In 2015, I logged a lot of miles on the exhibit floors of children’s book conferences—ALA, BEA, TLA, NCTE, NCSS, many more, acronyms abound.
As I walked, my eyes stayed peeled for treasures that featured Black characters, books that reflect my African American experience, history, culture, or any book on any topic written and/or illustrated by a Black creator. It was often a frustrating and humbling experience. But I’m a persistent guy, I mined exhibit halls for gems until my feet hurt.
My hunt paid off, too. I discovered books illustrated by Christian Robinson, Ekua Holmes, London Ladd, and books written by Carole Boston Weatherford, Charles R. Smith, Nikki Grimes (I’m a picture book guy).
I decided to create my own end-of-year list, based upon the books I’d read throughout the year (which, admittedly, was not a lot due to my own busy schedule).
I also elicited help from a few other The Brown Bookshelf team members. Here is a list of our favorite books of 2015:
Ira’s Shakesphere Dream, written by Glenda Armand, illustrated by Floyd Cooper, Lee & Low Books
Lillian’s Right to Vote: A Celebration of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, written by Jonah Winter, illustrated by Shane W. Evans
Frederick’s Journey: The Life of Frederick Douglass, written by Doreen Rappaport, illustrated by London Ladd, Jump at the Sun
Boats For Papa, written and illustrated by Jessixa Bagley, Roaring Brook Press
Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah, written by Laurie Ann Thompson, illustrated by Sean Qualls, Schwartz & Wade
TAMEKA FRYER BROWN
Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton, written and illustrated by Don Tate, Peachtree Publishers
My Three Best Friends and Me, Zulay, written by Cari Best, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley Newton, Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Bottle Cap Boys Dancing On Royal Street, written by Rita Williams-Garcia, illustrated by Damian Ward, Marimba Books
Trombone Shorty, written by Troy Andrews, illustrated by Bryan Collier, Harry N. Abrams
Sunday Shopping, written by Sally Derby, illustrated by Shadra Strickland, Lee & Low Books
KELLY STARLING LYONS
The Book Itch: Freedom, Truth & Harlem’s Greatest Bookstore, written by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie, Carolrhoda Picture Books
Last Stop on Market Street , written by Matt De La Pena, illustrated by Christian Robinson, G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Gordon Parks: How the Photographer Captured Black and White America, written by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Jamey Christoph, Albert Whitman & Company
Poems in the Attic, written by Nikki Grimes, illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon, Lee & Low Books
Mama’s Nightingale: A Story of Immigration and Separation, written by Edwidge Danticat, illustrated by Leslie Staub, Dial Books
Dayshaun’s Gift, written by Zetta Elliott, illustrated by Alex Portal, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Let The Faithful Come, written by Zetta Elliott, illustrated by Charity Russell, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Show and Prove, written by Sofia Quintero, Knopf Books for Young Readers
Love From Anna Hibiscus, written by Atinuke, illustrated by Lauren Tobia, Walker Books
This Side of Home, written by Renée Watson, Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: The Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement, written by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Ekua Holmes
My Pen, written and illustrated by Christopher Myers, Disney-Hyperion
Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music, written by Margarita Engle, illustrated by Rafael López, HMH Books for Young Readers