Growing up as a little black girl, I had access to very few books featuring black kids (or children of color in general), but times are changing. Now, there are a lot more books holding up a mirror to marginalized kids, encouraging them to celebrate their natural hair, and to practice self-love.
Here’s a list of picture books that black kids can see themselves in! (And it is by no-means all-encompassing).
Some of these stories are right on the nose, addressing self-love head-on. Some simply feature black characters with natural hair styles, going on adventures! (Something I always yearned for as a kid).
These books are a mix of indie and traditionally published books, so get on out there, support authors working to fill the void, and help kids see themselves in print!
Related: Part 2: 33 MORE Books for little black girls and boys!
*This post contains affiliate links. This means, at no additional cost to you, if you click them and make a purchase, I may make a small commission (which helps support the growth of this blog).*
Children’s Books about Natural Hair
1. Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry, Illustrated by Vashti Harrison
Hair Love has gained a lot of much-deserved attention, as it highlights the heart-warming relationship between a father and daughter.
2. Hair Like Mine by LaTashia M. Perry, Illustrated by Bea Jackson
Hair Like Mine is the story of a little girl who doesn’t like her curly natural hair. As she searches for someone with hair like hers, she realizes we are all unique and special in our own way. (Details on Perry’s second book below!)
3. My Hair by Hannah Lee, Illustrated by Allen Fatimaharan
My Hair tells the story of a little girl getting ready for her birthday celebration. As she considers how she should style her hair for the big event, we get to see the beauty in a variety of Natural Hair Styles.
4. My Curly Perfection by Chelsetia Davis, Illustrated by Mariel Garcia
My Curly Perfection is a story about a young girl struggling to accept her curls. This book aims to empower children with natural hair.
5. Afros, Braids, & Curls ABCs For Curly Girls by Daniela J. Lopez & Christen A. Whyte
Afros, Braids, & Curls is a beautifully-illustrated, rhyming alphabet book promoting love for different natural hairstyles.
6. Emi’s Curly, Coily, Cotton Candy Hair by Tina Olajide, Illustrated by Courtney Bernard
Emi’s Curly, Coily, Cotton Candy Hair is about a little girl with a BIG imagination. Emi shares the things she loves about her natural hair, and the book shares some fun and memorable hair-care tips.
7. I Love my Hair! by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley, Illustrated by E. B. Lewis
I Love my Hair! teaches young readers to do exactly what the title proclaims! It encourages self-love, and to appreciate the uniqueness of natural hair.
8. Love Your Hair! by Phoenyx Austin, M.D.
Love Your Hair! is a children’s book follow-up to the natural hair care book: If You Love It, It Will Grow. Filled with positive imagery and fun-rhymes, it takes children on a journey of self-love!
9. Zozo Afro by Chuze Baba, Illustrated by Julia Pelikhovich
Zozo Afro, The boy who is very proud of his afro hair, is a fresh change. It’s a natural hair appreciation story featuring a young black boy. It’s about a boy who brings his wooden comb to school for show and tell, sharing his pride in his hair and his family history.
10. I Love my Happy Hair! by Dr. Linda J.M. Holloway, Illustrated by Ryan Battle
I Love my Happy Hair! is a story about a girl navigating the love for her natural hair amidst negative and hurtful comments.
11. Big Hair, Don’t Care! by Crystal Swain-Bates
Big Hair, Don’t Care! is another one that hooked me on the title alone. As a kid, I wanted to do as much as possible to make my hair lie flat–to make it less big. So this story, about a little girl loving her big, big hair, would have been exactly what I needed!
12. Happy to be Nappy by Bell Hooks and Chris Raschka
Happy to be Nappy is a lyrical board book with beautifully unique illustrations, and was nominated for an NAACP Image Award.
13. The Curly Hair Club by Saccheen Laing
The Curly Hair Club is the story of a little girl struggling accept her hair. Not only does she overcome her struggle, but she teaches others to love their curls too!
14. Don’t Touch My Hair! by Sharee Miller
Don’t Touch my Hair! because of the title alone, has a soft spot in my heart. It teaches kids that they don’t have to be a petting zoo animal, and that it’s okay to enforce your personal space. That’s something I didn’t learn until my twenties!
16. Love Thy Fro by Casey Elisha
Love thy Fro has a simple message: Love your hair! It aims to teach little girls the importance of loving their curls. In the UK, there is also a musical adaptation of the book!
Picture Books Featuring Black Characters on Adventures
15. The Magic of Bailey B. by Brooke Ennis, Illustrated by Antonella Cammarano
The Magic of Bailey B. is a fun story of a little girl with a creative mind. Read along as she brings her dramatic play to life! I love that her natural hair is styled in braids on the cover!
16. Muhiima’s Quest by Rahma Rodaah, Illustrated by Daria Horb
In Muhiima’s Quest, Muhiima wakes up on her 10th birthday with an unusual surprise. Her mother gives her a map, and sends her on a quest through town.
17. Simone Visits the Museum by Kelsi Bracmort, Illustrated by Takeia Marie
In Simone Visits the Museum, Simone visits the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. When she loses something she values, she learns about the importance of paying attention to surroundings, responsibility, and family. I love the braided hairstyle on the cover!
18. I’m a Pretty Princess by Crystal Swain-Baits
I’m a Pretty Princess is all I think I wanted as a young girl–a story featuring a little black girl who happens to be a princess. (With some good life-lessons speckled in).
19. I Dream of Being by The Wright Family
I Dream of Being is the story of two little black kids who go off to explore the galaxy! Journey with them and discover what they dream to be!
Other books to inspire black kids and teach them self-love
21 & 22. I Am Enough and I Believe I Can by Grace Byers, Illustrated by Keturah A. Bobo
Both I Am Enough and I Believe I can are affirmation stories, encouraging little kids to love themselves, and believe in themselves.
23. Sulwe by Lupita Nyong’o, Illustrated by Vashti Harrison
Sulwe is the story of a little black girl with skin the color of midnight, who wishes to be brighter–lighter–just like her mother and sister. But a magical journey opens her eyes and changes everything.
24. Skin Like Mine by Latashia M. Perry , Illustrated by Bea Jackson
Skin Like Mine is another book from Perry and Jackson, this one encouraging children of color to love the skin they’re in, and celebrate the diversity around them.
25. Ava Learned to Sparkle by Stephany Jean
Ava Learned to Sparkle is geared towards elementary school children, and designed to help teach them self-confidence.
26. This Little Black Girl – I am Enough by Shontae Smith, Illustrated by Cameron Wilso
Just like the name declares, this book hopes to help little black girls understand that they are enough.
27. Little Leaders – Bold Women In Black History by Vashti Harrison
Little Leaders – Bold Women in Black History is fun, educational, and beautifully illustrated. It shines light on the stories of forty black women in history. Written with children in mind, but brilliant for all ages.
28. Parker Looks Up – An Extraordinary Moment by Parker Curry & Jessica Curry, Illustrated by Brittany Jackson
Parker Looks Up is inspired by Amy Sherald’s portrait of First Lady Michelle Obama at the National Portrait Gallery. The story of a little girl visiting a museum, who looks up to see the aforementioned portrait, and is mesmerized by what she sees.
29. The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson, Illustrated by Rafael López
The Day You Begin is a realistic, but tender story that helps prepare young children for their first day of school. It talks about what could happen if they enter a room, and no one there looks like them.
30. The Night is Yours by Abdul-Razak Zacariah, Illustrated by Keturah A. Bobo
The Night is Yours is a story of self-confidence, told through the tale of a little girl playing hide and seek after nightfall.
Bonus: Natural Hair Coloring Books for Black Kids (and Adults)
Finished this list? Hop on over to Part 2: 33 MORE Books for little black girls and boys!
Have you read any of these books for and featuring black characters? Let’s help each other out; share your favorites! And this is by no means all there is out there, so please, add your recommendations below in the comments! We want to see what books are out there for kids with Natural Hair! These are the books I wish for all little black girls to have!
*Special thanks to Rabia Shay and Janna Noelle for some of these recommendations!*
And finally, please share this post with your friends and family; representation matters!
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Great post! Please consider checking out “Beyond Color” , a book encouraging love and respect for all races and skin color. Available at Amazon. https://amzn.to/3cw806R
Hello! I send you a comments at Instagram. Do you know the title of this girl’s book? https://twitter.com/gabicoelho/status/1229049901813764106
Please also check out, The Mindfulness Room. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0578533812/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Follow My’Angel’s journey as she learns how to feel sad sometimes and still find her smile again. Walk like a dinosaur, breathe like a chicken, be still, and listen to your body. All children can benefit from adding these basic mindfulness skills to their wellness toolkit. The Mindfulness Room is a beautifully illustrated and fun family read, a touching story, perfect for teaching kids how to meditate and introducing them to mindfulness strategies that can help them manage their bodies, breath, and emotions.
Here are a couple more! Hair, It’s a Family Affair https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/mylo-freeman/hair-its-a-family-affair/ and Mira’s Curly Hair: http://blogs.slj.com/afuse8production/2019/01/04/cover-reveal-miras-curly-hair-by-maryam-al-serkal-ill-luciani-rebeca/
Thanks for the great post!
I recommend Loving Me, Loving Me Naturally https://www.lmlmnaturally.com/
Love seeing all of these books in one place. I look forward to reading, collecting and sharing each one!
I love seeing all of these books. I’m glad to see more of our image in children’s books. Please check out my newly published book called “Jasmine hates wash hair days ” by Caroline Reme. https://m.barnesandnoble.com/w/jasmine-hates-wash-hair-days-caroline-reme/1128896262?ean=9780996461504
I recommend the Loving Me Series of books by Angelot Ndongmo. https://lovingmeseries.com
These all look great! If your looking for more, we LOVE “Penny and the Magic Puffballs”
These books are Awesome. Check out Christine’s Big Hair Adventures http://www.Christinesbighairadventures.com
My favorite book was I Like Myself by Karen Beaumont! I still have my childhood copy ❤️
This is a lovely collection. Woud you consider My Hair Is A Garden by Cozbi A. Cabrera?
Thank you for this! I’m looking at a part 2, because I’ve had so many lovely recommendations!
My new coloring book for black and brown girls everywhere with encouraging words from A-Z! It depicts our girls beautifully from their hair texture to their skin complexion! #BlackGirlMagic! 🖍📚👸🏽💫https://www.amazon.com/dp/109752213X/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_aiAbDbPG1JX0R
Love this post! Well done.xox