The very best books celebrating African American culture and values, by African American authors and/or illustrators, from 1970 to the present.

2019

The Stuff of Stars

by Bauer, Marion Dane
Call Number: xz folio
2018

Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets

by Alexander, Kwame
Call Number: x 811 A376

Presents a collection of twenty poems written in tribute to well-known poets from around the world.

 
2017

Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat

by Steptoe, Javaka
Call Number: x 92 B316St

Author and Illustrator Javaka Steptoe paints brightly colored scenes of Basquiat’s life and artistic career on textured pieces of wood.  This book won the Caldecott medal in 2017 and combines an artist’s biography with the message to children that they can create art based from their own stories and life experiences.  

 
2016

Trombone Shorty

by Andrews, Troy
Call Number: x 92 A571
Grades K - 4
 
Hailing from the Tremé neighborhood in New Orleans, Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews got his nickname by wielding a trombone twice as long as he was high. A prodigy, he was leading his own band by age six, and today this Grammy-nominated artist headlines the legendary New Orleans Jazz Fest.
 
2015

Firebird: Ballerina Misty Copeland Shows a Young Girl How to Dance Like the Firebird

by Copeland, Misty.
Call Number: xz

(Gr. K-2)  American Ballet Theater soloist Misty Copeland encourages a young ballet student, with brown skin like her own, by telling her that she, too, had to learn basic steps and how to be graceful when she was starting out, and that someday, with practice and dedication, the little girl will become a firebird, too. Includes author's note about dancers who led her to find her voice.

2014

Knock Knock: My Dad's Dream For Me

by Beaty, Daniel.
Call Number: xz
2013

I, Too, Am America

by Hughes, Langston
Call Number: x 811 H893-7
2012

Underground

by Evans, Shane.
Call Number: xz

Grades K - 3

A family uses the Underground Railroad to escape slavery. Sparsely worded but powerful.

2011

Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave

by Hill, Laban Carrick.
Call Number: xz

Grades K - 4

Chronicles the life of Dave, a nineteenth-century slave who went on to become influential poet, artist, and potter.Gorgeous illustrations by Bryan Collier, including one fold-out page.
2010

My People

by Hughes, Langston, 1902-1967.
Call Number: x 811 H893-6
2009

The Blacker the Berry...

by Thurman, Wallace, 1902-1934.
Call Number: Ed.a
2007

Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom

by Weatherford, Carole Boston, 1956-
Call Number: x 92 T885We
2006

Rosa

by Giovanni, Nikki.
Call Number: x 323.1 G512

Gr. 3-5. Sometimes the smallest act galvanizes people into decisive action. In this case, it was a woman refusing to give up her seat on a bus and a bus boycott that lasted nearly a year before the Supreme Court ruled that segregation on buses was illegal. Includes one fold-out spread. A handsomely illustrated look at a watershed event.

2005

Ellington Was Not a Street

by Shange, Ntozake.
Call Number: x 811 S528 folio

Gr. 3 and up. Shange's poem "Mood Indigo" pays tribute to several African American men who made important contributions to 20th century culture: Paul Robeson, W.E.B. DuBois, Ray Barretto, Dizzy Gillespie, "Sonny Til" Tilghman, Kwame Nkrumah, and Duke Ellington. Includes brief biographies of each.

2004

Beautiful Blackbird

by Bryan, Ashley.
Call Number: x 398 B915-10
2003

Talkin' About Bessie: The Story of Aviator Elizabeth Coleman

by Grimes, Nikki.
Call Number: x 92 C692Gr folio
2002

Goin' Someplace Special

by McKissack, Pat, 1944-
Call Number: xz

Gr. 3-5. In segregated 1950s Nashville, TN, a young African American girl braves a series of obstacles to get to the public library, one of the few integrated places in the town.

2001

Uptown

by Collier, Bryan.
Call Number: xz
2000

In the Time of the Drums

by Siegelson, Kim L.
Call Number: xz
1999

I See the Rhythm

by Igus, Toyomi.
Call Number: x 789 I24
1997

Minty: A Story of Young Harriet Tubman

by Schroeder, Alan.
Call Number: x 92 T885Sc
1996

The Middle Passage: White Ships/Black Cargo

by Feelings, Tom.
Call Number: x 709 F295-1
1995

The Creation

by Johnson, James Weldon, 1871-1938.
Call Number: x 811 J67Ra
1994

Soul Looks Back in Wonder

by
Call Number: x 811.08 S7225
1993

The Origin of Life on Earth: An African Creation Myth

by Anderson, David A., 1930-
Call Number: x 398 A546
1992

Night on Neighborhood Street

by Greenfield, Eloise.
Call Number: x 811 G812-4 1996
1991

Aida

by Price, Leontyne.
Call Number: x 782 V484Pr 1997
1990

Nathaniel Talking

by Greenfield, Eloise.
Call Number: x 811 G812-3
1989

Mirandy and Brother Wind

by McKissack, Pat, 1944-2017.
Call Number: xz
1988

Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale

by Steptoe, John, 1950-1989.
Call Number: x 398 S837-1
1987

Half a Moon and One Whole Star

by Dragonwagon, Crescent.
Call Number: xz
1986

The Patchwork Quilt

by Flournoy, Valerie, 1952-
Call Number: xz
1984

My Mama Needs Me

by Walter, Mildred Pitts.
Call Number: xz
1983

Black Child

by Magubane, Peter.
Call Number: 301.45096 M213
1982

Mother Crocodile = Maman-Caiman

by Diop, Birago.
Call Number: x 398 D593 1981
1981

Beat the Story-Drum, Pum-Pum

by Bryan, Ashley.
Call Number: x 398 B915-7 1987a
1980

Cornrows

by Yarbrough, Camille.
Call Number: x Ed.a
1979

Something on My Mind

by Feelings, Tom.
Call Number: x 811 G862
1978

Africa Dream

by Greenfield, Eloise.
Call Number: xz Ed.a
1974

Ray Charles

by Mathis, Sharon Bell.
Call Number: x 92 C476Ma 2001