“Racism is not the only thing to know about what it means to be Black. Our joys, our sorrows, our love, our grief, our struggles to fit in, our families, our accomplishments and our triumphs—these things also matter. Black children matter, and not only the ones killed before their time…To recognize Black lives as ones to celebrate, empathize with and care about, here’s your antiracism work: read more fiction by and about Black people.”
– Jasmine Guillory, Reading Anti-Racist Nonfiction Is a Start. But Don’t Underestimate the Power of Black Fiction in Time Magazine
During Black History Month and EVERY month, reading books by and about Black individuals can bring a focus to Black experiences, stories, love, life, relationships, and history. The number of books to read is vast and LIMITLESS and ranges from picture books to fantasy novels. We’ve compiled list of a few books for every age below. Remember: if you purchase these books through Amazon, make sure to use Amazon Smile and select Safe Shores to support us!
Author and Illustrator: Vashti Harrison
Author and Illustrator: Vashti Harrison
These board books are simplified versions of Author and Illustrator Vashti Harrison’s New York Times best sellers Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History and Little Legends: Exceptional Men in Black History. The beautiful artwork tells the stories of Black women and men who were leaders and role models throughout all of history – including today!
Author Talk with Vashti Harrison and Live Reading:
Author: Nancy Redd
Illustrator: Nneka Myers
Join a young girl and her family as they go through their nighttime routine and get ready for bed. But what happens when she can’t find her bedtime bonnet?
Read Aloud (With Author Nancy Redd):
Authors: Jessica Curry, Parker Curry
Illustrator: Brittany J. Jackson
A powerful testament to the importance of representation, join Parker and her family on a trip to the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. Witness the remarkable moment she “looks up” and sees First Lady Michelle Obama’s portrait for the first time.
Author and Illustrator: Oge Mora
For Ava and her mom, Saturdays are cherished as their special day to spend together. One particular Saturday when everything seems to go wrong, the pair are reminded of what’s truly important. This book is a great reminder of how small actions like deep breathing can help ground little ones.
Author and Illustrator: Gaia Cornwall
Jabari is finally finished with his swimming lessons and today is the day he will jump from the diving board! Join Jabari as he overcomes his fears through determination, courage and support from his encouraging father. This picture book touches on mental health and anxiety in a way young readers will understand.
Author: Elise Bryant
When Tessa gets accepted into the prestigious Creative Writing program that she’s been dreaming of, she finds herself struggling to write the stories she was so eager to share. Her best friend decides she needs inspiration in the form of her own “happily ever afters,” but does Tessa really want to live out a real-life romance? Or just write one?
Author: Ben Philippe
Teenager Henri “Halti” Haltiwanger is the charming, popluar, and well-liked owner of an upscale dog-walking business, or so it seems. After classmate Corinne discovers Henri’s secret, she uses it as leverage to get him to help her raise her status at school. But what started as a calculated scheme may soon turn into something neither of them anticipated.
Author: Brandy Colbert
First-time voters Marva and Duke spend Election Day on a whirlwind journey ensuring that their voices are heard. Beginning the day as strangers, the two teens juggle obstacle after obstacle to guarantee their voices are heard.
Sci-fi and Fantasy
Author: Rena Barron
The first book in the fantasy series, Kingdom Of Souls follows Arrah, the seemingly unmagical daughter of the most powerful priestess in the Kingdom and the ancestor of powerful witchdoctors. Arrah must make life-changing risks to have her own magic, to try and save the Kingdom’s children who have been mysteriously disappearing. This Fantasy novel takes the reader on a ride through magic and adventure, while touching on current social themes.
Author: Brittney Morris
Nobody knows Kiera’s secret: she’s the developer for the popular video game for Black gamers, SLAY. Her secret identity is threatened, however, when a teen is murdered due to an in-game dispute. This Sci-Fi novel with a focus on Black teens in STEM explores what it means to be unapologetically Black through a variety of viewpoints.
Author: L.L. McKinney
A Blade So Black is the modern re-imagining of the classic Alice in Wonderland. This fantasy novel is the first in the series that follows Dreamwalker Alice as she discovers her abilities within the mystical realm that is connected to Earth: Wonderland. The book explores themes of duality, socio-political issues, mental health, and trauma through a fantastical lens, while celebrating the Alice’s character growth and literal “Black girl magic.”
Author: Ibi Zoboi
A modern take on Pride and Prejudice, Pride follows Brooklyn born and raised Zuri as she grapples with saving her quickly gentrifying neighborhood. Examining the balance between identity, culture, class and everything in between, Zuri learns an important lesson in what being yourself truly means.