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Reading to young children is not only a great way to bond, it’s a tried and true way to set them up for academic success in the future. So I made a point of trying to instill a love of reading in my kids at an early age, before they discovered the wonders of video games and the Internet.
If you’re looking for some new titles to work into your bedtime story routine, I’ve rounded up a list of amazing picture books that are perfect for kids aged 4-8. The good news is there are way too many amazing children’s books by Black authors to mention here. These are just a few of the titles my family loves. Got a favorite you think I missed? Let me know in the comments.
“Just Us Women” by Jeanette Caines
Published in 1984, Jeanette Caines’ “Just Us Women” was one of my favorite books as a child, which is why I couldn’t wait to share it with my little ones. This beautifully illustrated picture book tells the story of a young Black girl who Is going on a road trip with her favorite Aunt Martha, where rule number one is, no boys allowed. This heartwarming story emphasizes the importance of maintaining traditions and celebrating the power of Black girl magic.
“I Am Loved” by Nikki Giovanni
In “I Am Loved,” illustrator Ashley Bryan brings the poetry of the great Nikki Giovanni to life with vibrant and colorful images geared toward young readers. The perfect bedtime story for your little ones, this book is a beautiful reminder to kids that they are loved.
“One Love” by Cedella Marley
Cedella Marley is the oldest child of music legend, Bob Marley. And she brings the joyful spirit of one of his classic songs to the littlest readers in her picture book, “One Love.” The colorful illustrations celebrate diversity and love, everything Bob Marley was all about.
“Peeny Butter Fudge” by Toni Morrison and Slade Morrison
“Peeny Butter Fudge” is a collaboration between award-winning author Toni Morrison and her son, Slade. In this adorable picture book, a group of kids spend time with their grandmother and have all sorts of fun singing, dancing and playing doctor. But their favorite part of their quality time is making her delicious peeny butter fudge. Young kids will love the fun rhyme scheme and the recipe for peeny butter fudge you can try at home.
“Don’t Let Auntie Mabel Bless The Table” by Vanessa Newton
We’ve all been there, waiting to dig into a delicious meal when one of your long winded relatives is charged with blessing the food. In “Don’t Let Auntie Mabel Bless The Table,” everyone is gathered for Sunday dinner and ready to eat, but once Auntie Mabel starts her blessing, she just won’t stop.
“My Brother Charlie” by Holly Robinson Peete
“My Brother Charlie” is a beautiful picture book from actress Holly Robinson Peete and her daughter Ryan. The book is written from the perspective of a young girl, whose younger brother has autism and explains the condition to kids on their level. The narrator lets readers know about all of her brother’s amazing gifts, even though he has a brain that works in a special way. This book does a great job of celebrating differences and promoting understanding.
“Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters” by John Steptoe
Award-winning author and illustrator, John Steptoe gives the classic story of Cinderella an Afrocentric twist with “Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters.” King Mufaro has to decide which of his daughters will eventually become queen. But will he choose kind-hearted Nyasha or Manyara, his daughter who is selfish and rude behind his back?