Home > Kids > School Age > Toddler > 8 Children’s Books That Centre And Celebrate Black Girls And Boys

The social unrest we’ve seen over the last 12 months shows we still have a long way to go to truly tackle racial inequality. We can all contribute towards implementing change through gestures both big and small. That said, it’s never too early to introduce our children to the enriched, multicultural world we are living in by ensuring they have a diverse range of books.

According to a survey reported on TheBookSeller.com, books featuring Black, Asian or minority ethnic characters continue to be underrepresented in the publishing industry, with only 4% of children’s books featuring black or brown main characters. As a result, we’ve compiled a list of 8 of our favourite children’s books that feature positive and empowering black main characters.

1.	Ella Has a Plan – Davina Hamilton
1. Ella Has a Plan – Davina Hamilton

Ella Has a Plan is the third instalment in a series of children’s books written by Davina Hamilton featuring young black central characters, which aims to inspire children to truly believe they can achieve anything their heart desires, whether professional or personal goals. Following its bestselling predecessors Riley Can Be Anything and Riley Knows He Can, Ella Has a Plan sees Ella learning how to develop conflict resolution skills so she can put a stop to her quarrelling cousins’ spat and enjoy her mummy’s big party. Aimed at four- to 14-year-olds, this is an awesome book for encouraging young children to confidently tap into their emotional intelligence. In usual Davina Hamilton fashion, the book is bright, beautifully illustrated and features memorable rhyming verses.

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2.	Lily and the Magic Comb – VV Brown
2. Lily and the Magic Comb – VV Brown

Lily and the Magic Comb is a beautifully inspiring book written by multi-platinum recording artist VV Brown. The book is centred on the young character Lily who through the power of her imagination can be transported to anywhere her heart desires with the assistance of her magical comb. Enhanced by the book’s unique, vivid illustrations and its powerful message on confidence and identity, this is a terrific book for children of all backgrounds to bolster their self-belief and an inner knowing that anything is achievable.

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3.	The Mega Magic Hair Swap – Rochelle Humes
3. The Mega Magic Hair Swap – Rochelle Humes

Mai has hair that is curly, whirly and spiral shaped. Rose meanwhile has blonde hair that’s long and straight – the total opposite of her best friend. They both wished they had each other’s hair. So, when a magical coconut comes along and grants them their wish, they are jubilant at first before discovering that ‘perfect hair’ is not always what it seems. This is a brilliant debut book by TV personality Rochelle Humes, which will no doubt resonate with children with curly/Afro hair who often feel that their hair texture is seen as inferior in comparison to those with straighter hair types due to the dominance of the Eurocentric beauty ideal.

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4.	 Miles & Mia A to Z - Michaela Alexander
4. Miles & Mia A to Z – Michaela Alexander

Based on the young sibling duo Miles and Mia, this is the first instalment of their book series, which spotlights the traditional alphabet but offers a slight twist. Comprised of rhyming text and colourful illustrations featuring the formidable duo, the book uses references specific to African/Caribbean cultures in the most vibrant and delightful way. The book series is the brainchild of Miles’ and Mia’s mother Michaela Alexander who felt compelled to create it after noticing a distinct lack of children’s books featuring black and characters when her children were younger.

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5.	Anansi The Trickster Spider – Lynne Garner
5. Anansi The Trickster Spider – Lynne Garner

Anansi the Spider is a classic character within West African/Caribbean folklore, known for his ability to use his smarts to outwit the animals and people in his village with creative thinking. Each Anansi story serves as a life parable, and this book is a great introduction to the trickster spider, featuring 16 short stories all replete with teachable moments for young children.

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6.	Zeki Can Swim - Anna McQuinn
6. Zeki Can Swim – Anna McQuinn

There’s nothing quite as magical as splashing around in a swimming pool, and in the book Zeki Can Swim, we join baby Zeki on his swimming lesson as he sploshes and splashes while being held by his loving and supportive Dad. Filled with bright illustrations that jump out from the page, as well as a diverse range of families from different racial backgrounds, this is a great book for teaching young children what to expect when attending a swim class.

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7.	Look Up! – Nathan Bryon
7. Look Up! – Nathan Bryon

This fun, educational and informative picture book introduces us to the character of Rocket – a confident, space obsessed black girl who harbours dreams of space travelling and becoming an astronaut. Look Up! bursts with enthusiasm and wonder, underpinning a poignant message about connecting with the Universe and the world around us instead of being caught up in our phones and other forms of modern technology.

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8.	Baller Boys – Venessa Taylor
8. Baller Boys – Venessa Taylor

The young football enthusiast in your life will love Baller Boys, a heart-warming story of two best friends, Shay and Frankie, who eat, sleep and breathe football. When an opportunity comes for the pair to attend trials for a sought-after football club, they enter a world of fierce competition which makes them wonder whether their friendship will survive the experience. This is an excellent read for teaching children about the tenacity required to achieve life goals, and how to deal with the inevitable challenges that life brings.

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