BlackLove.com has teamed up with Here Wee Read’s Charnaie Gordon to give you a bi-weekly review of must-read titles by Black authors. Charnaie, a wife and mom of two from Connecticut, is passionate about instilling a love of reading, lifelong learning, and curiosity in her kids. With Here Wee Read, she shares that passion with the world by highlighting the importance of representation in books, including titles with main characters of different racial, cultural, and religious backgrounds.
This week, we’re sharing a few amazing bedtime story books for kids by Black authors that are perfect to read to your children. As many studies have proven, reading with children is critically important for language development, and it’s also a great bonding experience. Choosing a book to read as part of a child’s bedtime routine helps set a pattern and makes bedtime a more enjoyable experience for both parent and child.
Check out these four titles that celebrate Black Boy Joy and Black Girl Magic, and are perfect to add to your child’s nightstand.
Girl of Mine by Jabari Asim
Publisher: LB Kids
Age Range: 2 – 4
Grade Level: Preschool
In this companion book to Boy of Mine, little readers are introduced to a little girl who looks forward to her most special time of the day — bedtime with Daddy! The text, inspired by “Rock-a-bye baby”, is soothing, engaging, and loving. The illustrations are warm, peaceful, and irresistibly adorable. A fantastic imaginative bedtime or anytime story.
Dream Big, Little One by Vashti Harrison
Publisher: LB Kids
Age Range: 5 – 6
Grade Level: Preschool and up
The wildly popular picture book, Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History, now has the cutest board book companion you ever did see! This board book is 26 pages long and features over 18 of the little leaders that appear in the original picture book. Among these 18 women, you’ll find heroes, role models, and everyday women who did extraordinary things — bold women whose actions and beliefs contributed to making the world better for generations of girls and women to come. A must-read for preschoolers.
The Night Is Yours by Abdul-Razak Zachariah, illustrated by Keturah A. Bobo
Publisher: Dial Books
Age Range: 3 – 7
Grade Level: Preschool – 2
Have you ever played a game of hide-and-seek at night as a child? Based on the apartment complex and community of the author’s childhood in Connecticut, little readers are introduced to a little girl named Amani and her father. The moon’s glow helps Amani find the last hidden child and seems almost like a partner to her in the game. Adults will appreciate the positive overall messages of celebrating Blackness, self-confidence, love, community, and loving the skin you’re in.
Hey Black Child by Useni Eugene Perkins, illustrated by Bryan Collier
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Age Range: 5 – 7
Grade Level: Preschool –3
Hey Black Child isn’t necessarily a story about bedtime, sleeping, or dreaming, but due to its empowering and inspiring message, I thought it should be included. This book is based on the famous “Hey Black Child” poem written by Useni Eugene Perkins in 1975.
With gorgeous illustrations of Black children throughout, this is a bedtime story you’ll want to read with children again and again. I’m always filled with a sense of pride and joy when I read this book aloud with my children. I love reading this empowering ode to my children to help promote their self-esteem and confidence.