Books for Toddlers and Babies with Black Main Characters
Books for Toddlers and Babies with Black Main Characters
It can be hard to find high-interest baby and toddlers books featuring black main characters. I’ve compiled a list for you, and I’m donating my earnings from any purchases to Color of Change.
*This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through a link, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you. All commission will be donated to Color of Change. Thank you for supporting change.*
As a former teacher and interventionist, I worked hard to make sure all of my students had access to books in my classroom that represented their lives and experiences. And even though I’ve left the classroom for the time being, I’ve held onto many of those books.
But I taught 2nd grade, so most of my books with black characters are ‘older-kid’ picture books. And I’ve been seeing a lot of great lists of books with black characters, both fiction and nonfiction. But most of those books are aimed at school age kids. The Conscious Kid and The Every Mom – both on Instagram – have some great book lists, and I highly recommend you check them out if your kids are school age.
When I looked through our books lately, I have a lot of books to share with Camden in the next few years. But right now? Only one of his board books and a few of his early picture books feature a black child as the main character.
Research shows that toddlers notice race and different skin color. If they can notice it in the real world, they can notice it in books. And while babies may not specifically notice race, they do notice what is in pictures in their books. So I think it’s important to find board books and early picture books that represent all different races and life experiences. If we make it normal for kids to see diversity in their books from the time they’re born, then it will lead us to have conversations about differences, similarities and anti-racism much easier and earlier.
I wanted to share some of the books I’ve added to my son’s library. These are all high-interest books that babies and toddlers will love.
**The book links are affiliate links. All proceeds from any book you purchase will be donated to Color of Change, a fantastic organization that works to end injustice that holds black people back.**
These books tend to be very early books with simple language and only a few words per page. Many of the featured series have more books with babies of other races, but I’m just focusing on the books with black main characters in this blog post!
Baby Loves Gravity! by Ruth Spiro
This book teaches your child the early science behind gravity – and there’s a short activity guide to help you and your child experiment with gravity.
Baby Loves Aerospace Engineering! by Ruth Spiro
In the same series as Baby Loves Gravity, this one has simple text to teach about aerospace dynamics and propulsion.
Baby Loves Coding! by Ruth Spiro
This one is a little more in depth, with more words on each page. But coding is becoming so important as a skill for kids to learn, so an early introduction is great! I’m putting it in the early category because the character is called ‘baby’ but the book may be better for littles closer to 2.
The Future Baby series features babies learning about the different careers they could have, with simple language and bright, engaging pictures.
Future Engineer by Lori Alexander
Future President by Lori Alexander
Future Astronaut by Lori Alexander
Peekaboo Morning by Rachel Isadora
Peekaboo Bedtime by Rachel Isadora
Both of these books follow a toddler through his morning and nighttime routines, naming everything he sees, such as ‘mommy’ or ‘daddy’ or ‘puppy.’ These are great when your child is a pre-talker or early talker, because it puts words with images. Plus it’s colorful and fun!
The little baby, Leo, is the little sister of Lola (her series is featured in the older kids books below). We love Lola, and I wish I would have known about Leo when my son was tiny. The Leo and Lola books are a great way to introduce common places like the pool and the library to babies and toddlers.
Leo Loves Baby Time by Anna McQuinn
Leo Can Swim by Anna McQuinn
Leo Gets a Checkup by Anna McQuinn
Follow Your Dreams, Little One by Vashti Harrison
This is a board book based on Harrison’s book for older kids, ‘Little Legends: Exception Men in Black History. However, it simplifies the text to a couple of sentences to help introduce these extraordinary people to young children.
Dream Big, Little One by Vashti Harrison
An adorable board book is based on Harrison’s book about revolutionary women in black history.
Dream Big, Little Leader by Vashti Harrison
Think Big, Little One by Vashti Harrison
The Potty People is a series to help your toddler learn to be excited about potty training. The books feature diverse characters, and two of them specifically feature black children as main characters.
Where’s Potty? by Kimberly Hunter Harris
After Potty by Kimberly Hunter Harris
Please, Puppy, Please by Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee
Please, Baby, Please by Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee
Both of these books feature black families as the central characters, and they speak to the humor of raising both a puppy and a baby. We have the puppy one, and my son could read it every day. We’ve read it at least 4 times this week already! The simple, rhythmic language and the pictures give toddlers a chance to infer and giggle about what’s going on in each picture. In fact, I originally bought Please, Puppy, Please to help teach my 2nd graders to infer in books.
Next, Lola is the big sister of Leo from the Leo series. We love Lola, and I wish I would have known about Leo when my son was tiny. The Leo and Lola books are a great way to introduce common places like the pool and the library to babies and toddlers.
Lola Reads to Leo by Anna McQuinn
Lola Loves Stories by Anna McQuinn
Lola at the Library by Anna McQuinn
Lola Plants a Garden by Anna McQuinn
Ten, Nine, Eight by Molly Bang
This book is a sweet, calming countdown to bedtime. A dad and his daughter turn their bedtime routine into a fun countdown.
Cece Loves Science: Push and Pull by Vashti Harrison
This is an ‘I Can Read’ book in the Cece series, which means that it uses simplified texts to support early readers. It is a great introduction to the longer, more in-depth Cece series.
When God Made You by Matthew Paul Turner
I think this is the perfect book to read to your little one from the day they are born. It features a black girl as the main character, and tells the reader that, when God made you, he knew the world needed someone exactly like you!
There are a few books in the series and each one features a child of a different race. Baby Botanist features a black baby girl who loves to study and learn about her plants.
Baby Dance by Ann Taylor
I love this book because it’s a beautiful view of the bond between father and child, as he dances his baby girl around the room and they laugh together. It has a sweet, easy rhythm that makes it a fantastic bedtime read.
Who Will You Be? by Andrea Pippin
Pippin wrote a sweet love letter to her son, sharing all the wonders of his family and his community and how they contribute to the person he will grow up to be.
Max and the Tag Along Moon by Floyd Cooper
Max is sad to leave his grandpa’s house, but his grandpa tells him that the moon will follow him all the way home. So Max watches on his way home to see if the moon follows, and when he falls asleep, the moonlight shining on his bed, he thinks of his grandpa. My toddler could read this book over and over and over and never get tired of it!
If you want to see the whole Amazon list in one place, you can just head to my Amazon storefront.
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