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Black Joy Book List
Toolkit

June 8, 2020
Toolkit

No book could have saved George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, or the countless murdered Black Americans before them. We also know that, among the many injustices that laddered up to a society that tolerates those deaths, is a world where black children get to see themselves only in sad stories — tales of trauma, hardship, adversity and overcoming. We can change this.

This will take hard, sustained work across bookshelves, classrooms and bedtime stories. If you’re looking for a place to get started, check out this list of books we love, each by a brilliant black author we admire. These are stories about family, fantasy, adventure, romance, exploration and joy. In them, we see the future our kids deserve, and the world we're committed to working towards.

Nota: This list is ordered from K to 8, with titles for the littlest ones at the top, and older students at the end. If you have specific questions about which titles are best for the kids you care about, or a title we should know about, email us here.

• The King of Kindergarten by Derrick Barnes

• Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beatty

• Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall

• Over and Under the Pond by Kate Messner

• The Patchwork Bike by Maxine Beneba Clarke

• Thank You, Omu by Oge Mora

• We Don’t Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins

• Windows by Julia Denos

• Crown, an Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes

• Little Leaders by Vashti Harrison

• Brothers and Sisters Family Poems by Eloise Greenfield

• Dear Hot Dog by Mordicai Gerstein

• Dragons in a Bag by Zetta Elliot

• Keena Ford Series by Melissa Thomson

• Miami Jackson Series by Patricia McKissack

• Preaching to the Chickens: The Story of Young John Lewis by Jabari Asim

• Uptown by Bryan Collier

• Auntie Luce’s Talking Painting by Francie Latour

• The Book Itch: Freedom, Truth, and Harlem’s Greatest Bookstore by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson

• Clayton Byrd Goes Underground by Rita Williams-Garcia

• Dyamonde Daniel Series by Nikki Grimes

• Ruby and the Booker Boys Series by Derrick Barnes

• The Season of Styx Malone by Kekla Magoon

• Trombone Shorty by Troy Andrews

• Finding Langston by Lisa Cline-Ransome

• Garvey's Choice by Nikki Grimes

• Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson

• Kinda Like Brothers by Coe Booth

• One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance by Nikki Grimes

• Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library by Carole Boston Weatherford

• The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

• Hip Hop Speaks to Children by Nikki Giovanni

• Ghost, and the rest of the Track series by Jason Reynolds

• Look Both Ways by Jason Reynolds

• Dream Keeper and Other Poems by Langston Hughes 

• The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis

• Poems by Maya Angelou

• Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

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Event Recap
December 5, 2019
The Radical Power of Books: How to Use Diverse, Engaging Stories to Set Students Free
Leaders from We Need Diverse Books, The New York Public Library, United Way of New York City, and Success Academy joined the Robertson Center to talk about the magic of an engaged, diverse reading culture in schools.
Leaders from We Need Diverse Books, The New York Public Library, United Way of New York City, and Success Academy joined the Robertson Center to talk about the magic of an engaged, diverse reading culture in schools.
Event Recap
28 de marzo de 2019
What Kids Need From Adults To Thrive
Last week, educators, parents, and community members gathered at the Robertson Center for a special conversation on supporting kids with diverse identities as they figure out who they are and who they want to be.
Last week, educators, parents, and community members gathered at the Robertson Center for a special conversation on supporting kids with diverse identities as they figure out who they are and who they want to be.