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!
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Children’s Books about Natural Hair
Hair Love has gained a lot of much-deserved attention, as it highlights the heart-warming relationship between a father and daughter.
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!)
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.
My Curly Perfection is a story about a young girl struggling to accept her curls. This book aims to empower children with natural hair.
Afros, Braids, & Curls is a beautifully-illustrated, rhyming alphabet book promoting love for different natural hairstyles.
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.
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.
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.
I Love my Happy Hair! is a story about a girl navigating the love for her natural hair amidst negative and hurtful comments.
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!
Happy to be Nappy is a lyrical board book with beautifully unique illustrations, and was nominated for an NAACP Image Award.
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!
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!
Picture Books Featuring Black Characters on Adventures
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!
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.
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!
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).
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
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.
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.
Ava Learned to Sparkle is geared towards elementary school children, and designed to help teach them self-confidence.
Just like the name declares, this book hopes to help little black girls understand that they are enough.
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.
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.
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.
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!
And finally, please share this post with your friends and family; representation matters!
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