African American Children’s Literature

aa kids' literature

Recently a couple of co-teachers and I were searching through a popular book club brochure for literature featuring African American male protagonists. We found none. And that got me thinking. I would like to have a list of children’s literature with African American main characters to reference. I decided to ask a teacher friend from my hometown who I thought would have some ideas. She opened the question up to her Facebook following and received many great resources and recommendations (Thanks Raegan and friends!). I compiled the responses and did a little research to generate the list below.

  • If you click on the title it will take you to a summary from
  • I also posted an approximate grade level according to
  • They are broken into 3 categories: picture books, series books, and chapter books.
  • Finally, there are some resources for you to explore.

When it comes time for you to check out some books at the library, bring up this post and try one out. I’d love to hear your reviews and responses. If you  have a recommendation, please add it in the comments section and I can update the post as I get more suggestions.

Enjoy reading with your children during African American History Month!


So Much! by Trish Cooke. Approximate grade level: K-3

so much!

Charlie Parker Played Be Bop by Chris Raschka. Approximate grade level: K-3

charlie parker played be-bop

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. Approximate grade level: K-3

the snowy day

The Fortune-Tellers by Lloyd Alexander. Approximate grade level: K-3

the fortune-tellers

Ben’s Trumpet by Rachel Isadora. Approximate grade level: K-3

ben's trumpet


The Stories Julian Tells by Ann Cameron. Approximate grade level: K-3

This is one in a series of stories about Julian- you can find many more!

the stories julian tells

Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman. Approximate grade level: K-3

Another series with beautiful illustrations!

amazing grace

Akimbo and the Baboons by Alexander McCall Smith.  Approximate grade level: K-3

A fun series to follow!

akimbo and the baboons

The No. 1 Car Spotter by Atinuke. Approximate grade level: K-3

This series sounds very intriguing- going to check it out soon!

no. 1 car spotter


White Water by Michael S. Bandy and Eric Stein. Approximate grade level: K-3

white water

Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis. Approximate grade level: 4-8

bud, not buddy

The Watsons Go to Birmingham- 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis. Approximate grade level: 4-8

the watsons go to birmingham- 1963

Sounder by William H. Armstrong. Approximate grade level: 4-8


A Wave in Her Pocket: Stories from Trinidad by Lynn Joseph. Approximate grade level: 4-6

a wave in her pocket

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor. Approximate grade level: 4-8

roll of thunder


Click on the images below to check out some websites with more literature.

marcus bookstore

the brown bookshelf

2 thoughts on “African American Children’s Literature

  1. I also recommend what Mosquitos Buzz in People’s Ears, Abiyoyo, Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain, And Mufaros Beautiful Daughters. Also The Drinking Gourd.

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