TRC Read to Kids

Welcome to The Reading Connection’s blog, where you’ll find the best guidance on reading aloud to kids. Whether you are a TRC Read-Aloud volunteer, parent or student, the book themes and crafts ideas, child development guidelines and recommended websites will expand your world. For 25 years, The Reading Connection has worked to improve the lives of at-risk kids by linking the magic of reading to fun experiences that inspire a passion for learning. Visit our website at

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Finding African American Children's Books

In a picture book, it is easier for kids to relate to the characters if the characters look like they do. Finding culturally diverse books takes time and expertise, but is well worth your efforts.

Here are some sources we recommend for assistance in finding books featuring African American characters and themes.

Each year, the American Library Association (ALA) awards the Coretta Scott King Book Awards, which "recognize outstanding books for young adults and children by African American authors and illustrators that reflect the African American experience" (ALA website). Recent award winners can be found here and include titles such as Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave and Jimi — Sounds Like a Rainbow: A Story of the Young Jimi Hendrix.

The Black Caucus of the National Council for Teachers of English has compiled a list of books for young children, which lists books by author and title. The Arlington Public Library has also compiled its own list, in coordination with Black History Month. The Arrowhead Library System in Wisconsin put together another good list, divided by age.

Try browsing the lists to find something that works with your theme. Or choose a variety of books from the lists and you'll be sure to have a great selection for your Read-Aloud.

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