As the mother of my own amazing Black boy who has already made his transition into college, connecting with the younger him through storytelling and encouraging a love of reading has always been an important aspect of my parenting journey.

I recently joined MOBB – Mothers of Black Boys United, a Facebook group that provides a forum for moms of Black sons to share our concerns and propose solutions to the challenges our children face. Hearing from mothers of younger sons about the challenges they face finding stories specifically for and about our sons got me thinking.

When I was in their shoes years ago, it was also hard to find books that I could use to inspire or affirm him. No list of resources to forge that connection as his love of reading peaked.

But luckily, it’s the dawn of a new day.

I’ve compiled a list of 25 books for Black boys that will absolutely become a part of my “Auntie” library starting today.

Stories of our boys learning to accept themselves. Finding their place in the world. Celebrating family. Basking in love and even being silly.

Simply being children.

These are the books I wish I’d had or known about when his racial identity and social questions started to trickle into our breakfast conversations.

Let’s fill their heads with positive images of themselves, and foster their love of reading.

You know what they say: if not us, then who?

25 Children’s Books That Celebrate Amazing Black Boys

1. Black Boys: Our Hidden Treasure by Leslie Lewis

25 Books That Celebrate Our #AmazingBlackBoys nia magazine“Do you know what’s inside of your treasure chest? What you become is determined by what’s inside of you! Understanding what’s inside of you will allow you to unlock your hidden treasure. Today, believe that you are great, and your future is full of promise. Your hidden treasure is waiting to be exposed.”

2. Max and the Tag-Along Moon by Floyd Cooper

25 Books That Celebrate Our #AmazingBlackBoys nia magazine“Max loves his grandpa. When they must say good-bye after a visit, Grandpa promises Max that the moon at Grandpa’s house is the same moon that will follow him all the way home. On that swervy-curvy car ride back to his house, Max watches as the moon tags along. But when the sky darkens and the moon disappears behind clouds, he worries that it didn’t follow him home after all. Where did the moon go—and what about Grandpa’s promise?”

3. Daddy Calls Me Man by Angela Johnson

daddy calls me man “Inspired by his family experiences and his parents’ paintings, a young boy creates four poems.”

4. Peekaboo Morning by Rachel Isadora

peekaboo morning“A toddler plays a game of peekaboo, and you’re invited to play too. First there’s Mommy to find, with Daddy not far behind. Then Puppy comes peeking around the corner, and a favorite toy train brings the toddler to Grandma and Grandpa. Isadora’s brilliant, joyful pastel illustrations capture the familiar and cozy people, toys and animals that will delight babies.”

5. He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands by Kadir Nelson

hes got the whole world“What began as a spiritual has developed into one of America’s best-known songs, and now for the first time it appears as a picture book, masterfully created by award-winning artist Kadir Nelson.Through sublime landscapes and warm images of a boy and his family, Kadir has created a dazzling, intimate interpretation, one that rejoices in the connectedness of people and nature.”

6. Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down by Andrea Davis Pinkney

Sit-In How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down“This picture book is a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the momentous Woolworth’s lunch counter sit-in, when four college students staged a peaceful protest that became a defining moment in the struggle for racial equality and the growing civil rights movement.”

7. Bippity Bop Barbershop by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley

barber shop“A young boy, Miles, makes his first trip to the barbershop with his father. Like most little boys, he is afraid of the sharp scissors, the buzzing razor, and the prospect of picking a new hairstyle. But with the support of his dad, the barber, and the other men in the barbershop, Miles bravely sits through his first haircut.”

8. Not Norman: A Goldfish Story by Kelly Bennett

not norman“Norman the goldfish isn’t what this little boy had in mind. He wanted a different kind of pet — one that could run and catch, or chase string and climb trees, a soft furry pet to sleep on his bed at night. Definitely not Norman.”

9. Brothers of the Knight by Debbie Allen

bothers of the night“This modern, hip retelling of the classic tale The Twelve Dancing Princesses bursts with vibrant artwork and text that’s as energetic as the twelve toe-tapping Knight brothers themselves.”

10. The Skin You Live In by Michael Tyler

The skin you live in“With the ease and simplicity of a nursery rhyme, this lively story delivers an important message of social acceptance to young readers. Themes associated with child development and social harmony, such as friendship, acceptance, self-esteem, and diversity are promoted in simple and straightforward prose.”

11. Malcolm Little: The Boy Who Grew Up to Become Malcolm X by Ilyasah Shabazz

Malcolm Little The Boy Who Grew Up to Become Malcolm X“Malcolm X grew to be one of America’s most influential figures. But first, he was a boy named Malcolm Little. Written by his daughter, this inspiring picture book biography celebrates a vision of freedom and justice.”

12. EllRay Jakes Is Not a Chicken by Sally Warner

Ellray Jukes Is Not A Chicken“EllRay Jakes is tired of being bullied by fellow classmate Jared Matthews. But when EllRay tries to defend himself, he winds up in trouble. Then his dad offers him a deal: If he stays out of trouble for one week, they’ll go to Disneyland! EllRay says he can do it. But saying it and doing it are two very different things.”

13. You Can Do It! by Tony Dungy

yo ucan do it“Tony Dungy’s little brother, Linden, is a third grader who is having a bad day at school. Linden is the youngest of the Dungy family and the least motivated because he hasn’t found “it.” In a family where everyone seems to have found their special talent, all Linden knows is that he wants to make people happy. With encouragement from his parents, a helping hand from his older brother Tony, and inspiration from God, Linden learns that if he dreams big and has faith, he can do anything!”

14. We’re Different, We’re the Same (Sesame Street) by Bobbi Kate

wer differentJPG“The colorful characters from Sesame Street teach young children about racial harmony. Muppets, monsters, and humans compare noses, hair, and skin and realize how different we all are. But as they look further, they also discover how much we are alike.”

15. My Brother Charlie by Holly Robinson Peete

My Brother CharlieFrom bestselling author and actress Holly Robinson Peete–a heartwarming story about a boy who happens to be autistic, based on Holly’s son, who has autism.

16. Chocolate Me! by Taye Diggs

chocolate-me-book“The boy is teased for looking different than the other kids. His skin is darker, his hair curlier. He tells his mother he wishes he could be more like everyone else. And she helps him to see how beautiful he really, truly is.”

17. Full, Full, Full of Love by Trish Cooke

full-full-full-of-love“For the youngest member of an exuberant extended family, Sunday dinner at Grannie’s can be full indeed – full of hugs and kisses, full of tasty dishes, full to the brim with happy faces, and full, full, full of love. With a special focus on the bond between little Jay Jay and his grannie, Trish Cooke introduces us to a gregarious family we are sure to want more, more, more of.”

18. Marvelous Me: Inside and Out (All about Me) by Lisa Bullard

Marvelous Me Inside and Out“Alex is a marvelous little boy who is just like other people in some ways, such as getting angry sometimes, but also unique because of his special laugh, his grizzly hugs, and his own interesting thoughts.”

19. If I Ran For President by Catherine Stier

top children's books with black characters Nia magazine for black women“If you ran for President, you would have to do a lot of hard work. You would study the nation’s problems, tell the American people about your platform, select a running mate, and debate your opponents on live television.”

20. I’m Your Peanut Butter Big Brother by Selina Alko

peanut butter“In this delightfully engaging picture book, our narrator, big brother, uses his boundless imagination to wonder what his new sibling will look like.”

21. My Name is Judah by Pamela Denise Mack

judahJPG“This is a delightful story about a little boy with a unique name. Judah meets three new friends and shares the secret of his unique name. Judah and his new friends Suzie, Jorge, and Tom share a fun-filled day together.”

22. Yesterday I Had the Blues by Jeron Ashford Frame

yesterday i had the blues“Ever had the blues? Yesterday one boy had them bad–not just the ordinary blues, the “deep down in my shoes” blues, the “go away Mr. Sun quit smilin’ at me” blues. But today he’s traded in those blues for greens, the “runnin’ my hands along the hedges” greens, the kind of greens that make him want to be Somebody.”

23. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Picture Book Edition by William Kamkwamba

boy who harnessed the wind“A remarkable true story about human inventiveness and its power to overcome crippling adversity. It will inspire anyone who doubts the power of one individual’s ability to change his community and better the lives of those around him.”

24. How Many Stars in the Sky? by Lenny Hort

how many stars“Mama’s away one night, and her son can’t sleep. He tries to relax by counting stars, but the more of them he sees, the more determined he is to count every single one. Then the boy finds that Daddy can’t sleep either. Together, the two of them set off on an unforgettable all-night journey of discovery.”

25. End Zone by Tiki Barber and Ronde Barber

end zone“From real-life NFL superstar brothers Tiki and Ronde Barber, this is an inspiring story of teamwork and triumph.”

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