These are books that teach your children to own their identity. They encourage acceptance, self love and confidence. Growing up as a child, I wasn’t familiar with words like diversity or representation, at least not in the way it is now being used. I remember the time I saw the word ‘minority’ being used while applying for a post graduate position, I was somewhat surprised, I couldn’t understand why I was asked to pick whether I was from a minority group. All my life I have identified myself as the majority, everyone around me was black. I came from Nigeria, one of the most populated countries in the world, I lived in Lagos, the second largest populated city in Africa, so I never had to worry about being different or worry about being treated differently because of my looks. Until now.
Living in the UK I see things differently now. I am more conscious about diversity and representation, (not for myself though, I am fully aware of who I am) but for my children. I want them to learn to love and accept themselves even when the rest of the world doesn’t. I don’t want them to grow up thinking they aren’t good enough because they look different. I want them to know that there’s an entire community of people like them, who love them not because of how they look but because of who they are, so I started filling up my daughters library recently with books of people that look just like her and if you are reading this, you should too. My top ten books for black toddlers in no particular order:
PHILLY AND FRIENDS- WHO DO I SEE IN THE MIRROR? by Vese Aghoghovbia Aladewolu
Ages 2 upwards
This is one of our favorite books. I can’t tell enough people about this book. It is one book that teaches children about self love, confidence and cherishing their uniqueness. I am glad we are friends with Philly, you should join the community too.
LOOK UP by Nathan Bryon
Ages 2 to 5
This is a must have in your child’s library. It is fun and exciting and we repeat it several times before bed. Rocket is a role model for both children and adults, she reminds us to look up in a world dominated by technology and enjoy the world around us. We are going to read this book for a very long time
LITTLE LEADERS : VISIONARY WOMEN AROUND THE WORLD by Vashti Harrison
This is one of those books that makes your heart swell and you feel proud of who you are. It also reminds you that you can be anything you set your heart to. Its a must read.
LITTLE LEADERS: EXCEPTIONAL BLACK MEN IN HISTORY by Vashti Harrison
This is about men who made a mark in their time in history, many of whom we have never heard of, but still we are proud to read about them today . Stories like this help our sons and daughters know that they are important and they have a purpose to fulfill.
JAMBARI JUMPS by Gaia Cornwall
This is one of the few books about black boys and their dads and all the reviews on it are great!
HAIR LOVE by Matthew Cherry
Daddys’ and their little girls; I love how this book highlights the special bond between fathers and their daughters but the center of the story is about Zuri’s hair that seems to have a mind of its own. This is one book I wish I read as a child, so I’m not going to do that to my children.
BIPPITY BOP BARBERSHOP by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley
This is a great rhyme book and it’s nice to know it focuses on boys, especially with the fact that most black books out there are directed at girls. It helps to prepare them for their experience at the barbershop.
A IS FOR ALL THE THINGS YOU ARE by Anna Forgerson Hindley
Ages 2 upwards
This is a brilliant book for all ages, every page is well thought. It celebrates the uniqueness of each child and promotes diversity.
FULL FULL OF LOVE by Trish Cooke
This is a very good book with beautiful illustrations. It is rich in culture and very family oriented.
BABY GOES TO MARKET by Atinuke
Ages 2- 5
This is an entertaining and educational book with colorful characters and features from Africa.
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