I think that we can all agree that 2020 was a rough year for all of us. We lost loved ones, we lost jobs, and we lost the ability to connect with each other in a way that I hope we never take for granted ever again. I think we can all also agree that even though it is difficult, ultimately we understand the reasoning behind keeping our distance from each other. But what about children who are not quite old enough to understand yet who are old enough to feel the effects of this pandemic? It's not easy explaining to a six-year-old why they have to wear a mask, why they can't go to school, why they can't see family, or why they can't play with their friends. But parents everywhere have had to do just that.
Young kids also don't understand the other pandemic that we have been fighting long before we even heard of COVID-19 and that is racial injustice. Every day I hear of parents having to explain racism to their young black and brown kids and honestly it breaks my heart.
So, while children everywhere still have to deal with COVID-19 a little longer and kids are still watching adults fight the good fight against racism, it's equally important that our black and brown kids still feel and experience joy. As parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and teachers, it is our job to encourage that joy any chance we get. One of my favorite ways to experience joy as a young child was by reading. It was and still is a beautiful escape. Not to mention reading encourages the one thing that our black and brown children need, and that is more joy. Below are seven children's books that encourage black joy.
‘Our 1st Protest’ by London Carter Williams
London, an eleven-year-old girl, attended a protest with her mom and younger sister and decided to write a book about her experience. Yes, you read that right eleven-year-old London is the author of this amazing book. In this book, London takes readers inside her first protest as she and her family march for equal rights.
‘Stay This Way Forever’ by Linsey Davis
This book was created by Linsey Davis so that children everywhere will know just how special they are. Stay This Way Forever is a book that inspires young children to celebrate their own special and unique qualities.
‘The Trip of Your Dreams’ by Morgan Limo
In this magical book, readers get to follow a young girl on an adventure all over the world. In The Trip of Your Dreams, a young girl dreams of the perfect trip and travels all over the world using her imagination.
‘Ava’s Magical Hair Adventure’ by Chanel Kennedy and Telena Longmore
In this book, Ava's Hairy Godmother takes her on a magical adventure. Together, the two explore history and Ava is taught the beauty behind her hair.
‘Beautiful Brown Skin Child’ by Ayesha Rodriguez
Beautiful Brown Skin Child is a book that expresses love and admiration for brown skin children. The book is filled with powerful and beautiful messages and affirmations that every black child needs to hear.
‘Sulwe’ by Lupita Nyong’o
Sulwefollows the story of a young black girl who wishes that her dark skin was lighter. This story sends a message of self-love and self-acceptance.
‘Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History’ by Vashti Harris
This book is the ultimate book of black girl magic. Little Leaders is a collection of short bios of black women that have broken boundaries and accomplished the unthinkable. Young black girls that read this book will find heroes that look just like them.
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