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Picture Books by Black Creators


There are amazing resources for picture books by Black creators – the links are below. Please visit them! I’m going to share the names of a few Black picture book authors and illustrators with the titles of some of their amazing books. Please click on the titles for more information and to purchase. This is NOT an all-inclusive list. A way you can support Black Lives? Buy books by Black creators.

Here are some authors/illustrators who have created picture books I love:


Floyd Cooper author/illustrator- The Ring Bearer, Max and the Tag-Along Moon, The Blacker the Berry by Joyce Carol Thomas


Kelly Starling Lyons author – Dream Builder: The Story of Architect Philip Freelon, illustrated by Laura Freeman; Tiara’s Hat Parade, illustrated by NIcole Tadgell; Sing a Song, illustrated by Keith Mallett


Don Tate author/illustrator – Carter Reads the Newspaper by Deborah Hopkinson, Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton, Hope’s Gift by Kelly Starling Lyons


Alice Faye Duncan author – A Song for Gwendolyn Brooks illustrated by Xia Gordon; Honey Baby Sugar Child illustrated by Susan Keeter; Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop illustrated by P. Gregory Christie


Jacqueline Woodson author – The Day You Begin illustrated by Rafael Lopez, This is the Rope illustrated by James Ransome, Each Kindness illustrated by E.B. Lewis

Baptiste Paul author – I am Farmer by Baptiste Paul and MIranda Paul, illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon; The Field illustrated by Jacqueline Alcantara


Jerry Pinkney author and illustrator – In Plain Sight by Richard Jackson, A Place to Land by Barry Wittenstein


Angela Johnson author – A Girl Like Me illustrated by Nina Crews, Daddy Calls Me Man illustrated by Rhonda Mitchell, When I am Old With You illustrated by David Soman


E.B. Lewis illustrator – Across the Alley by Richard Michelson, All Different Now by Angela Johnson, Coming on Home Soon by Jacqueline Woodson


Here are some excellent resources for finding more pictures books by Black authors and illustrators:

The Brown Bookshelf is hosting a summer book club for all ages – Generations Book Club

31 Children’s Books to Support Conversations on Race, Racism, and Resistance

Just Us Books – publishing house founded and run by Wade Hudson and Cheryl Willis Hudson

Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County: Black Joy Booklist for Children and Young Adults 

Please feel free to share your favorite books by Black authors and illustrators in the comments below. Thank you!





art by Kalaya’an Mendoza

Standing in solidarity with my Black brothers and sisters. I want to share a few names of some amazing books I love by Black authors and illustrators you should check out. Click on the book title to purchase at to support independent bookstores.

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The Only Black Girls in Town by Brandy Colbert

Two Naomis by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich and Audrey Vernick

American Street by Ibi Zoboi

Black Enough: Stories of Being Young and Black in America edited by Ibi Zoboi

Jada Jones series by Kelly Starling Lyons, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton

Dread Nation and Deathless Divide by Justina Ireland

All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

As Brave As You by Jason Reynolds

Dyamonde Daniel series by Nikki Grimes

Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by E.B. Lewis

The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste

So Done by Paula Chase Hyman

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

New Kid by Jerry Craft

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

Dream Builder: The Story of Architect Philip Freelon by Kelly Starling Lyons, illustrated by Laura Freeman

The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton by Don Tate

This is by no means and all-inclusive list and I know I’ll kick myself later for some books I’ve neglected to mention. I commit to reading more books by Black authors and illustrators. I hope you will, too.

Please check out the Brown Bookshelf for more books and resources.


AAPI Heritage Month Book a Day 2019 – 20


Today is day 20 of Asian American Pacific Heritage Month and I’m sharing an AAPI book a day that I want to read. This past weekend I had the pleasure of being on the faculty of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency Big Sur at Cape Cod retreat where I led two groups of 5 writers each. These writers shared their work for feedback and all 10 of the writers in my groups were talented and a joy to work with. Among the faculty was senior editor Jennifer Ung – editor of today’s featured book.

There’s Something about Sweetie by Sandhya Menon is the companion novel to one of my recent favorite YA romance novels – When Dimple Met Rishi. I’m super excited to read this one! I picked up a copy at Eight Cousin’s Books, during our author signing. (And just barely got my hands on it before Jennifer Laughran!)

From the publisher:

Ashish Patel didn’t know love could be so…sucky. After being dumped by his ex-girlfriend, his mojo goes AWOL. Even worse, his parents are annoyingly, smugly confident they could find him a better match. So, in a moment of weakness, Ash challenges them to set him up.

The Patels insist that Ashish date an Indian-American girl—under contract. Per subclause 1(a), he’ll be taking his date on “fun” excursions like visiting the Hindu temple and his eccentric Gita Auntie. Kill him now. How is this ever going to work?

Sweetie Nair is many things: a formidable track athlete who can outrun most people in California, a loyal friend, a shower-singing champion. Oh, and she’s also fat. To Sweetie’s traditional parents, this last detail is the kiss of death.

Sweetie loves her parents, but she’s so tired of being told she’s lacking because she’s fat. She decides it’s time to kick off the Sassy Sweetie Project, where she’ll show the world (and herself) what she’s really made of.

Ashish and Sweetie both have something to prove. But with each date they realize there’s an unexpected magic growing between them. Can they find their true selves without losing each other?




AAPI Heritage Month Book a Day 2019 – 17


Day 17 of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month and I’m sharing an AAPI book a day that I want to read. This next book came to my attention after I shared a very pleasant train ride with the author after the Kweli’s Color of Children’s Literature Conference. Book 17 is

A Match Made in Mehendi by Nandini Bajpai! Everything about this novel is what I look for in a great YA book and I can’t wait to read it! It comes out in September but you can pre-order now!

From the publisher:

Fifteen-year-old Simran “Simi” Sangha comes from a long line of Indian vichole –– matchmakers — with a rich history for helping parents find good matches for their grown children. When Simi accidentally sets up her cousin and a soon-to-be lawyer, her family is thrilled that she has the “gift.”

But Simi is an artist, and she doesn’t want to have anything to do with relationships, helicopter parents, and family drama. That is, until she realizes this might be just the thing to improve her and her best friend Noah’s social status. Armed with her family’s ancient guide to finding love, Simi starts a matchmaking service-via an app, of course.

But when she helps connect a wallflower of a girl with the star of the boys’ soccer team, she turns the high school hierarchy topsy-turvy, soon making herself public enemy number one.

AAPI Heritage Month Book A Day 2019 – 2


For Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, I’m sharing a book a day about/by an AAPI that I want to read in the near future! Today’s book is INTERNMENT by Samira Ahmed – I moved it up on my TBR after hearing her amazing and powerful keynote at Kweli Journal‘s Color of Children’s Literature Conference. I’m looking forward to the summer when I will have time to read!

From the publisher:
Rebellions are built on hope.

Set in a horrifying near-future United States, seventeen-year-old Layla Amin and her parents are forced into an internment camp for Muslim American citizens.

With the help of newly made friends also trapped within the internment camp, her boyfriend on the outside, and an unexpected alliance, Layla begins a journey to fight for freedom, leading a revolution against the internment camp’s Director and his guards.

Heart-racing and emotional, Internment challenges readers to fight complicit silence that exists in our society today.

AAPI Heritage Month Book a Day 2019


Happy first day of Asian American Pacific Islander Month! Last year I blogged a book a day. I’m under multiple deadlines (!) and haven’t been reading as much as I’d like, so this year I’m going to post an AAPI title and author/illustrator that I hope to read in the near future!

Today’s book is RUSE by Cindy Pon. I loved WANT and can’t wait to read the follow up!

From the publisher:
In near-future Shanghai, a group of teens have their world turned upside down when one of their own is kidnapped in this action-packed follow-up to the “positively chilling” (The New York Times) sci-fi thriller Want.

Jason Zhou, his friends, and Daiyu are still recovering from the aftermath of bombing Jin Corp headquarters. But Jin, the ruthless billionaire and Daiyu’s father, is out for blood. When Lingyi goes to Shanghai to help Jany Tsai, a childhood acquaintance in trouble, she doesn’t expect Jin to be involved. And when Jin has Jany murdered and steals the tech she had refused to sell him, Lingyi is the only one who has access to the encrypted info, putting her own life in jeopardy.

Zhou doesn’t hesitate to fly to China to help Iris find Lingyi, even though he’s been estranged from his friends for months. But when Iris tells him he can’t tell Daiyu or trust her, he balks. The reunited group play a treacherous cat and mouse game in the labyrinthine streets of Shanghai, determined on taking back what Jin had stolen.

When Daiyu appears in Shanghai, Zhou is uncertain if it’s to confront him or in support of her father. Jin has proudly announced Daiyu will be by his side for the opening ceremony of Jin Tower, his first “vertical city.” And as hard as Zhou and his friends fight, Jin always gains the upper hand. Is this a game they can survive, much less win?I

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Book Love (3)


For the month of May, in honor of Asian Pacific Heritage Month, I’m sharing some of my favorite reads by/about Asians/Asian Americans.

The YA graphic novel, The Prince and the Dressmaker, is a recent read and firmly in my “favorite books” category! This graphic novel by Jen Wang is completely swoon-worthy, taking me back to some of my favorite manga reads when I was a teen.

Prince Sebastian’s parents are pressuring him, at age 16, to find a bride, but he is instead thrilled to have discovered a talented dressmaker. At night he becomes Lady Crystallia, a fashion icon. Frances, who dreams of a career in fashion design is at first happy to design dresses for the prince, and easily keeps his secret. But when it becomes apparent that in order to keep his secret, she must give up her dreams, she has to make a difficult decision, protect her friend or leave him to strike out on her own. A romantic tale of loyalty and being true to oneself.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Book Love (2)


In honor of Asian Pacific Heritage Month, I’m sharing some of my favorite books by Asian authors. Please feel free to share your favorites in the comments. I’m always looking for good books to read!

Today’s featured book is the picture book No Kimchi For Me! by Aram Kim. I had the pleasure of meeting Aram at this year’s Kweli Journal’s Color of Children’s Literature Conference. Aram is every bit as nice as she is talented! In this foodie picture book, Kitty is teased by her brothers that she is a “baby” because she can’t handle spicy kimchi – and it seems she can’t, until her grandma makes kimchi pancakes. There’s a yummy recipe at the end of the book! I personally love kimchi, and this is a great book for introducing this Korean treat to readers. The illustrations are adorable (and yummy).

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Book Love (1)


I’m starting a day late, but for the month of May I’ll be sharing some of my favorite reads by/about Asians/Asian Americans. Starting next week, I’ll be posting on Tuesdays and Thursday. Please feel free to share your favorites in the comments! I’m always behind on my reading and I don’t want to miss any great books!

Debut author Kelly Yang is coming out with a four-star middle grade novel, Front Desk (Scholastic/Arthur A Levine Books). Though this book doesn’t release until May 29, be sure to pre-order now because you don’t want to miss this. I was fortunate enough to get an ARC (Advance Review Copy), and I’m definitely buying the hard cover to add to my home library. So, I’m going to send the ARC to one lucky winner. Just comment on this post by Sunday, May 6 by noon EST and I’ll randomly draw a name. US mailing addresses only.

Mia Tang at 10 years old has a big sense of responsibility, helping her parents run a motel for a crooked and mean property owner. Mia takes over running the front desk while her parents run themselves ragged taking care of the motel. This was not at all the life Mia and her family expected when they came over from China. While Mia makes friends with the weeklies who live at the motel, she runs afoul of Jason Yao, the son of the mean motel owner. Mia sees and experiences first hand discrimination and cruelty and she tries to make things right. Based on the author’s childhood, this story broke my heart and put it back together again. I absolutely loved this book!

Comment below for a chance to win the ARC and to read it before the release date! Be sure to sign in with or share your email address so I can contact you if you win!

EDITED TO ADD: The winner of the ARC giveaway (using a random number generator) is Kristin C! Congratulations! Thank you to everyone for entering! I’ll be running more giveaways in the future!

#KidLitWomen – Book A Day in March (26)


See KidlitWomen for daily links to posts by the children’s lit community, in celebration of Women’s History Month and focusing on improving the climate for social and gender equality. I plan to share my favorite books focused on girl characters and/or written by women through this month.

Today’s featured book is The First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Perez.

I loved this book! Twelve-year-old Malú (María Luisa) is not happy about moving to Chicago for two years, because of her mom’s (whom she calls Super Mexican) job, leaving behind her dad and everything she loves. As school starts, Malú feels out of place and tries to embrace her inner punk, something she associates with her dad. Her mother makes her feel “not enough,” especially when she keeps trying to push her Mexican culture on her. Malú can’t speak Spanish well, hates cilantro, and doesn’t want to be una señorita – at least not the kind her mom wants her to be. When Malú finds a group of kids and decides to form a punk rock band for the school talent show, she finally feels like she might like her new home, but will it last? And will her mom prevent her from being in this band? I rooted for Malú! Buy the book!