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Recommended: Children’s Books With Diverse Representation of Black Female Characters

by in Identity on 30th September, 2019

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.

Everyone knows that books transmit values. It is therefore extremely important for black children to see themselves in their favourite books.

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!

Emi’s Curly, coils, cotton candy hair

Emi is a creative 7-year-old girl with a BIG imagination.

Lovely book with stunning illustrations, describing the basic process of looking after natural hair. Emi shares a positive message about her Curly, Coily, Cotton Candy Hair and what she likes most about it. My eldest absolutely loved this book and can really relate to the process of hair care, in fact, it reduced her to tears and noise whilst getting her hair done! A great book promoting self-love and being proud of their natural hair.

Love Thy Fro

Your hair is special and it’s part of who you are, no matter the length or curl or color, you’ll always be a star.

Love Thy Fro is about a young girl named Kemi who absolutely loves her beautiful, big, curly afro hair! A simple book with a simple message, the book aims to teach girls the importance of loving themselves and embracing their natural hair.

My Curly Hair

They were worn by Kings and Queens. They were worn by doctors and teachers. They were worn by builders and painters. A cute book with a little girl named Sky as the main character who learns about the origins of cornrows which is a particular hairstyle.

Sleep well Siba & Saba

Beautifully written and illustrated book which depicts the Ugandan culture. A story of two sisters that share a close bond with a universal theme of dreaming big. It allows children to begin thinking about gratitude and looking forward to what the future holds. Appropriate for all ages.

Little People, Big Dreams

Discover the lives of outstanding people, from designers and artists to scientists. All of them achieved incredible things, yet each began life as a child with a dream.

Gorgeous series of books, packed with relatively easy to read information and facts at the back of the book. The entire series covers many inspiring figures over the years and is educational and inspiring, we aim to collect the entire set! Empowering little books every child should read add these to your bookshelves and get your kiddos ready for story time!

Nurturing Nusaybah

Nurturing Nusaybah

I am a mother of two young children, and a home educator. Reading is my passion, some may consider our home a library between myself, my husband and the two little people in our household books fill every wall! I hope to continue to share my motherhood and homeschooling journey, along with ramblings with you all. Usually armed with a cold cup of tea that needs to be reheated for the 5th time, after all what else is motherhood?