Fantastic Books for Kids by African American Authors
Posted on February 8, 2019
Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman
Grace loves stories and especially acting out stories, playing every part herself if she is alone. Sometimes she is Dr. Grace, or a pirate, or Aladdin, or a fairy tale character. When her teacher announces the class will do the play “Peter Pan,” Grace knows she wants the title role. Other students tell her she cannot play Peter because she is a girl and she is black. With the guidance of her mother and grandmother, Grace realizes she can be anything she wants to be, with hard work, determination, and belief in herself. Grace’s story inspires the reader to follow their dreams and bravely face the obstacles along the way.
“Amazing Grace” by Mary Hoffman is just one of the great books on the 101 Picture Book Challenge list.
Other books in the “Grace series” include:
More Picture Books by African American Authors:
Surf’s Up by Kwame Alexander
Bro and Dude have very different ideas about how to spend the day at the beach. But as Bro continues to gasp and cheer as he reads his book (Moby Dick), Dude can’t help but get curious. Before you can shout ‘Surf’s up!’ both frogs are sharing the same adventure.
Freight Train by Donald Crews
Brief text and illustrations trace the journey of a colorful train as it goes through tunnels, by cities, and over trestles.
Oh, Brother! by Nikki Grimes
Xavier is unhappy when his mother remarries and he suddenly has a new stepbrother, as well as a stepfather, in his home.
The People Could Fly: the Picture Book by Virginia Hamilton
In this retelling of a folktale, a group of slaves, unable to bear their sadness and starvation any longer, calls upon the African magic that allows them to fly away.
Lottie Paris Lives Here by Angela Johnson
Relates a day in the life of a little girl who lives with her Papa Pete in a house across from a park.
What a Truly Cool World! by Julius Lester
Discovering that making a world takes a lot of work, God calls on his secretary Bruce and the angel Shaniqua to help him create bushes, grass, flowers, and butterflies.
What is Given From the Heart by Pat McKissack
Despite their own poverty since Daddy died, Mama tells nine-year-old James Otis they need to help Sarah, whose family lost everything in a fire.
Jazz by Walter Dean Myers
Illustrations and rhyming text celebrate the roots of jazz music.
Be a King: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Dream and You by Carole Boston Weatherford
Presents a dual narrative of the key moments in Dr. King’s life, as a modern class learns about him and begins a school project inspired by his life and accomplishments.
The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson
Other students laugh when Rigoberto, an immigrant from Venezuela, introduces himself but later, he meets Angelina and discovers that he is not the only one who feels like an outsider.
What is the 101 Picture Book Challenge?
The 101 Picture Book Challenge is for anyone at any age. Librarians hand picked the titles on the list which includes classics, new titles and everything in between.
To get started, register online. You can track your progress online or if you prefer a paper log booklet, pick one up at your neighborhood Library. The books are organized into categories but you can read the books in any order and at your own pace. When you read all 101 titles, you earn a free picture book (while supplies last).
This is the latest in a series of blog posts exploring some of the things we love about these books.
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