Spotlighting Black Authors and Illustrators

picture books by Black authors illustrators 1 1

Have you seen this image floating around social media or online? It is incredibly eye-opening. Students in classrooms and homes all around the world are often reading books with white characters. When you think about what our world looks like, this is not an accurate representation of our global society. That means that children are not seeing themselves represented in the books they are reading.

One of my goals as an educator and mom has been to diversify our library. I want my kids to see themselves when they are reading. I want them to look at a book and think, “OHHHHH THIS CHARACTER LOOKS LIKE ME!” I also want them to see characters from different cultures and backgrounds.

Growing our library this way has not happened overnight. It is something that will always be a work in progress.

Diversity in Books 1

With that being said, I want to spotlight Black authors and illustrators that my children absolutely adore. Their books have brought so much vibrance to our library. {You can find Part 2 to this Blog Post by clicking HERE}

Oge Mora

Oge Mora’s books are bright, inspiring, and full of life. Mora graduated from The Rhode Island School of Design. She loves all things colorful, patterned, and collaged. She is the author and illustrator of her books.

Author Oge Mora scaled

Saturday / The Oldest Student / Thank You, Omu!

Christian Robinson

Christian Robinson is one of my favorite illustrators, but he is also an author! His newest book, You Matter, just came out this summer. Robinson is not only an author and illustrator, but he is also an animator. He has worked with The Sesame Street Workship and Pixar!

Creator Christian Robinson scaled

Last Stop on Market Street / You Matter / Harlem’s Little Blackbird / Carmela Full of Wishes / Josephine / The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade / Gaston / School’s First Day of School / Antoinette

Derrick Barnes

Did you know that before Derrick Barnes became an author of his own books, he wrote Hallmark Card lines. He was the first African American male staff writer for the company.

Author Derrick Barnes scaled

Crown / Baseball Amazing True Stories / The King of Kindergarten

Jacqueline Woodson

Each Kindness is one of my favorite books. It is so impactful (especially in the classroom). Jacqueline Woodson is an incredibly talented author. She has her books memorized so that she doesn’t have to carry them around everywhere she goes!

Author Jacqueline Woodson scaled

Each Kindness / The Day You Begin / The Other Side

Kadir Nelson

Talk about talented! Kadir Nelson has won an incredible amount of awards. His achievements are through the roof! He is the recipient of the 2020 Caldecott Medal. He has also designed many of the US postage stamps!

Creator Kadir Nelson 1 scaled
Books by black authors part 1

I Have a Dream / He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands / Salt in His Shoes / Nelson Mandela / Henry’s Freedom Box / Moses / The Undefeated / Mama Miti / Abraham Lincoln

I hope that you found some new books to add to your classroom or home library! For Part Two click HERE!

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Hi, I'm Amy

Hey, y’all! My name is Amy Lemons and I am passionate about providing students with both engaging and effective standards-based Math and ELA lessons.


Sample a day of Rooted in Reading with these lesson plans and activities for Reading Comprehension, Vocabulary, and Grammar!

2 Responses

  1. I started following your blog (steppingintosecond) 5 years ago when I started teaching 2nd grade. I have always loved your creative ways of teaching, but because of your social media platforms and Rooted in Reading programs for 2nd and 3rd I feel my library has more diversity to it than if I never found your resources. So for that I thank you! Thank you for continuing to share your finds and resources.