2013-04-20
14-year-old Mason Steel takes pride in turning his father's excited ramblings about the latest civil rights incidents into handwritten business letters. One day Pa comes home with a gift from his civil rights group: a typewriter.
Brothers in Hope by
Call Number: PZ1000.W6669 Br 2005
Publication Date: 2013-04-01
Sudanese Garang is eight when he returns to his village and finds that everything has been destroyed. Soon, Garang meets other boys whose villages have been attacked and they unite, walking hundreds of miles to safety - first in Ethiopia then in Kenya. The boys face numerous hardships along the way, but their faith and mutual support help keep the hope of finding a new home alive in their hearts.
Finding the Green Stone by
Publication Date: 1991-10-31
A symbolic and sensitive tale about a young boy who discovers that happiness and fulfillment can come from within.
Freedom's Child by
Call Number: PZ1000 W515 Fr 1997
Publication Date: 1997-04-01
Finding power in lessons from the past, Juneteenth -- the day Texan slaves found out they had been freed, two years after Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. A story of a girl celebrating her freedom and heritage.
I and I Bob Marley by
Call Number: CT300 .M369 M43 2009
Publication Date: 2009-05-01
A unique biography in verse of a reggae legend and his road to fame. Brimming with imagination and insight.
In Daddy's Arms I Am Tall by
Call Number: PZ600.I5 In 1997
Publication Date: 2013-04-01
An innovative, stunningly illustrated picture book that celebrates the role of fathers in black families. Includes contributions from 12 poets.
In the Time of the Drums by
Call Number: PZ1000 S56657 In 1999
Publication Date: 1999-03-15
Mentu's grandmother has Africa in her blood. When a slave ship docks at her Island home, she uses old magic to break their chains and cross the ocean to freedom.
John Lewis in the Lead by
Call Number: CT 4300 L476 H37 2006
Publication Date: 2006-10-01
The story of civil rights activist John Lewis, inspired to action by the words of Dr. Martin Luther King and other civil rights leaders who believed in fighting segregation.
Love to Langston by
Call Number: PZ600 .M435 Lo 2002
Publication Date: 2005-06-24
A biography in verse which offers readers an exciting glimpse into the life of one of the world's most talented and beloved poets. Readers learn about his lonely childhood spent with his grandmother, the racism and poverty he overcame and how he followed his dream to become a poet.
Martin Luther King by
Call Number: CT 4300 K5 B7 1995
Publication Date: 1995-01-01
Folk-art paintings provide a portrait of Martin Luther King and his courageous fight for human rights.
Radiant Child by
Call Number: CT 4300 .B377 S84 2016
Publication Date: 2016-10-25
Winner of the 2017 Randolph Caldecott Medal Winner of the 2017 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award Somewhere in Brooklyn, a little boy dreams of being a famous artist, not knowing that one day he would make himself a king.
The Last Black King of the Kentucky Derby by
Call Number: CT 4300 .W557 H83 2008
Publication Date: 2005-06-30
The story of Jimmy Winkfield, one of horse racing's all-time great jockeys and the last African American to win the Kentucky Derby, in 1902.
The Negro Speaks of Rivers by
Call Number: PZ600 H833 ne 2009
Publication Date: 2009-01-06
The Negro Speaks of Rivers, the song, of the Harlem Renaissance. Although he was only seventeen when he composed it, Hughes already had the insight to capture in words the strength and courage of black people in America.
Voice of Freedom by
Call Number: CT4300 H15 W42 2015
Publication Date: 2015-08-04
A 2016 Caldecott Honor Book. Stirring poems and stunning collage illustrations combine to celebrate the life of Fannie Lou Hamer, a champion of equal voting rights.