The Beauty In Me

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The Beauty In Me

Picture Books that Celebrate Children of Color

Growing up my parents made it a point to provide me with books and toys that were a reflection of me. Although there was not a ton of options they found them. Mainstream media has come a long way when it comes to showing diverse imagery but there is still work to do. These featured titles celebrate black children and give them a chance to see themselves represented beautifully through literature. Suggested for ages 3-8. 

You Can Do It by Tony Dungy
 
All of their lives Toni's parents have been telling him and his siblings that they can do it. The only problem is that Toni's little brother Linden is not sure what his "it" is. Toni reminds him of what their Mom and Dad tells them: "Whatever it is that you want to do, you can do it. Trust God and dream big!" After some trouble in school and coming home to face his parents Linden feels down. Read to find out how his family is able to help him and if he finds his "it". 
 
 
In this African tale, there is a man named Mufaro who has two beautiful daughters, Manyara and Nyasha. While they are both beautiful on the outside, one of them is not so beautiful on the inside. One day, a messenger from the city came and explained that "the most worthy and beautiful daughters in the land are invited to appear before the King and he will choose one to become Queen!" Who will the King choose? Will it be Manyara or Nyasha? Find out what lesson is learned in this tale about true beauty.
 
Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman
 
Grace is a child that loves stories, no matter the type. More than just listening, she loved to act these stories out. She spent her days pretending to be everyone from Anansi the Spider to Aladdin. One day in school her teacher informed her that they would be doing the play Peter Pan. Grace was super excited! When she raised her hand to play the role of Peter, classmates told her that she couldn't because "that's a boy's name" and "he isn't black". She goes home upset and shares what happened with her family. Read to find out how amazing Grace solves this problem. 
 
The Blacker the Berry by Joyce Carol
 
This collection of poems celebrate the many different shades of African Americans. With poem titles such as "Golden Goodness" and "Raspberry Black" the reader is able to visualize the exact portrait being painted. The illustrations throughout the book show children of many shades with different hair and eye colors. These poems are sure to remind you of the beauty of being black. 
 
Marvelous Cornelius by Phil Bildner
 
Cornelius's job was to keep the city of New Orleans clean by collecting trash. He did his job with a smile, a tune, and a dance. He made sure to greet neighbors and they all would cheer "Marvelous Cornelius!" That all changed when Hurricane Katrina hit the city. Water went everywhere and many things were washed away. Cornelius knew that it would take tons of people to clean it all up. Read to find out how Marvelous Cornelius chooses to help his city rise again.
 
One Million Men and Me by Kelly Starling Lyons
 
The Million Man March took place on October 16, 1995. Although the title of the March led most people to assume it was only for boys or men a little girl went with her Dad. She was amazed at how many beautiful black men she saw that day standing side by side. They all had come to the March to pray and take responsibility. The display of hope influenced her to hold her head a little higher. 
 
Dancing in the Wings by Debbie Allen
 
It didn't take Sassy long to realize that it was something different about her than the other dancers in her ballet class. She was taller than everyone else and had bigger feet. Some of the other dances would tease her which made her feel low. After a conversation with her Uncle Redd she was reminded that her differences were her gifts. When a Russian ballet teacher came to her school to recruit dancers for a dance festival in Washington, D.C., Sassy was determined to be chosen. Read to find out if Sassy is able to accomplish her goal.
 
The Colors of Us by Karen Katz
 
In this fun story Lena is ready to paint! Her mom is teaching her how to mix paints. When her mother tells her the colors to mix together to get the perfect brown for a self-portrait Lena learns that there are lots of different shades of brown. Take a journey with her as she explores the many different shades of her friends, family, and people in her community. 
 
I Like Myself by Karen Beaumont
 
What do you like about yourself? Is it a facial feature like your eyes or nose? Is it something you can play with and change the look of like your hair? In this story an energetic little girl shares all the many things she loves about herself. The vibrant illustrations make for a perfect story to use to boost self-esteem.
 
I Love My Hair by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley
 
Getting your hair done can be a painful task for some children. All the brushing and combing seems to pull each strand of hair in every direction. The hurting leads Keyana to feel not so good about the hair on her head. Mama explains how lucky Keyana actually is to have such hair. Read to find out what is so special about her hair.