Celebrating Dads

June 15, 2012

Happy Father’s Day to all of the dads and father-figures. Reposting a list of picture books that celebrate these great men. Please share your favorite books about dads of color in the comments. Thank you:

Too often, we just hear stories about dads who aren’t there. But there are so many fathers who are. They are teachers, comforters, heroes, friends. They are protectors, motivators, providers. And they’re all around us — even in the world of children’s books.

Forget about fairytale perfection. These storybook dads are the real deal – strong black men with individual experiences and concerns and a shared devotion to their children.

Here are some picture books that celebrate African-American fathers and father figures.


The Bat Boy and His Violin (Simon & Schuster), a poignant story of a boy whose father — coach of a Negro League team – makes him bat boy and comes to appreciate his special musical gift, written by Gavin Curtis, illustrated by E.B. Lewis.

I Dream of Trains (Simon & Schuster), an eloquent tale of a boy who dreams of riding the rails with his hero, engineer Casey Jones, and discovers his own father is a hero too, written by Angela Johnson, illustrated by Loren Long.

In Daddy’s Arms I Am Tall (Lee & Low), a collection of poems saluting black fathers, illustrated by Javaka Steptoe. In this moving volume, children’s book authors such as Carole Boston Weatherford and Angela Johnson share the many ways fathers touch our lives.

Daddy Goes To Work (Little, Brown Young Readers), a sweet tale of a girl accompanying her father to his job and getting a peek at his working world, written by Jabari Asim, illustrated by Aaron Boyd. 

A Day with Daddy (Teaching Resources), a lyrical look at a boy’s weekly visit with his dad, written by Nikki Grimes, illustrated by Nicole Tagdell.

Bippity Bop Barbershop (Little, Brown Young Readers), a touching trip with a boy who braves his first haircut by having his daddy at his side, written by Natasha Tarpley, illustrated by E.B. Lewis.
 Joe-Joe’s First Flight (Knopf Books for Young Readers), a beautiful tale of how a boy’s dream of flying gives wings to his father’s – and their town’s – hope, written by Natasha Tarpley, illustrated by E.B. Lewis.

Kevin & His Dad (Little, Brown Young Readers), a fun day just for the guys, written by Irene Smalls, illustrated by Michael Hays.

One Million Men and Me (Just Us Books), a special view of the Million Man March through the eyes of a girl who was with her daddy the day black men made history, written by Kelly Starling Lyons, illustrated by Peter Ambush.

Father & Son (Philomel), a lyrical portrait of the beautiful connection between father and son, by Denize Lauture, illustrated by Jonathan Green.


When I Am Old with You (Orchard Books), a boy imagines being old with his grand-dad and sharing happy times with him, written by Angela Johnson, illustrated by David Soman.

When I Was Little (Just Us Books), a boy and his grand-dad share a nostalgic fishing trip, written by Toyomi Igus, illustrated by Higgins Bond.

My Pop Pop and Me (Little, Brown Young Readers), a boy spends a sweet day making lemon cake with his grand-dad, written by Irene Smalls, illustrated by Cathy Ann Johnson.

Janna and the Kings (Lee & Low), a girl learns that even when her grand-dad is gone, his spirit remains, written by Patricia Smith, illustrated by Aaron Boyd.

Your Dad Was Just Like You (Simon & Schuster), a boy’s grand-dad tells him stories that help the child understand his father better, written and illustrated by Dolores Johnson.

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

June 1, 2012

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

The BBS 2012 Summer Reading List — Chapter Books & Middle Grades

June 1, 2012

Here are some chapter books and middle grade titles written by black authors of various cultures.  This diverse list includes something of interest for every kind of reader!


NEWER TITLES (2010-2012)

Anna Hibiscus” Series

Author:  Atinuke

Publisher:  Walker (2011)

Genre:  CB


No. 1 Car Spotter

Author:  Atinuke

Publisher:  Walker (2010)

Genre:  CB


8th Grade Super Zero

Author:  Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich

Publisher:  Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic (2010)

Genre:  MG


Dork Diaries 3 1/2, How to Dork Your Diary

Author:  Rachel Renee Russell

Publisher:  Aladdin (2011)

Genre:  MG


How Lamar’s Bad Prank Won A Bubba-Sized Trophy

Author:  Crystal Allen

Publisher:  Balzer & Bray/HarperCollins (2011)

Genre:  MG


Meet Cecile

Author:  Denise Lewis Patrick

Illustrator:  Christine Kornacki

Publisher:  American Girl (2011)

Genre:  MG


The Mighty Miss Malone

Author:  Christopher Paul Curtis

Publisher:  Wendy Lamb Books/Random House (2012)

Genre:  MG


My Holy Bible for African-American Children

Authors:  Cheryl Hudson and Wade Hudson

Publisher:  Zondervan (2010)

Genre:  MG


One Crazy Summer

Author:  Rita Williams-Garcia

Publisher:  Amistad/HarperCollins (2010)

Genre:  MG


Out of My Mind

Author:  Sharon Draper

Publisher:  Atheneum Books for Young Readers (2012)

Genre:  MG


What Mama Left Me

Author:  Renee Watson

Publisher:  Bloomsbury USA (2012)

Genre:  MG


Make Way for Dyamonde Daniel

Author:  Nikki Grimes

Illustrator:  R. Gregory Christie

Publisher:  Putnam Juvenille (2009)

Genre:  CB


Nikki & Deja

Author:  Karen English

Illustrator:  Laura Freeman

Publisher:  Clarion (2007)

Genre:  CB


Ruby Booker and the Boys: Brand New School, Brave New Ruby

Author:  Derrick Barnes

Illustrator:  Vanessa Brantley Newton

Publisher:  Scholastic (2008)

Genre:  CB


Sassy: Little Sister is Not My Name

Author:  Sharon M. Draper

Publisher: Scholastic (2009)

Genre:  CB


Blue Mountain Trouble

Author:  Martin Mordecai

Publisher:  Arthur A. Levine (2009)

Genre:  MG


Celeste’s Harlem Renaissance

Author:  Eleanora E. Tate

Publisher:  Little, Brown (2007)

Genre:  MG/Historical



Author:  Angela Johnson

Publisher:  Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (1998)

Genre:  MG


The Rock and The River

Author:  Kekla Magoon

Publisher:  Aladdin (2009)

Genre:  MG


Sacred Mountain: Everest

Author:  Christine Taylor-Butler

Publisher:  Lee & Low Books (2009)

Genre:  MG/Non-Fiction


The Skin I’m In

Author:  Sharon G. Flake

Publisher:  Scholastic (1998)

Genre: MG


Some Friend

Author:  Marie Bradby

Publisher:  Atheneum (2003)

Genre:  MG

The BBS 2012 Summer Reading List — Young Adult

June 1, 2012

Finally, here are some young adult titles that we at the BBS have either read or plan on reading this summer.

Check them out yourself–and be sure to share this list with all the teens in your world.


NEWER TITLES (2010-2012)


Author:  Charles R. Smith, Jr.

Publisher:  Candlewick Press (2010)

Genre:  YA


Good Fortune

Author:  Noni Carter

Publisher:  Simone & Schuster Books for Young Readers (2010)

Genre:  YA


Happy Families

Author:  Tanita Davis

Publisher:  Knopf (2012)

Genre:  YA


Myself and I

Author:  Earl Sewell

Publisher:  Kimani Tru/Harlequin (2010)

Genre:  YA


Perfect Shot

Author:  Debbie Rigaud

Publisher:  Simon & Schuster (2010)

Genre:  YA


Putting Makeup on the Fat Boy

Author:  Bil Wright

Publisher:  Simon & Schuster (2011)

Genre:  YA


Saving Maddie

Author:  Varian Johnson

Publisher:  Delacorte/Random House (2010)

Genre:  YA


Ship of Souls

Author:  Zetta Elliott

Publisher:  Amazon/Encore (2012)

Genre:  YA/SFF


You Don’t Even Know Me: Short Stories and Poems about Boys

Author:  Sharon G. Flake

Publisher:  Hyperion (2010)

Genre:  YA



Angel’s Grace

Author:  Tracey Baptiste

Publisher:  Simon and Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books (2009)

Genre:  YA


Aya” Series

Author:  Marguerite Abouet

Publisher:  Drawn & Quarterly (from 2007)

Genre:  YA/Graphic Novel


“Del Rio Bay Clique” Series

Author:  Paula Chase

Publisher:  Dafina (from 2007)

Genre:  YA


Drama High:  The Fight

Author:  L. Divine

Publisher:  Kensington (2006)

Genre:  YA


Jason and Kyra

Author:  Dana Davidson

Publisher:  Hyperion (2005)

Genre:  YA


Listen for the Fig Tree

Author:  Sharon Bell Mathis

Publisher:  Puffin (1990)

Genre:  YA



Author:  Walter Dean Myers

Publisher:  HarperCollins (1999)

Genre:  YA


Naughts & Crosses

Author:  Malorie Blackman

Publisher:  Simon & Schuster (2005)

Genre: YA/SF