When it comes to children’s books, representation matters. All children benefit from seeing diverse characters, however there is a gap in what’s being published as well as who is writing the books. While the number of children’s books featuring people of color is steadily increasing, they still only account for 31 percent of published children’s books. Of those books published, only seven percent were Black, Latino, or Native authors.
Growth is good, but more is needed, which is why I wanted to bring awareness to and promote companies who I believe are committed to helping those numbers increase. Therefore, the list below features multi-cultural book sellers and publishers, who are either telling or sharing children’s stories that highlight people of color. All children can learn from these stories, and, going into 2019, it’s about time to decolonize our bookshelves, don’t you think?
Kujichagulia Press I mentioned this bookseller in my African-Centered homeschool curriculum post, and wanted to mention them here too because they not only specialize in educational materials, but in children’s books as well.
Cultivated Roots Media An independent book publisher that focuses on history books on prominent people of color to inspire children to see themselves in the history of the world.
The African Library A digital e-book seller that offers books on everything from African history to coding. The Parent Hub is great for homeschoolers or parents who want to supplement their child’s learning.
Here Wee Read This is the blog of a brown mama, Charnaie, who is passionate about helping others diversify their bookshelves. While technically not a direct book seller, her Amazon store offers over 30 different categories of linked books featuring multicultural characters. By the way, she’s also the mama behind 50 States 50 Books that provides free diverse books to kids nationwide. How awesome is that?!
Read With Mocha Books This small online book seller is dedicated to promoting literacy, fostering a love of reading at home and in the community, and focuses on offering books that feature diverse and culturally represented characters.
Plum Street Press Books A book publisher out of New Orleans whose books feature children of color just being kids — what a concept! (That’s sarcasm, people.) In addition to paperback and e-book versions, audio books are also available. We definitely need more books featuring children of color in audio book format!
Afriware Books Since 1992, this book seller has showcased authors, artists, and advocates who help to instill a sense of cultural pride within the Black community. Their children’s book offering is vast, so you are sure to find many books to add to your library.
Africa World Press Books With a mission to “provide high quality literature on the history, culture, politics of Africa and the African Diaspora,” this bookseller is committing to make sure children see themselves and people who look like them in books. Their book selection is very unique and has many books I haven’t seen elsewhere.
Third World Press Foundation Opening in 1967, Third World Press Foundation is the oldest independent publisher of Black thought and literature in the United States. In addition to their children and young adult section, check out their education section. I can see many of those books inspiring projects and unit studies galore.
Lee & Low Books This company is the largest multi-cultural children’s book publisher in the United States. From their website, “Our story began in 1991 with a simple mission: to publish contemporary diverse stories that all children could enjoy. We decided to steer clear of folktales since they tended to be about people who lived a long time ago. In contrast, we wanted our books to emphasize the richness of today’s cultures. We also avoided talking animal stories since there was nothing new we could bring to this genre. And we pledged to make a special effort to work with unpublished authors and illustrators of color.” How could you not want to support that?
Mahogany Books This independent bookstore specializes in books written for, by and about people of the African Diaspora. They aspire to meet the literary needs of the community whether online or at their first retail location that opened in Washington D.C. in 2017.
EyeSeeMe The mission to highlight and promote positive images and stories of African-American culture and history, to not only African-American children, but to all children, is one that makes EyeSeeMe unique.
Brown Sugar & Spice Books & Educational Services An African-American educator created this independent bookstore to help families accomplish three goals:
- Read out loud to your child everyday.
- Celebrate Black History all year long.
- Take time to research and share your family history.
The books in their collections are carefully chosen to meet those goals. They even offer to help you learn what to look for in a children’s book before purchasing. How cool is that?
In addition to all of the above, here are some tried-and-true lists to help you add more stories featuring children of color to your library.
There you have it, friends. Now there’s no excuse for not having more children’s stories from all cultures on your bookshelves. 😉 Happy Reading!
P.S. Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments!
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