For Parents

50+ Fantastic Picture Books by African American Illustrators


Our 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. It can be hard to find pictures books that have characters of color. Here are 50+ favorite picture books that not only star black characters but are also illustrated by black artists. Use this list to 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 experience.

The Coretta Scott King Award recognizes outstanding books for young adults and children by African American authors and illustrators that reflect the African American experience. Here are this year's winners for Illustration:

Listed below are a sampling of books by black illustrators. We also suggest a visit to the Center for Black Literature & Culture at Central Library where you can find many of these picture books to check out and take home!

What To Read

Read Right Now:

Just click on a book jacket to open and enjoy it!

Dance Like StarlightNo Mirrors in My Nana's HouseRent Party JazzTo Be a DrumWhite Socks Only


Use your indyPL Library Card to check out books at any of our locations, or check out e-books and e-audiobooks from home right to your device. Click on a book jacket below to request a book or download it. Need help? Call or ask a Library staff member at any of our locations or text a librarian at 317 333-6877.

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 DaughtersA 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 HarlemOn the BallThese HandsThis Is the RopeThe Tortoise and the HareUncle Jed's Barber ShopWe Shall Overcome: the Story of a SngWelcome PreciousWhen Louis Armstrong Taught Me Scat
~ IndyPL_CarrieW