We recently spoke to Maryam from the Instagram page Nurturing Nusaybah about the importance of exposing young children to books with black characters. She shared her recommendations and books they love so we’ve shared with you! Finding children books for kids that have black children as their main characters can be extremely difficult.
There is a lack of visibility of black and brown kids in the world of children’s books. Don’t believe me well spend a few minutes in the children’s section of a library and see how long it takes you to pick up a book with a black child as the main character.
For young children who are still in the process of figuring out who they are, and who they want to be is just as important to read stories about characters they can relate too. It reaffirms their identity and when you are young you want to read books about people that look like you!
Books about black girls as the main characters provide examples of what she could aspire to become, helping to visualise a pathway to success. Unfortunately, mainstream society and culture as it stands does not construct a healthy or positive image for younger black girls. Black girls are constantly bombarded with what society deems as ‘good hair’ or the perfect skin colour. As a parent to two mixed race young girls, I have felt I have to protect my children from the societal messages that tell them they are not smart, good enough or simply valuable enough as other kids simply because they are black.
I hope to build up my daughters to be creative, resilient, confident, beautiful and self-loving inshaa Allah! We can raise smart, confident girls who know they are beautiful. It is perfectly fine to find beauty in other backgrounds but I wish for my girls to love themselves first.
One way I aim to do this is by surrounding them with examples of black people that have achieved, particularly women. Books that are empowering and help promote a positive self-image.
Below are a list of some of the books we enjoy and feel celebrate the intelligence, beauty, success and uniqueness of black girls and women.
Meet the little leadersThey’re brave. They’re bold. They changed the world.
A must-have book for every child’s library! Beautiful illustrations, historically accurate and packed with enough information and not too detailed. It includes inspirational figures such as Rosa parks, Audre Lorde and Dr Mae Jemison. Empowering and educational book for black girls of all ages. A great reminder that they come from confident, resilient and creative people. which they are destined to become inshaa Allah!