Black Girl Magic: Wonderful Books for Kids

It’s hard to overstate the need for diversity in children’s literature. Thankfully, there are more great children’s books available that not only have diverse characters but diverse protagonists. That is, non-white characters are not only included as token minority friends of the main character but increasingly are being cast as main characters themselves. To celebrate, here are some wonderful books for kids that celebrate black girl magic by having African-American girls as lead characters.

Black Girl Magic: New Books for Kids | Multicultural Kid Blogs

Disclosure: The author received complimentary copies of some of the books below for review purposes; however, all opinions are the author’s. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, Multicultural Kid Blogs receives a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Black Girl Magic: New Books for Kids

Black girl magic is front and center in these wonderful new books with young black heroines. While the characters and stories are quite different from one another, I am loving the trend of so many super smart, artistic and science-loving girls!

The Kayla: A Modern Day Princess series are #OwnVoices books about a young Brown girl following her dream of performing on stage, despite the obstacles that others put in her path. The books also beautifully showcase a loving mother-daughter relationship, as Kayla and her working mother grow together and learn to support each other. Author Deedee Cummings’ expertise as a therapist is also apparent, as she weaves practical tips for emotional wellness into the stories. These books don’t shy away from difficult topics; yet still are infused with optimism and wonder.

Rocket Says Look Up! is about a young girl whose enthusiasm for science is so contagious that it electrifies an entire neighborhood. Rocket is always encouraging everyone to look up at the stars, where one day she’ll follow in the footsteps of her hero Mae Jemison to become an astronaut. When Rocket finds out there will be a meteor shower, she makes sure everyone in her neighborhood knows about it, even her big brother Jamal, who never looks up from his phone. When the big moment comes, everyone has gathered in the park to watch, there are no meteors to be seen. Help from a surprising source teaches Rocket patience and the value of never being afraid to keep looking up.

I love fractured fairy tales, and Reading Beauty flips every aspect of Sleeping Beauty delightfully on its head. Its heroine Lex, a black space princess, loves to read, but her parents take away her books because of their fear that a paper cut could trigger a curse. Lex figures out a clever way to keep on reading without hurting herself. She, then, sets off on a mission to get the curse reversed. Reading Beauty is an empowering book about taking charge of your own fate and, of course, of the power of books to help you solve any problem.

On the surface, a story about a young girl in rural Jamaica learning to carry water on her head didn’t seem like it would grab my kids’ attention. Yet Anna Carries Water has proven to be a bedtime favorite, especially for my little girl. Perhaps it is because every young child can relate to Anna, who just wants to do what all the big kids are doing – in this case, carrying a can of water from the river to her house not in her hands but on her head, without spilling a drop. The circumstances in which she finally realizes her dream are both sweet and funny. Based on the author’s own childhood in Jamaica, Anna Carries Water is a delightful book about a young girl’s determination and her loving family’s encouragement.

I Like the Me I See! is inspired by the title track from the album I Like the Me I See! by Culture Queen. This anthem of self-love is accompanied by gorgeous illustrations of Culture Queen engaging in everyday activities with young fans. The text helps children celebrate every aspect of themselves, from their skin and hair to their knees and feet. The beauty and usefulness of each part of the body are demonstrated. For example, knees can bend to do yoga, and noses can smell flowers. This beautiful gift book teaches kids to say, “I am who I’m supposed to be!”

I have a super fan of the early chapter book series Zoey and Sassafras. (You can read my review of an earlier book). What’s not to love about a girl who (along with her cat Sassafras) uses science to help magical creatures? The young whiz and her faithful cat return in Grumplets and Pests, using their magical contacts and the power of science to discover why everyone in the forest is suddenly so irritable, despite the long sunny summer days. Are grumplets, the mysterious creatures everyone blames, actually real or just a fairy tale? Can Zoey crack the case before they all end up arguing? And what does this all have to do with the pests that keep eating her kale plants? This highly readable book showcases how useful (and fun!) science can be and even includes the steps so that you can replicate some of Zoey’s experiments at home.

Sanity & Tallulah are best friends who just happen to live in outer space. To keep life on the small space station from getting too boring, red-haired Tallulah buries herself in comics, while Sanity tinkers in the lab. But when Sanity’s latest experiment – an oversized three-headed kitten – escapes from the lab and starts causing damage to the station’s wiring, the best friends must do whatever it takes to find her to avoid danger to their space community. And to keep from getting grounded! Their sleuthing undercovers an even bigger problem to be solved, one that threatens the very existence of the space station. Can they solve it without landing themselves in even more hot water?

Author Molly Brooks was inspired to create this middle-grade graphic novel by a friend. A friend suggested the theme “science-fiction teen girl detectives.” I love imagining what life would be like for kids on a space station. And that, in the end, the senior engineer on board trusts budding scientist Sanity to play a critical role in fixing the problem.

Related Posts:

Multicultural Children’s Books Are Seriously Important and Here’s Why

Finding Your Story in Diverse Books

Windows & Mirrors: Choosing Multicultural Books

Don’t miss our blog hops from 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, and 2014.

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Owner/Blogger at All Done Monkey
Leanna is a stay at home mother to three sweet, funny, rambunctious children. She draws inspiration from the Writings of the Bahá'í Faith and tries to raise her children in a fun, spiritual, loving environment. She and her husband, who is from Costa Rica, are raising their children to be bilingual and bicultural but more importantly to be "world citizens." Leanna blogs at All Done Monkey and is the founder of Multicultural Kid Blogs.
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