Black Joy Booklist for Children and Young Adults


Written by Alia Jones, Senior Library Services Assistant, Downtown Main Library 

Hey Black Child
Do you know who you are
Who you really are
Do you know you can be
What you want to be
If you try to be
What you can be

-- “Hey Black Child” by Useni Eugene Perkins

In the midst of a global pandemic, Black people are experiencing fatigue, stress, grief, and anger at more loss of Black life. Coronavirus is hitting Black, Brown, and Native communities at devastating rates while Black and non-Black allies are protesting to remind the world that Black. Lives. Matter.

So how do we nourish Black joy? How can books be a safe space? One thing we can do during this time is to remind Black children that we see them, that we support them, and that they are loved. 

Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop speaks of “windows, mirrors & sliding glass doors” in children’s literature; it’s critical that children grow up seeing themselves reflected in the books they read, starting in infancy. I've highlighted some books in our Library collection that affirm Black childhood and encourage Black youth to dream, speak up, and get started on the path towards liberation. 

These books are available free at the Library. 

Young Children 

Hey Black Child

The Undefeated

Going Down Home With Daddy

City Shapes

Black Is A Rainbow Color

When Aidan Became A Brother


Full, Full, Full of Love

Little Melba and Her Big Trombone

We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices

Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters

Shades of Black

Mommy's Khimar

Honey, I Love

Double Bass Blues

Thirteen Ways of Looking at A Black Boy

My Hair Is A Garden

Middle Grade


The Last Last-day-of-summer

The Parker Inheritance

Piecing Me Together

So Done

Sleepover Scientist

New Kid

Hurricane Child

Young Adult

Say Her Name

Not So Pure and Simple


A Phoenix First Must Burn