The BBS 2012 Summer Reading List — Picture Books & Early Readers

It’s time to pull out the shades and the sunscreen (yes, the sunscreen) and get ready for all things summer! While planning days filled with travel and play and surfside fun, do not forget the most important summertime accessory of all: a good book.

As always, The Brown Bookshelf is here to help you stay abreast of all the wonderful children’s and young adult titles available to you, specifically those authored and illustrated by African-Americans.  This year, we’ve composed three summer reading lists for easy reference: a young adult list, a chapter book/middle grade list, and the picture book/easy reader list included in this post. (See subsequent posts for the other two lists.)

The titles on these lists were compiled by all of us. They’re books we’ve either read and loved, or we plan on reading during the next couple of months–preferably poolside and accompanied by a piña colada.  But I digress.

Anyway, here are a host of fantastic books to share with your kids.  ENJOY!


NEWER TITLES (2010-2012)

Acoustic Rooster and His Barnyard Band

Author:  Kwame Alexander

Illustrator:  Tim Bowers

Publisher:  Sleeping Bear Press (2011)

Genre:  PB


Around Our Way on Neighbors’ Day

Author:  Tameka Fryer Brown

Illustrator:  Charlotte Riley-Webb

Publisher:  Abrams (2010)

Genre:  PB


Baby Flo: Florence Mills Lights Up the Stage

Author:  Alan Schroeder

Illustrator:  Cornelius Van Wright & Ying-Hwa Hu

Publisher:  Lee and Low (2012)

Genre:  PB


Belle, The Last Mule at Gee’s Bend: A Civil Rights Story

Author:  Calvin Alexander Ramsey, Betty Stroud

Illustrator:  John Holifield

Publisher:  Candlewick (2011)

Genre:  PB


Black Jack: The Ballard of Jack Johnson

Author:  Charles R. Smith Jr.

Illustrator:  Shane W. Evans

Publisher:  Roaring Book Press (2010)

Genre:  PB


Chocolate Me!

Author:  Taye Diggs

Illustrator:  Shane Evans

Publisher:  Feiwel & Friends (2011)

Genre:  PB


Ellen’s Broom

Author:  Kelly Starling Lyons

Illustrator:  Daniel Minter

Publisher:  Putnam Juvenile (2012)

Genre:  PB


Game, Set, Match, Champion Arthur Ashe

Author:  Crystal Hubbard

Illustrator:  Kevin Belford

Publisher:  Lee & Low Books (2010)

Genre:  PB


The Great Migration: Journey to the North

Author:  Eloise Greenfield

Illustrator:  Jan Spivey Gilchrist

Publisher:  HarperCollins/Amistad (2010)

Genre:  PB


I See the Rhythm of Gospel

Illustrator:  Michele Wood

Author:  Toyomi Igus

Publisher:  Zonderkidz (2010)

Genre:  PB


It Jes’ Happened

Author:  Don Tate

Illustrator:  R. Gregory Christie

Publisher:  Lee & Low (2012)

Genre:  PB


Li’l Rabbit’s Kwanzaa

Author:  Donna L. Washington

Illustrator:  Shane W. Evans

Publisher:  Katherine Tegen Books (2010)

Genre:  PB


Lottie Paris Lives Here

Author:  Angela Johnson

Illustrator:  Scott M. Fischer

Publisher:  Simon & Schuster (2011)

Genre:  PB


Love Twelve Miles Long

Author:  Glenda Armand

Illustrator:  Colin Bootman

Publisher:  Lee & Low Books (2011)

Genre:  PB


My Friend Maya Loves to Dance

Author:  Cheryl Willis Hudson

Illustrator:  Eric Velasquez

Publisher:  Abrams (2010)

Genre:  PB


My Teacher

Author/Illustrator:  James Ransome

Publisher:  Penguin/Dial (2012)

Genre:  PB


Never Forgotten

Author:  Patricia C. McKissack

Illustrator:  Leo Dillon, Diane Dillon

Publisher:  Schwartz & Wade (2011)

Genre:  PB


One Love

Author:  Cedella Marley

Illustrator:  Vanessa Newton

Publisher:  Chronical Books (2011)

Genre:  PB


The Pet Wash (one of 8 in Stone Arch Readers “A Pet Club Story” Series)

Author:  Gwendolyn Hooks

Illustrator:  Mike Byrne

Publisher:  Capstone Press (2011)

Genre:  Early Reader


Summer Jackson: Grown Up

Author:  Teresa E. Harris

Illustrator:  AG Ford

Publisher:  HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Books (2011)

Genre:  PB


Walk Together Children, Black American Spirituals (Volume One)

Author/Illustrator:  Ashley Bryan

Publisher:  Alazar Press (2012)

Genre:  PB


When Grandmama Sings

Author:  Margaree King Mitchell

Illustrator:  James Ransome

Publisher:  HarperCollins/Amistad (2012)

Genre:  PB


White Water

Author:  Michael S. Bandy, Eric Stein

Illustrator:  Shadra Strickland

Publisher:  Candlewick (2011)

Genre:  PB


Words Set Me Free: The Story of Young Frederick Douglass

Author:  Lesa Cline-Ransome

Illustrator:  James E. Ransome

Publisher:  Paula Wiseman Books (2012)

Genre:  PB



Bright Eyes, Brown Skin

Author:  Cheryl Willis Hudson and Bernette G. Ford

Illustrator:  George Ford

Publisher:  Just Us Books (1990)

Genre:  PB



Author:  Gwendolyn Brooks

Illustrator:  Faith Ringold

Publisher:  HarperCollins (1984)

Genre:  PB


DeShawn Days

Author:  Tony Medina

Illustrator:  R. Gregory Christie

Publisher:  Lee & Low (2001)

Genre:  PB


Freight Train

Author-Illustrator:  Donald Crews

Publisher:  Greenwillow Books (1978)

Genre:  PB


I Heard of a Land

Author:  Joyce Carole Thomas

Illustrator:  Floyd Cooper

Publisher:  HarperCollins (2000)

Genre:  PB

JoJo’s Flying Side Kick

Author/Illustrator:  Brian Pinkney

Publisher:  Aladin (1998)

Genre:  PB


Most Loved in All the World

Author:  Tonya Cherie Hegamin

Illustrator:  by Cozbi A. Cabrera

Publisher:  Houghton Mifflin Company (2009)

Genre:  PB


The Other Side

Author:  Jacqueline Woodson

Illustrator:  E.B. Lewis

Publisher:  Penguin/Putnam (2001)

Genre:  PB


Racing Against the Odds: The Story of Wendell Scott, Stock-Car Racing’s African-American Champion

Author:  Carole Boston Weatherford

Illustrator:  Eric Velasquez

Publisher:  Marshall Cavendish (2009)

Genre:  PB


Raising Dragons

Author:  Jerdine Nolen

Illustrator:  Elise Primavera

Publisher:  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Sandpiper (2002)

Genre:  PB


Ray Charles

Author:  Sharon Bell Mathis

Illustrator:  George Ford

Publisher:  Lee & Low Books (2001)

Genre:  PB


Whose Toes Are Those

Author:  Jabari Asim

Illustrator:  LeUyen Pham

Publisher:  Little Brown (2006)

Genre:  Board Book

3 thoughts on “The BBS 2012 Summer Reading List — Picture Books & Early Readers

  1. YES, the sunscreen. Sing it, sister. Not enough people do that, and skin cancer is as real for brown folk as for others.

    I cannot WAIT to get my hands on Raising Dragons.

  2. Thanks for these lists! My grandchildren (ages 4 & 9) are moving into my house this summer and my most emphatic ground rule is: 8:00 storytime with Omi! I will rely on these lists.

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