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Skip Navigation LinksHome Page · Books & Reading · Booklists · African American

African American

Picture (Easy) Books

Amazing Grace
by Mary Hoffman
Although a classmate says that she cannot play Peter Pan in the school play because she is black, Grace discovers that she can do anything she sets her mind to do. 
The Bake Shop Ghost
by Jacqueline K. Ogburn
Miss Cora Lee Meriweather haunts her bake shop after her death, until the new shop owner makes a deal with her. 
A Beach Tail
by Karen Lynne Williams
When his father tells him not to leave the lion he is drawing on the beach, a little boy starts making a very, very long tail--and a trail to follow back. 
Come On Rain
by Karen Hesse
A young girl eagerly awaits a coming rainstorm to bring relief from the oppressive summer heat. 
Henry's Freedom Box
by Ellen Levine
A fictionalized account of how in 1849 a Virginia slave, Henry "Box" Brown, escapes to freedom by shipping himself in a wooden crate from Richmond to Philadelphia. 
Lily Brown's Paintings
by Angela Johnson
When Lily Brown paints, she imagines all sorts of fantastic things in the scenes that she sees every day. 
Lucky Beans
by Becky Birtha
During the Great Depression, Marshall, an African American boy, uses lessons learned in arithmetic class and guidance from his mother to figure out how many beans are in a jar in order to win her a new sewing machine in a contest. 
Peekaboo Morning
by Rachel Isadora
A toddler plays peek-a-boo throughout the day. 
Tar Beach
by Faith Ringgold
A young girl dreams of flying above her Harlem home, claiming all she sees for herself and her family. Based on the author's quilt painting of the same name. 
You and Me and Home Sweet Home
by George Ella Lyon
Third-grader Sharonda and her mother help volunteers from their church to build the house that will be their very own. 

Young Readers

Almost Zero: A Dyamonde Daniel Book
by Nikki Grimes
Dyamonde is angry at her mother for not buying her the shoes she wants, but when she finds out that a classmate is in a worse situation, she is determined to help. 
Gloria's Way
by Ann Cameron
Gloria shares special times with her mother and father and with her friends Julian, Huey, and Latisha. 
Meet Danitra Brown
by Nikki Grimes
Zuri Jackson wants readers to meet her friend, Danitra Brown, the "most splendiferous girl in town." In 13 spirited rhymes, Zuri narrates an unforgettable portrait of the many ways in which friends bring out the best in each other. 
My Big Lie
by Bill Cosby
Little Bill gets in big trouble when he tells a fib to explain why he has come home late for dinner. 
My Brother's Side
by Tiki Barber
Introduces twin brothers Tiki and Ronde Barber, who worked hard to overcome obstacles and became National Football League stars, one as runningback for the New York Giants, the other as cornerback for the Tampa Bay Bucs. 
Nikki & Deja: Birthday Blues
by Karen English
As her eighth birthday approaches, Deja's biggest concern is whether her father will attend her party, until her aunt is called away on business and a classmate schedules a "just because party" on the same afternoon. 

Middle Readers

by Zetta Elliott
Bird, an artistic young African American boy, expresses himself through drawing as he struggles to understand his older brother's drug addiction and death, while a family friend, Uncle Son, provides guidance and understanding. 
Donavan's Double Trouble
by Monalisa DeGross
Fourth-grader Donavan is sensitive about the problems he has understanding math, and then when his favorite uncle, a former high school basketball star, returns from National Guard duty an amputee, Donavan's problems get even worse as he struggles to accept this "new" Uncle Vic. 
Drita, My Homegirl
by Jenny Lombard
When ten-year-old Drita and her family, refugees from Kosovo, move to New York, Drita is teased about not speaking English well, but after a popular student named Maxine is forced to learn about Kosovo as a punishment for teasing Drita, the two girls soon bond. 
Keena Ford and the Secret Journal Mix-Up
by Melissa Thomson
When she accidentally leaves her journal in Tiffany's apartment, Keena is afraid that Tiffany will reveal all of her secrets. 
by Jacqueline Woodson
In a series of poems, eleven-year-old Lonnie writes about his life, after the death of his parents, separated from his younger sister, living in a foster home, and finding his poetic voice at school. 
Mr. Chickee's Funny Money
by Christopher Paul Curtis
Flint Future Detective Club members Steven Carter, his friend Russell, and Russell's huge dog Zoopy solve the mystery of a quadrillion-dollar bill with the image of James Brown on it. 
The Real Lucky Charm
by Charisse K. Richardson
Thinking that luck--rather than hard work--has helped her succeed on the court and at school, ten-year-old Mia panics and turns to her twin brother for help when her lucky gold basketball goes missing from her charm bracelet. 
Sassy: Little Sister Is Not My Name
by Sharon Draper
Fashion-savvy Sassy does not like being the smallest student in her fourth-grade class, until a family emergency calls for a pint-sized hero. 
Satch & Me
by Dan Gutman
With his ability to travel through time using vintage baseball cards, Joe takes Flip with him to find out whether Satchel Paige really was the fastest pitcher ever. 
Sienna's Scrapbook: Our African American Heritage Trip
by Toni Trent Parker
A young girl's parents take her and her brother on a summer trip to visit the sites of African American history. 
Sweet and Sunny
by Colleen Paratore
Despite facing a host of problems, old and new, optimistic third-grader Sunny continues her quest to create a national Kid's Day and improve other holidays, especially the upcoming Valentine's Day, while bringing joy to those around her. 
Toeshoe Trouble
by Whoopi Goldberg
Brenda needs the help of her Sugar Plum Sisters after telling her cousin that she has a pair of autographed toeshoes of a famous ballerina and her cousin wants to see them. 
Where the Steps Were
by Andrea Cheng
Verse from the perspectives of five students in Miss D.'s third grade class details the children's last year together before their inner city school is to be torn down. 

Older Readers

All of the Above
by Shelley Pearsall
Five urban middle school students, their teacher, and other community members relate how a school project to build the world's largest tetrahedron affects the lives of everyone involved. 
Bird in a Box
by Andrea Davis Pinkney
In 1936, three children meet at the Mercy Home for Negro Orphans in New York State, and while not all three are orphans, they are all dealing with grief and loss which together, along with the help of a sympathetic staff member and the boxing matches of Joe Louis, they manage to overcome. 
Chains: Seeds of America
by Laurie Halse Anderson
After being sold to a cruel couple in New York City, a slave named Isabel spies for the rebels during the Revolutionary War. 
A Friendship for Today
by Patricia McKissack
In 1954, when desegregation comes to Kirkland, Missouri, ten-year-old Rosemary faces many changes and challenges at school and at home as her parents separate. 
The Legend of Bass Reeves
by Gary Paulsen
An account of the life of Bass Reeves. 
Ninth Ward
by Jewell Parker Rhodes
In New Orleans' Ninth Ward, twelve-year-old Lanesha, who can see spirits, and her adopted grandmother have no choice but to stay and weather the storm as Hurricane Katrina bears down upon them. 
One Crazy Summer
by Rita Williams-Garcia
In the summer of 1968, after travelling from Brooklyn to Oakland, California, to spend a month with the mother they barely know, eleven-year-old Delphine and her two younger sisters arrive to a cold welcome as they discover that their mother, a dedicated poet and printer, is resentful of the intrusion of their visit and wants them to attend a nearby Black Panther summer camp. 
The Other Half of My Heart
by Sundee Tucker Frazier
Twin daughters of interracial parents, eleven-year-olds Keira and Minna have very different skin tones and personalities, but it is not until their African American grandmother enters them in the Miss Black Pearl Pre-Teen competition in North Carolina that red-haired and pale-skinned Minna realizes what life in their small town in the Pacific Northwest has been like for her more outgoing, darker-skinned sister. 
A Thousand Never Evers
by Shana Burg
As the civil rights movement in the South gains momentum in 1963--and violence against African Americans intensifies--the black residents, including seventh-grader Addie Ann Pickett, in the small town of Kuckachoo, Mississippi, begin their own courageous struggle for racial justice. 
Vive La Paris
by Esme Raji Codell
Fifth-grader Paris learns some lessons about dealing with bullies of all kinds as she wonders how to stop a classmate from beating up her brother at school and as she learns about the Holocaust from her piano teacher, Mrs. Rosen. 

Downloadable Audiobooks

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry (WMA)
by Mildred D. Taylor
The story of one African American family fighting to stay together and strong in the face of brutal racist attacks, illness, poverty, and betrayal in the Deep South of the 1930s. 


Ready? Set. Raymond! (Ebook)
by Vaunda Nelson
Three stories in which a little boy does everything fast, from brushing his teeth to making friends to running races. 
This is just a sample of some of the great books in our collection. Ask a librarian for more suggestions!
Interested in reading one of these books? Call or visit your favorite library and ask for it! You can also check the Library Catalog.
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