African American Read-alouds for Grades K to 3

For more reading ideas, talk to a children’s librarian. Call 217/403 — 2030 or e-mail

  • Amazing Grace (Picture Books/E/Hof) by Mary Hoffman. Everyone says that Grace can’t be Peter Pan. After her Nana takes her to see a beautiful ballerina, she knows that she can be anything she wants.
  • Be Boy Buzz (Picture Books/E/Hoo) by Bell Hooks. A poem-song that celebrates being a boy.
  • Brothers of the Knight (Juvenile Nonfiction/J398.21/All) by Debbie Allen. In this contemporary retelling of the fairy tale “Twelve Dancing Princesses,” an African-American reverend in Harlem endeavors to discover why the shoes of his twelve sons are worn to pieces every morning.
  • The Blues of Flats Brown (Picture Books/E/Mye) by Walter Dean Myers. The story of a blues playing dog who runs away to strum guitar in the big city.
  • The Chicken Chasing Queen of Lamar County (Picture Books/E/Harrington) by Janice Harrington. She tried hard to be good but she couldn’t do it. Charlette just loooooooves chasing chickens.
  • My Big Brother (Picture Books/E/Coh) by Miriam Cohen. Life changes when a young boy’s big brother joins the army.
  • Hewitt Anderson’s Great Big Life (Picture Books/E/Nol) by Jerdine Nolen. His parents are giants but Hewitt is very, very, very small. His parents are worried about their son. They don’t think hevll find a place in this big world. Hewitt will surprise them.
  • Hot City (Picture Books/E/Joo) by Barbara Joose. On a really hot day, two kids discover that the best place to be is the library.
  • I Love My Hair! (Picture Books/E/Tar) by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley. Ouch! Keyana does not love her hair. But then her mother tells her all the reasons why her hair is wonderful.
  • Thunder Rose (Picture Books/E/Nol) by Jerdine Nolen. She rides a bull. She wrestles tornadoes. She carries a thunderbolt made out of barbed wire. Let’s just say, she’s different.