Spring has arrived! Don't miss this go-to list of spring-inspired children's books by Black authors. Dream big, explore the outdoors, discover new adventures, and so much more.
"Sulwe" by Lupita Nyong’o, illustrated by Vashti Harrison
"Sulwe" tops our list due to its incredible reviews by charmed families -- and who couldn’t love a well-crafted storybook by the uber-talented Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o? Featuring stunning illustrations by Vashti Harrison, Sulwe has won multiple prestigious awards due to its message: “love the skin [you] are in and see the beauty that radiates within.” Listen to this free Sulwe read aloud, narrated by none other than Lupita Nyong’o herself.
"Where’s Rodney?" by Carmen Bogan, illustrated by Floyd Cooper
Rodney daydreams all day about the small park between his home and school. Where is Rodney? He may be at home or school, but his mind imaginatively wanders outside, where he loves being the most. As if by magic, Rodney is transformed when he finally encounters a huge park -- a great, big park where he can peacefully be. Check out this wonderful "Where’s Rodney?" read aloud on YouTube.
"Tasha’s Voice" by Carmen Bogan, illustrated by Floyd Cooper
From the author-illustrator duo who created "Where’s Rodney?," the not-yet-released storybook "Tasha’s Voice" takes place at the same beautiful park. Tasha finds it difficult to speak at school, but does she find her voice once she discovers her love of the great outdoors? Pre-order Tasha’s Voice now from AALBC, whose mission is to “sell books by or about people of African Descent.”
"Water, Water" by Eloise Greenfield, illustrated by Jan Spivey Gilchrist
Eloise Greenfield is an award-winning poet with a mission to write in "Water, Water" about all the delightful experiences kids can have when they discover and play with water -- whether this be indoor sinks or outdoor puddles and pools. This quietly philosophical book will encourage young children to appreciate and creatively think about water in new ways by following the journey of a playful child.
"Ty’s Travels" (series) by Kelly Starling Lyons, illustrated by Nina Mata
"Ty’s Travels" follows an imaginative, energetic young boy named Ty who uses his creativity and love of nature to explore the great outdoors and make new friends along the way. Ty’s unapologetic playfulness will encourage young readers to follow his fun journeys and learn how to use the power of their imaginations. Check out all the books in the series: "All Aboard!," "Zip Zoom," and "Beach Day."
"She Loved Baseball: The Effa Manley Story" by Audrey Vernick, illustrated by Don Tate
This nonfiction book follows Effa Manley (1897 - 1981), the only woman inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame for her executive work. Effa Manley spent her childhood watching the legendary Babe Ruth play in the Yankee Stadium -- and her adulthood breaking barriers by being the owner of the Newark Eagles. This book shows all girls and boys that they can and should shoot (or swing!) for the stars. Check out this awesome read aloud on YouTube.
"Your Name is a Song" by Jamilah Thompkins Bigelow, illustrated by Luisa Uribe
"Your Name is a Song" follows a little girl who is upset that everyone continues to mispronounce her name. On a walk back home, the girl’s mother teaches the girl that her name is beautiful -- and that names from all cultures are beautiful and lyrical. Will the girl be able to use this new information to teach classmates, teachers, and friends to start pronouncing her name properly? Watch this free read aloud.
"Max and the Tag-Along Moon" written & illustrated by Floyd Cooper
Max’s grandfather promises young Max that they both see the same moon at night -- and that the moon will follow Max all the way home. Max worries once clouds roll through the sky to cover up the moon, but learns something about his grandfather along the way. Watch this read aloud on YouTube.
"The Other Side" by Jacqueline Woods illustrated by E.B. Lewis
With beautiful, fluid watercolor illustrations by E.B. Lewis, "The Other Side" tells the story of two young girls: Clover, who lives in the Black side of town, and Anna, who lives in the white side of town. Despite Clover’s mom warning her of the dangers of crossing the fence, will Clover find a way to develop a friendship with Anna? Watch the read aloud here.
"Bird" by Zetta Elliott, illustrated by Shadra Strickland
Mekhai, called Bird by his late grandfather, uses drawing to create freedom and security as he copes with his grandfather’s death and brother’s addiction. "Bird" is the recipient of multiple awards and deserves to be read this spring due to its discussion on new beginnings. Check out the read aloud here.
Read to Succeed Asheville/Buncombe (R2S) is a local, independent nonprofit on a mission to close the