We're in the midst of black history month thinking about not only our ancestors who've paved the way but also our children who as the song says are our future. Now more than ever black youth need to be inspired, nourished and shown examples of themselves that will spark their creativity and inspire them to pursue their dreams.
I believe books are a great way to nourish children. Books are also great for adding color to your kids bookshelf or desk. So, I've curated a list of 10 books for black youth that inspire and spark creativity. Books for children and teens. I'd love to know which books you'll be getting for the black youth in your life let me know in the comments.
10 Books For Black Youth That Inspire + Spark Creativity
Black Inventors Coloring Book. This adult coloring book will mix the best of two worlds, it will enhance your coloring skills and enlighten your mind by teaching you about known (and not so well known) black inventors. The title says adult coloring book but I think it would also benefit teens and preteens looking for a creative yet educational alternative to video games or social media.
9. Alphabet of Black Cultures - Jeffrey Daniels
From A to Z, Alphabet of Black Cultures is a fun picture book celebrating a world connected by African heritage. Using letters of the alphabet as a guide, learners of all ages explore inventions, music, games, customs, and more. What better way to introduce children to their ABC's than with their own culture.
This is the book I wish I had as a teen. In this journal designed for teenage Black girls, MJ Fievre tackles topics such as family and friends, school and careers, body image, and stereotypes. By reflecting on these topics, teens girls will confront the issues that can hold them back from living their best life and discovering their Black girl bliss. I also love the idea of introducing journaling, affirmations and question prompts to young women.
7. Little Legends: Exceptional Men in Black History - Vashti Harrison & Kwesi Johnson
An important book for readers of all ages, but especially children this beautifully illustrated and engagingly written book brings to life true stories of black men in history. Among these biographies, readers will find aviators and artists, politicians and pop stars, athletes and activists. The exceptional men featured include writer James Baldwin, artist Aaron Douglas, filmmaker Oscar Devereaux Micheaux, lawman Bass Reeves, civil rights leader John Lewis, dancer Alvin Ailey, musician Prince and more.
6. A Good Kind of Trouble - Lisa Moore Ramee
A beautifully written, important book that follows a 7th grade girl as she navigates a new school, changing friendships, and becoming more aware of the injustices of the world. It's a quick but engaging read from the nuances of the characters, the middle school depiction of the harsh realities Black people face, to the main character's courageous way of standing up for what she believes, even if it causes trouble is inspiring. A must-read!
5. The Obama Portraits - Taína Caragol, Dorothy Moss
From the moment of their unveiling at the National Portrait Gallery in early 2018, the portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama have become two of the most beloved artworks of our time. Kehinde Wiley's portrait of President Obama and Amy Sherald's portrait of the former first lady have garnered unprecedented emotional responses from the public.
This fascinating book speaks to the power of arts ability to bring people together and promote cultural change. Children of all ages will be inspired as they see images of themselves and learn the story of what it took to to make these portraits possible.
4. Hair Love - Matthew Cherry & Vashti Harrison
A beautiful father daughter story you and children will enjoy, Hair Love shows us not only what loving our hair looks like but also what love unique to black families looks like. When Zuri's father steps in to style his daughter's hair for a special occasion, he has a lot to learn. But he loves his daughter, and happily accepts the challenge to make her and her hair happy.
3. Bun Heads - Misty Copeland & Setor Fiadzigbey
From prima ballerina and New York Times bestselling author Misty Copeland comes the story of a young Misty, who discovers her love of dance through the ballet Coppélia--a story about a toymaker who devises a villainous plan to bring a doll to life. Misty is so captivated by the tale and its heroine, Swanilda, she decides to audition for the role. But she's never danced ballet before; in fact, this is the very first day of her very first dance class! An adorable book for young ballerinas or any child.
2. Ana & Andrew Going to Ghana - Christine Platt
Curious brother and sister duo Ana & Andrew visit Ghana for the first time with their family in this fun and educational book. Through their explorations readers learn about Ghanaian culture, food, significant places like the Cape Coast Castle and most importantly how to honor their ancestors. If you aspire to travel with your children or grandchildren this is a great introduction to visiting new places especially those connected to our roots.
1. Glory: Magical Visions of Black Beauty - Kahran Bethencourt & Regis Bethencourt
The dynamite husband and wife duo behind CreativeSoul Photography, comes GLORY, a photography book that shatters the conventional standards of beauty for Black children.
With stunning images of natural hair and gorgeous, inventive visual storytelling, GLORY puts Black beauty front and center with more than 100 breathtaking photographs and a collection of powerful essays about the children. It's a stunning coffee table book that will inspire all ages and brings to life past, present, and future visions of black culture and showcases the power of recognizing and celebrating oneself.
I hope you enjoyed our list of 10 books for black youth that inspire and spark creativity. I'd love to know which books you're getting for your youngsters or gifting to the children in your life. Let me know in the comments.
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