Black and Bold: Books By Black Authors featuring Black Protagonists

Book List , Kids

Octopus Stew

Title: Octopus Stew
By: Eric Velasquez
Published: 2019

Ramsey dons his superhero cape to rescue Grandma from the huge octopus she is trying to cook--or is he simply telling a story? Includes author's note on the story's origin and a recipe for Octopus stew.

Ages: 4-8 years

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The Big Bed

Title: The Big Bed
By: Bunmi Laditan
Published: 2018

A young girl tries to persuade her father that he is the one who should sleep in a special, little bed while she shares the big bed with Mommy.

Ages: 4-6 years

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Grandma's Purse

Title: Grandma's Purse
By: Vanessa Newton-Brantley
Published: 2018

When Grandma Mimi comes to visit, her granddaughter cannot wait to see what treasures she has hidden in her purse.

Ages: 3-5 years

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We Had a Picnic This Sunday Past

Title: We Had a Picnic This Sunday Past
By: Jacqueline Woodson
Published: 1997

A young girl describes her various relatives and the foods they bring to the annual family picnic.

Ages: 5-9 years

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Magic Like That

Title: Magic Like That
By: Samara Cole Brown
Published: 2021

While her mother works magic styling her hair, a young Black girl recalls how her hairstyles can reflect the natural world and show that her hair can be elegant, mischievous, or whimsical.

Ages: 5-8 years

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Bedtime Bonnet

Title: Bedtime Bonnet
By: Nancy Amanda Redd
Published: 2020

As family members braid, brush, twirl, roll, and tighten their hair before bedtime, putting on kerchiefs, wave caps, and other protective items, the little sister cannot find her bonnet.

Ages: 3-7 years

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Rocket Says Looks Up!

Title: Rocket Says Looks Up!
By: Nathan Bryon
Published: 2019

Aspiring astronaut Rocket draws her community together to see a rare appearance of the Phoenix Meteor Shower, hoping especially that her big brother, Jamal, will look up from his phone.

Ages: 3-7 years

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Raising Dragons

Title: Raising Dragons
By: Jerdine Nolen
Published: 1998

A farmer's young daughter shares numerous adventures with the dragon that she raises from infancy.

Ages: 4-8 years

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Title: Saturday
By: Oge Mora
Published: 2019

When all of their special Saturday plans go awry, Ava and her mother still find a way to appreciate one another and their time together.

Ages: 4-8 years

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Milo Imagines the World

Title: Milo Imagines the World
By: Matt de la Peña and Christain Robinson
Published: 2021

While Milo and his sister travel to a detention center to visit their incarcerated mother, he observes strangers on the subway and draws what he imagines their lives to be.

Ages: 4-8 years

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Crown: Ode to the Fresh Cut

Title: Crown: Ode to the Fresh Cut
By: Derrick Barnes
Published: 2017

This picture book celebrates the magnificent feeling that comes from walking out of a barber shop with newly-cut hair.

Ages: 3-8 years

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A Girl Like Me

Title: A Girl Like Me
By: Angela Johnson
Published: 2020

Empower young readers to embrace their individuality, reject societal limitations, and follow their dreams. This inspiring picture book brings together a poem by acclaimed author Angela Johnson and Nina Crews's distinctive photocollage illustrations to celebrate girls of color.

Ages: 5-9 years

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The Thing about Bees: A Love Letter

Title: The Thing about Bees: A Love Letter
By: Shabazz Larkin
Published: 2019

A love poem from a father to his two sons, and a tribute to the bees that pollinate the foods we love to eat.

Ages: 3-7 years

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Jayden's Impossible Garden

Title: Jayden's Impossible Garden
By: Mélina Mangal
Published: 2021

Nine-year-old Jayden loves the outdoors, but his mother is nervous about him playing in their neighborhood. With the help of his neighbor Mr. Curtis, can Jayden help Mama see that nature and beauty are all around?

Ages: 4-9 years

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Zuri Ray Tries Ballet

Title: Zuri Ray Tries Ballet
By: Tami Charles
Published: 2021

Zuri Ray loves trying extraordinary new things but when Jessie, her Best Friend From Diapers, chooses ballet Zuri Ray finds it too challenging until the teacher encourages her to be herself.

Ages: 4-8 years

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Max and the Tag Along Moon

Title: Max and the Tag Along Moon
By: Floyd Cooper
Published: 2013

When Max leaves his grandfather's house, the moon follows him all the way home, just as Grandpa promised it would.

Ages: 3-7 years

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Cool Cuts

Title: Cool Cuts
By: Mechal Renee Roe
Published: 2020

An illustrated, joyful celebration of African-American boys' hairstyles.

Ages: 3-7 years

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Happy Hair

Title: Happy Hair
By: Mechal Renee Roe
Published: 2019

A visual and rhyming celebration of African-American girls' hair.

Ages: 3-7 years

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Mommy's Khimar

Title: Mommy's Khimar
By: Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow
Published: 2018

A young Muslim girl puts on a head scarf and not only feels closer to her mother, she also imagines herself as a queen, the sun, a superhero, and more.

Ages: 4-8 years

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Hair Love

Title: Hair Love
By: Matthew Cherry
Published: 2019

A little girl's daddy steps in to help her arrange her curly, coiling, wild hair into styles that allow her to be her natural, beautiful self.

Ages: 4-8 years

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Parker Shines On: An Extrodinary Moment

Title: Parker Shines On: An Extrodinary Moment
By: Parker Curry
Published: 2021

Parker Curry wonders about what it takes to be a real ballet dancer. The first step may be opening her heart.

Ages: 4-8 years

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El violín mágico / The Magic Violin

Title: El violín mágico / The Magic Violin
By: Christine Platt
Published: 2021

Ana & Andrew are learning to play the violin! They are excited to join the youth orchestra. At first it is fun. But when they start to lose interest, Ana & Andrew learn from an important African American about the importance of practicing.

Ages: 5-8 years

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Sadiq and the Desert Star

Title: Sadiq and the Desert Star
By: Siman Nuurali
Published: 2020

Sadiq's father is going on a business trip, but before he goes he tells Sadiq a story of the Desert Star, which fits in perfectly with Sadiq's third grade class field trip to the planetarium, and inspires Sadiq to build a simple telescope to study the stars when his father returns.

Ages: 6-8 years

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Class Act

Title: Class Act
By: Kelly Starling Lyons
Published: 2019

Fourth-grader Jada's campaign for class representative leads to rumors about her fear of public speaking, the pressure to make promises she cannot keep, and conflict between friends.

Ages: 6-8 years

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How to test a friendship

Title: How to test a friendship
By: Theanne Griffith
Published: 2020

With the help of a fun, odd scientist, third graders Violet, Pablo, and Deepak embark on an adventure in the Maker Maze, a magical laboratory full of robots, an antigravity chamber, 3-D printers, and more.

Ages: 7-10 years

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Too Small Tola

Title: Too Small Tola
By: Atinuke
Published: 2020

Presents three tales of an endearing and enduring character, Tola, who lives in an apartment in the busy city of Lagos, Nigeria, with her sister, brother, and grandmommy.

Ages: 7-9 years

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Clubhouse Mysteries: The Buried Bones Mystery

Title: Clubhouse Mysteries: The Buried Bones Mystery
By: Sharon Draper
Published: 2011

After the neighborhood basketball court is vandalized, Ziggy and his friends decide to form a club called the Black Dinosaurs and build their clubhouse in Ziggy's backyard.

Ages: 7-10 years

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J.D and the Great Barber Battle

Title: J.D and the Great Barber Battle
By: J. Dillard
Published: 2021

Eight-year-old J.D. turns a tragic home haircut into a thriving barber business in this hilarious new illustrated chapter book series.

Ages: 6-8 years

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Title: Twins
By: Varian Johnson
Published: 2020

Maureen and Francine are more than sisters, they are each other’s best friends, but at the start of middle school a rift threatens to tear these two sisters apart. Can Maureen and Francine go back to the way they were or will middle school change everything forever? After all, sisters are forever.

Ages: 8-12 years

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Miles Morales. Shock waves: A Spider-Man graphic novel

Title: Miles Morales. Shock waves: A Spider-Man graphic novel
By: Justin A. Reynolds
Published: 2021

Miles Morales is a normal kid who happens to juggle school at Brooklyn Visions Academy while swinging through the streets of Brooklyn as Spider-Man. After a disastrous earthquake strikes his mother's birthplace of Puerto Rico, Miles springs into action to help set up a fundraiser for the devastated island. But when a new student's father goes missing, Miles begins to make connections between the disappearance and a giant corporation sponsoring Miles' fundraiser.

Ages: 8-12 years

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Black Boy Joy

Title: Black Boy Joy
By: Author/Editor: Kwame Mbalia
Published: 2021

From seventeen acclaimed Black male and nonbinary authors comes a vibrant collection of stories, comics, and poems about the power of joy and the wonders of Black boyhood.

Ages: 9-12 years

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Jayla Jumps In

Title: Jayla Jumps In
By: Joy Jones
Published: 2020

After learning that her mother was a Double Dutch champion, eleven-year-old Jayla forms a team hoping to stand out in her big, quirky family, and finds her life changed in ways she never imagined.

Ages: 7-11 years

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Maya and the Robot

Title: Maya and the Robot
By: Eve Ewing
Published: 2021

In desperate need of a friend--and a science project--Maya finds a robot named Ralph in Mr. Mac's convenience store, and once she gets him up and running, a new world of connection opens up.

Ages: 8 -12 years

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My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich

Title: My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich
By: Ibi Anu Zoboi
Published: 2019

Ebony-Grace Norfleet Freeman is a Trekkie from Huntsville, AL, who is spending the summer with her father in Harlem. Her love of all things Star Trek and space collides spectacularly with a newly emerging hip-hop culture and an ailing friendship. Ebony spends the summer learning new dance moves and what it means to be true to yourself.

Ages: 9-12

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The Sweetest Sound

Title: The Sweetest Sound
By: Sherri Winston
Published: 2017

Shy ten-year-old Cadence grapples with an overprotective father, a mother who's skipped town to pursue stardom, and what to do when a recording of her amazing voice leaks before she's ready to share it with the world.

Ages: 8-12 years

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The Last-Last Day of Summer

Title: The Last-Last Day of Summer
By: Lamar Giles
Published: 2019

When adventurous cousins Otto and Sheed Alston accidentally extend the last day of summer by freezing time, they find the secrets between the unmoving seconds are not as much fun as they expected.

Ages: 8-12 years

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Planet Middle School

Title: Planet Middle School
By: Nikki Grimes
Published: 2011

A series of poems describes all the baffling changes at home and at school in twelve-year-old Joylin's transition from tomboy basketball player to not-quite-girly girl.

Ages: 8-12 years

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Amari and the Night Brothers

Title: Amari and the Night Brothers
By: B.B Alston
Published: 2020

Thirteen-year-old Amari gets an invitation from her missing brother to join the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs and join in the fight against an evil magician.

Ages: 8-12 years

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The Swag is in the Socks

Title: The Swag is in the Socks
By: Kelly Baptist
Published: 2021

Xavier has never had the courage to apply to the elite after-school boy's club that his father, great-uncle, and grandfather belonged to, but his wild socks are getting him some big attention, so maybe it's time to come out of the shadows and follow in his family's footsteps. Or maybe Xavier will march down a new path altogether.

Ages: 8-12 years

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Something to Say

Title: Something to Say
By: Lisa Moore Ramée
Published: 2020

This book follows a young girl who has difficulties finding and expressing her voice and making friends. She’s comfortable being invisible and she’d rather stay that way. But she meets a new kid in her class who’s determined to be her friend and all of a sudden, she’s not so invisible anymore.

Ages: 8-12 years

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The Wall of Fame

Title: The Wall of Fame
By: Crystal Allen
Published: 2017

As she awaits the arrival of a new baby sister, Mya is cornered into a bet with her enemy that forces her to spend every night studying and enters a chili cook-off despite her limited culinary skills.

Ages: 8-12

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Jake the Fake goes for laughs

Title: Jake the Fake goes for laughs
By: Craig Robison
Published: 2019

Having discovered his natural talent for comedy at his school's end-of-semester talent show, Jake decides to pursue "his art," but can his comedian-mentor teach Jake humility as well as humor?

Ages: 9-12 years

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Mango Delight

Title: Mango Delight
By: Fracaswell Hyman
Published: 2017

When seventh-grader Mango Delight Fuller accidentally breaks her BFF Brooklyn's new cell phone, her life falls apart. She loses her friends and her spot on the track team, and even costs her father his job as a chef. But Brooklyn's planned revenge--sneakily signing up Mango to audition for the school musical--backfires when Mango not only wins the lead role, but becomes a YouTube sensation and attracts the attention of the school's queen bee, Hailey Jo. Hailey Jo is from a VERY wealthy family, and expects everyone to do her bidding. Soon Mango finds herself forced to make tough choices about the kind of friend she wants to have . . . and, just as important, the kind of friend she wants to be.

Ages: 9-13 years

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The Magic in Changing Your Stars

Title: The Magic in Changing Your Stars
By: Leah Henderson
Published: 2020

After bungling his audition to play the Scarecrow in The Wiz, fifth-grader Ailey is magically transported to 1930s Harlem where he meets his own grandfather and legendary tap dancer Bill "Bojangles" Robinson.

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 Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky

Title: Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky
By: Kwame Mbalia
Published: 2019

Seventh grader Tristan has already been battered by loss – he failed to safe his best friend Eddie from an accident. All he has left of Eddie is his notebook, so when a strange creature tries to steal it, Tristan fights back, following it into a realm of MidPass. Here, he teams up with John Henry and Brer Rabbit, among others.

Ages: 8-12 years

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Two Naomis

Title: Two Naomis
By: Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich
Published: 2016

Other than their first names, Naomi Marie and Naomi Edith are sure they have nothing in common, and they wouldn't mind keeping it that way. When Naomi Marie's mom and Naomi Edith's dad get serious about dating, each girl tries to cling to the life she knows and loves, where they might just have to find a way to work with each other--and maybe even join forces to find new ways to define family.

Ages: 8-12 years

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Serena Says

Title: Serena Says
By: Tanita Davis
Published: 2020

After her best friend, JC, has a kidney transplant, Serena feels that they are falling out of touch, especially as JC makes a new best friend in the hospital.

Ages: 7-12 years

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Ansley's Big Bake Off

Title: Ansley's Big Bake Off
By: Camryn Pitts, Kaitlyn Pitts, and Olivia Pitts
Published: 2020

After their mother's death, the four Daniels sisters make a fresh start in a new home and middle-schooler Ansley prays for guidance on which dream to pursue--gymnastics or baking.

Ages: 8-11 years

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Double Vision

Title: Double Vision
By: Tia and Tamara Mowry
Published: 2015

Cassie and Caitlyn Waters may be identical twins, but everything else about them is completely different. The only thing they can agree on is that neither of them is happy that they have to move to middle-of nowhere Aura, Texas. As the girls' birthday nears, they start experiencing strange visions--and what they see starts coming true! Caitlyn and Cassie first use this new sight for their own fun, but when they each see something serious, the twins must work together to change the future before it happens.

Ages: 8-12 years

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Dragons in a Bag

Title: Dragons in a Bag
By: Zetta Elliot
Published: 2018

In Brooklyn, nine-year-old Jax joins Ma, a curmudgeonly witch who lives in his building, on a quest to deliver three baby dragons to a magical world, and along the way discovers his true calling.

Ages: 8-12 years

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Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.

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