So You Say You Are Looking for AfAm Children’s Books? (Link Luv)


Sue VanHattum @ And All the Rest Blog, has just finished compiling a list of some of her favorite children’s books by or about African Americans. Her list is fairly extensive and includes several books I personally am excited to read. As a collector of children’s books, it is always nice to see what others think are the must reads. And I know I have many parents here on the blog who have asked at one point or another for a book suggestion, so here is  a good place to start.

(most of these books are Children’s Lit not Young Adult fiction, though some are for older readers. If you have books that you think everyone should be reading that are about black girls and teens, let us know in the comment section. I will be compiling a list of children’s fiction I love some time soon for the blg and finally writing that “female protagonist” post of Young Adult fiction as well. I have also sent a tweet to BiancaLaureano to participate with her list of Young Adult fiction for young men of color. So should be good. Anyone else want in?)

5 thoughts on “So You Say You Are Looking for AfAm Children’s Books? (Link Luv)

  1. Thanks! I have plenty of thoughts on young adult books too, and I started out on strong girls and women when I put together my bibliography of good kids’ books (which just keeps growning). If you’ll email me (removed by blog owner) I’ll send you a copy of it.

  2. All Octavia Butler’s books are a must-read from me. I’ve read all but Survivor, which she did not want republished and is going for $150 at I try to find it in used bookstores and hopefully I find it someday.

    Right now I am reading Conversations With Octavia Butler, which I also recommend though I haven’t finished yet. In rereading her novels recently (it had been a few years) I came to realize how much her writings resonated with me and helped me understand and articulate what I believe. She especially appeals to me because… (and I’m not sure I’m saying this right) she wrote from a very distinct position but I felt utterly human and… connected to other’s of our species – despite our differences. Though I’ve wondered if I feel this way because I am a woman of color, and studied ethnic studies in college and being so aware of intersectionalities was what I tried to do consistently. Either way I think her writings are very accessible, and certainly beyond all 3 genres to which she was relegated (sci fi, women’s lit and African American lit). But then all 3 genres appeal to me as it is, so I am biased.

    The editor of Conversations With Octavia Butler put it well: “What struck me about that book was that it didn’t speak to me as black person, though I think her words fall solidly within the African American literary tradition; or a feminist, though, of course, her work is guided by a decidedly feminist politics; or as a science fiction fan. Here was a black woman writing about black women without defining for me womanhood or blackness. A writer creating worlds shaped by feminist politics who didn’t dictate to me what my feminism should look like. She defied my expectations about what science fiction, women’s writing, and African American literature could be, and in defying those expectations showed me new (intellectual, literary, personal) possibilities. Her work, as much as the author herself, resisted labels.” – Consuela Francis (Introduction, Conversations with Octavia Butler)

    I would recommend Bloodchild and Other Stories in order to gauge at what age Butler’s novels would be appropriate for a youth. I intend to encourage my children to check her out when they are preteens, but certainly by high school a literate youth who can complete any California required-reading book can read and learn from her novels.

    Octavia Butler on Wikipedia (
    Sci Fi & Fantasy Writers of America (

    • I wish that I had appreciated her work more when she was alive as I had many opportunities to interact with her about 20 or so years ago, but I would agree there is so much wonderful going on in her books.

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