50 Fantastic Picture Books Illustrated by African-Americans

WeNeedDiverseBooks LogoCrown: an Ode to the Fresh CutOur role is to work together to create books that act as wide-open doors – books that allow all children to walk through and feel safe enough to stay.” ~ illustrator Jerry Pinkney #weneeddiversebooks

Children need to see all kinds of people in the books they read and that includes book characters that look like them. It can be hard to find pictures books that have characters of color. Here are 50 favorite picture books that not only star African-American characters but are also illustrated by African American artists.  Use this list to help find new books and new authors or illustrators that will help you throw wide-open the doors of diversity. You can find new books to act as a mirror, to reflect your child’s own experience, or a window, so they can take a look at someone else’s.

You can read some of the stories online right now in the “Read Right Now” section. Just click on a book jacket to enjoy it! Also listed are eBook and print book options.

Miles Davis by Kevin WestYou can also visit Central Library throughout February and March to see the 2018 Meet the Artists Exhibit (January 30 – April 1) which showcases the accomplishments of 11 prominent local African-American artists. While you are there visit The Center for Black Literature & Culture where you can find many of these picture books to check out and take home!


Read Right Now:

No Mirrors in My Nana's House

eBooks & eAudio:

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Use your indyPL Library Card number and PIN to check out FREE Online eBooks & eAudiobooks. Click on a book jacket & enter your Library Card number and PIN to borrow. What’s My PIN?

Beautiful MoonAunt Flossie's HatsCity ShapesEach KindnessGrandma's PurseHey Black ChildI Got the RhythmKnock KnockLast Stop on Market StreetThe Lion and the MouseMufaro's Beautiful Daughters

Print Books:

A is for ActivistAll Things Bright and BeautifulAfrican OrchestraAntionetteBack of the BusBelle the Last Mule at Gee's BendBig JabeBlack CatBrothers of the KnightBruh Rabbit and the Tar Baby GirlBusy Busy Little ChickChocolate MeEllen's BroomFreedom SummerThe Grasshopper and the AntsHe's Got the Whole World in His HandsIn Plain SightJabari JumpsLittle Red HenLittle Red Riding HoodThe Neighborhood Mother GooseNight Out with MamaNoah's ArkThe Nutcracker in HarlemThese HandsThis Is the RopeThe Tortoise and the HareUncle Jed's Barber ShopWe Shall Overcome: the Story of a S ongWelcome PreciousWhen Louis Armstrong Taught Me Scat

More about Black History:


To learn even more about fascinating and inspiring black history makers, visit the Center for Black Literature & Culture at Central Library. The Center is dedicated to celebrating the vibrant and resilient heritage and triumphs of those born of African roots.

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