Children's literature is so important to the development of early literacy skills. All children benefit from exposure to a variety of experiences, cultures and diverse characters; however, many black children go through life without seeing accurate representations of black people in children’s books. When we discuss children's literature we often think about the lack of diversity found amongst the characters in the books; however, we also should explore the backgrounds of the authors. Black authors have first hand experiences in black communities which naturally aids in the author’s ability to tell the stories of our community. It is important for young and mature audiences to see themselves accurately represented because after all-Representation Matters! As the holiday season approaches consider picking up a few copies of the books on this list and sharing them with the children in your life.
Lets Jump Right In:
Does Santa Look Like Me? By Ariel Young
This book is my favorite. I’m partial as I wrote this book. Sweet and affirming, Does Santa Look Like Me? is an ode to the importance of positive representation and diversity in popular characters like Santa for children. The gift of representation will empower kids of all races for years to come.
If you'd like to see me read this book alongside Santa please watch our YouTube Video
2. The Day Santa Got Sick by Deanne Samuels
The Day Santa Got Sick tells the story of what happens when a little girl elf and Mrs.Claus come up with a solution to deliver toys for Christmas after Santa gets sick. This multicultural Christmas story will bring joy to all your little ones who look for Santa during the holiday season.
3. I Got The Christmas Spirit by Connie Morrison
In the same feel-good style of I Got the Rhythm, this exuberant picture book explores the joys of the holiday season, once again illustrated by award-winning artist Frank Morrison.
4. Under the Christmas Tree by Nikki Grimes
Presented from an African-American perspective by a Coretta Scott King Award-winning author, a holiday tale provides readers with twenty-three charming poems that capture the joy and happiness of one family's Christmas celebration.
5. A Piece of Black Cake for Santa
Femi and her friends planned to leave some traditional Caribbean treats out for Santa, including Black Cake. The children shared warm wishes for their favourite dishes while enjoying winter activities at the Christmas fair.
Do you have other favorite Christmas books written by black authors featuring black characters? If so, drop a comment.