Today I'm sharing my favorites for African heritage children. You can read my picks for Latino heritage children in this post.
P.S. I am not including my favorite books about the underground railroad, civil war, civil rights, or segregation–though they are numerous. I will save that post for another day.
Books for Toddlers and Preschoolers
Classic preschool song with lots of brown-skinned beauties in the illustrations.
I don't know one preschooler who wouldn't enjoy The Snowy Day, the story of Peter's snow play. Jack Ezra Keats has lots of other books featuring Peter also. We've enjoyed Whistle for Willie, Goggles!, and Pet Show!
Flossie and the Fox
I've read this family favorite about a clever girl outwitting a tricky fox dozens of times!
Ten Nine Eight by Molly Bang is a brightly illustrated counting book for bedtime.
Feast for Ten is another counting book in which everyone in the family helps prepare a feast for ten hungry people.
Honey, Honey, Lion! A Story from Africa
"In Africa the honeyguide and the honey badger are partners: They honeyguide finds the honeycomb and the honey badger cracks it open with its strong claws. They share he sweetness, and that is the way it has always been." In this Jan Brett tale you will tour the beautiful landscape of Africa while learning a lesson about greed.
This Jazz Man is a spin-off the classic "This Old Man" song; this book is nothing but finger-snapping, toe-tapping FUN. Count your way through the book and learn a little about famous musicians along the way.
Books Set in Africa
My Rows and Piles of Coins by Tololwa M. Lollel (Tanzania)
Super book that I have loved for a long time. Saruni is saving his money for a red and blue bicycle. A tale of selflessness and determination.
Fatuma's New Cloth by Leslie Bulion (East Africa)
A sweet story of a mom and her daughter teaching us all that "you can't judge a book by its cover."
We All Went on Safari by Laurie Krebs (Tanzania)
Simple text accompanied by bold watercolor illustrations. Your child will learn to count to ten in Swahili. More excellent learning opportunities are presented with the extra information found at the back of the book.
Mama Panya's Pancakes by Mary and Rich Chamberlin (Kenya)
A Kenyan boy convinces his mother to share food with friends. The vibrant illustrations in this book will win you over. Amazing supplemental information at the back of this one, too, including a recipe for Mama Panya's Pancakes!
Masai and I by Virginia Kroll (East Africa)
A young African American girl wonders what it would be like to be Masai.
The Perfect Orange by Frank P. Araujo (Ethiopia)
A folktale from Ethiopia reinforcing the importance of generosity.
Fire on the Mountain by Jane Kurtz (Ethiopia)
Set in the mountains of Ethiopia, this is a folktale about a shepherd boy and his clever sister.
Beatrice's Goat by Page McBrier (Uganda)
Double heart this one. It depicts simple village life in Uganda and how many ways one hard-working family was blessed by the gift of a goat.
Other Books We Enjoy
(with African-America Characters)
Aunt Flossie's Hats and Crab Cakes Later
History by hats. A wonderful snap-shot of a black American family.
Despite differences, a Russian American girl enters into an African American family. A tale of real friendship told by one of the best: Patricia Polacco.
Another book that reinforces friendship without boundary of race or age. Love this one.
Biographies of Famous African Americans
Wilma Unlimited: How Wilma Rudolph Became the World's Fastest Woman by Kathleen Krull
Salt in His Shoes: Michael Jordan in Pursuit of a Dream by Deloris and Roslyn Jordan
Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshal by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson
I, Matthew Henson: Polar Explorer by Carole Boston Weatherford
When Marian Sang: The True Recital of Marian Andersen by Pam Munoz Ryan