This is a list of empowering books for little black boys, by black authors. It is important that we really start to appreciate media, content and literature made for us, by us. Nobody can tell our story the way we can and inspire our children the way we can. Little black boys have been beaten down by society, constantly. The consistent chiming in their ears that they aren’t good enough or that they won’t amount to anything.
I often wonder to myself, when does my sweet little boy who everybody wants to stop and talk to on the streets, who’s smile lights up the room… when does he stop being that little black boy and become a threat? Somebody who people fear on the street. Somebody who teachers treat differently. Somebody who parents don’t want their children hanging around. The list goes on…
But we aren’t here to talk about the negatives and ills of society – we are here to celebrate, uplift, inspire and remind our little black boys, our young princes, our future leaders who they are, where they come from and what they can achieve!
A lot of thought went into putting this list together; it is easy to just list a bunch of books with black boys on them but I wanted to ensure that one, the authors of these books who were either once little black boys themselves or mothers, aunties, sisters etc. to black boys, continue to get the recognition and support they deserve. And, two, that the books on this page were written with love and experience.
So without further ado and in no particular order – 30 Empowering Books, For Little Black Boys:
- I AM…: Positive Affirmations for Brown Boys by Ayesha Rodriguez
- Brown Boy Joy by Dr. Thomishia Booker
- Little Legends: Exceptional Men in Black History by Vashti Harrison
- Chocolate Me! by Taye Diggs
- The Sun Loves Me by Dynast Amir
- Brown Boy Brown Boy What Can You Be?
- Have You Thanked an Inventor Today?
- I Am Because I Choose by Patrice McLaurin
- Gary and the Great Inventors: It’s Laundry Day! by Akura Marshall
- The Ring Bearer by Floyd Cooper
- Bippity Bop Barbershop by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley
- Daddy Calls Me Man by Angela Johnson
- Daddy and I (English & Swahili) by Arielle Phoenix
- Full, Full, Full of Love by Trish Cooke
- Kinky Hair is Kingly Hair by Dynast Amir
- Young Pele: Soccer’s First Star by Lesa Cline-Ransome
- Riley Can Be Anything by Mrs. Davina Hamilton
- Riley Knows He Can by Mrs. Davina Hamilton
- Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes
- All Because You Matter by Tami Charles
- Cool Cuts by Mechal Renee Roe
- Son, You Are A King by Tená V. Baker
- I Believe I Can by Grace Byers
- Whose Toes Are Those by Jabari Asim
- ABC I Love Me by Miriam Muhammad
- Baby Boy, What Will You Be?
- For Beautiful Black Boys Who Believe in a Better World by Michael Waters
- I Know my Rights: Bill of Rights by Mysonne Linen
- Hey Black Child by Useni Eugene Perkins
- SUPERHERO LIKE ME: The True Story of Champions who Changed the World!
- Daddy’s Arms
Busy? Not really feeling scrolling through the list right now? Why not have a listen now and then come back to it later if you decide you like the sound of a book? 🙂
With over 2000 five-star reviews it isn’t hard to see why. This book, Positive Affirmations for Brown Boys has beautiful bright images coupled with rhyming verses throughout and a positive affirmation on every other page. As your little black boy reads this or repeats you as you read he will start to internalize these mantras beginning with the single most powerful phrase in the universe “I Am”
At 96 pages long, Little Legends: Exceptional Black Men in Black History has no shortage of its display of just that! The book is aimed at readers aged 8-12 but can be enjoyed by the whole family as you read and learn about the factual stories of some amazing black men and their achievements. (This book has also been printed as “Little Leaders” – just in case you have trouble finding it)
Chocolate Me! by Taye Diggs
Beautiful book for empowering little black boys who have been bullied or teased for their skin and hair. Written by actor, Taye Diggs in 2015, based on his experience growing up in America and feeling less than as a child and trying to fit in. This book is very relevant today.
This book by Dynast Amir features a lovely rhyming story empowering little black boys to feel proud of the skin they are in. The Sun Loves Me takes us on a beautiful journey of realization and positive affirmations.
This book encourages little black boys to think about their future and all the amazing career paths they can choose from – the sky is the limit!
This book is a great book for little black boys and girls to learn about inventors who look like them and all the wonderful and useful things they created. It chronicles the school day of a little black boy, highlighting different inventions that he uses throughout the day, all of which were invented by African-Americans.
I Am Because I Choose by Patrice McLaurin
Empowering little black boys to think for themselves and remember that they have the power of choice. I Am Because I Choose highlights this as a superpower snd teaches them that positive choices can have positive outcomes. The author adds “The book is also a wonderful Social Emotional Learning tool that can be easily used to help facilitate the core competencies of SEL.”
Gary and the Great Inventors: It’s Laundry Day! by Akura Marshall
Today is Laundry Day! My name is Gary and I love to learn about great inventors. Please join me as I learn about Thomas Jennings, the first African American to receive a patent for his invention in the United States.
The Ring Bearer by Floyd Cooper
Mama’s getting married, and Jackson has an important job to do! A story about love, weddings, and the special joy that is a blended family.
Jackson’s mama is getting married, and he gets to be the ring bearer. But Jackson is worried . . . What if he trips? Or walks too slowly? Or drops the rings? And what about his new stepsister, Sophie? She’s supposed to be the flower girl, but Jackson’s not sure she’s taking her job as seriously as she should.
In a celebration of blended families, this heartwarming story, stunningly illustrated by the award-winning Floyd Cooper, is a perfect gift for any child who’s nervous to walk down the aisle at a wedding, and shows kids that they can handle life’s big changes.
Bippity Bop Barbershop by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley
In this companion book to the bestselling I Love My Hair, a young boy, Miles, makes his first trip to the barbershop with his father. Like most little boys, he is afraid of the sharp scissors, the buzzing razor, and the prospect of picking a new hairstyle. But with the support of his dad, the barber, and the other men in the barbershop, Miles bravely sits through his first haircut. Written in a reassuring tone with a jazzy beat and illustrated with graceful, realistic watercolors, this book captures an important rite of passage for boys and celebrates African-American identity.
Daddy Calls Me Man by Angela Johnson
This story…consists of four short verses about the happy home life of a young African-American boy. Family love and the shared stories and symbols that connect the generations are pervasive themes.
‘Daddy and I’ is a bilingual rhyming book about the fun, playful and competitive bond between a father and son. Little black boys love to roughhouse and playfight with their daddies – this is a testament to that priceless relationship. The book is available in language pairs English & Swahili, English & Yoruba, English & Igbo and English & Twi.
Full, Full, Full of Love by Trish Cooke
A celebration of family time, sharing food together, and a Grandma’s hug full, full, full of love.
For Jay Jay, the youngest member of an exuberant extended family, Sunday dinner at Grannie’s can be full indeed – full of hugs and kisses, full of tasty dishes, full to the brim with happy faces, and full, full, full of love. With a special focus on the bond between little Jay Jay and his grannie, Trish Cooke introduces us to a family we are sure to want more, more, more of.
In “Kinky Hair is Kingly Hair,” Mansa is at it again. This time he’s out to set the record straight, proclaiming that whether you refer to it as “kinky” or “nappy”, this type of textured hair is synonymous with royalty.
For a little black boy who loves football, this book would be more than the perfect gift. To learn that the greatest footballer to ever do it was a young African boy from Brazil who went by the name Pelé would be very empowering. What Pelé was able to achieve as a teenager coming from very humble beginnings, playing football barefooted, inspired by his father’s passion for the game. Practicing with mangoes from the tree and discovering his ability to call on the power of his ancestors (Ginga) to pull off seemingly impossible moves. They called this style ‘primitive’ and wanted him to play their way, but ultimately this is what made him the greatest player in the world!
Riley Can Be Anything by Mrs. Davina Hamilton
The inspiring rhyming story follows Riley as he discovers some of the wonderful things he can do when he grows up. With the help of his big cousin Joe, Riley is taken on a series of imaginative journeys that allow him to realise he can be anything he wants to be.
Riley Knows He Can by Mrs. Davina Hamilton
Riley is excited about starring in his first school play – but his nerves keep getting the better of him. His Mummy and Daddy will be in the audience and Riley is excited that they’ll be there to watch him in his starring role as the wise king. In addition, Riley can’t wait to put on his costume – a kingly cape and crown! But he keeps getting overwhelmed by the butterflies in his tummy! What if he walks on the stage and freezes? Or what if he walks on the stage and sneezes? Thankfully, Riley’s big sister Ella is on hand. Not only did Ella help her little brother to practice his lines for the play, she also gives him the encouragement he needs to take to the stage with kingly confidence. With Ella’s help, Riley learns how to ditch the doubt and tell himself he can do it – because deep down, he knows he can!
The barbershop is where the magic happens. Boys go in as lumps of clay and, with princely robes draped around their shoulders, a dab of cool shaving cream on their foreheads, and a slow, steady cut, they become royalty. That crisp yet subtle line makes boys sharper, more visible, more aware of every great thing that could happen to them when they look good: lesser grades turn into As; girls take notice; even a mother’s hug gets a little tighter. Everyone notices.
A fresh cut makes boys fly.
All Because You Matter by Tami Charles
‘All Because You Matter’ is a poetic and loving message to little black boys.
Boys with natural black hair are celebrated in this bright, joyful read-together picture book that will have kids everywhere chanting the book’s chorus: “I am born to be awesome!”
When the stars shine, the world is mine! I am born to be awesome! My hair is free, just like me! I am born to be awesome!
Boys will love seeing strong, happy reflections of themselves in this vibrant, rhythmic picture book celebrating a diversity of hip black hairstyles. From a ‘fro-hawk to mini-twists and crisp cornrows, adorable illustrations of boys with cool curls, waves, and afros grace each page, accompanied by a positive message that will make kids cheer. It’s a great read-aloud to promote positive self-esteem to little black boys, building and growing the foundation of self-lov.
“Dear little black boy, you can be anything because you were born with everything you need.”When faced with bullying, low self-esteem, and self-doubt, how can black boys push through to find success in today’s society? This is the story of a boy losing his innocence and finding his power.
From the #1 New York Times bestselling creators of I Am Enough comes an empowering follow-up that celebrates every child’s limitless potential.
I Believe I Can is an affirmation for boys and girls of every background to love and believe in themselves.
Actress and activist Grace Byers and artist Keturah A. Bobo return with another gorgeously illustrated new classic that’s the perfect gift for baby showers, birthdays, or just for reading at home again and again.
My presence matters in this world. I know I can do anything, if only I believe I can.
A vibrant, playful verse that celebrates a beautiful brown baby’s adorable little toes, for fans of Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes.
Who do you suppose has such fine toes?So brown and sweet. Who could have such darling feet?
Snuggle with a child on your lap with this cheerful rhyme inspired by the classic giggle-inspiring game of This Little Piggy. With lush, adorable pictures from New York Times bestselling illustrator LeUyen Pham, reminiscent of the beloved work of Ezra Jack Keats, this interactive board book full of toddler appeal is a perfect baby gift for parent-child playtime.
ABC I Love Me takes black children along for a journey of self love, confidence, and adventure while teaching young learners positive affirmations for each letter of the alphabet. This book encourages children to accept their unique qualities, and promotes positive self-esteem and a healthy lifestyle.
On a cold winter day, a new mom snuggles with her baby boy and warms her heart with the thoughts of all the limitless possibilities that her baby can achieve in his lifetime. “When I gaze upon your face, there’s so much hope I see. As I gaze, I begin to wonder, just what you’ll grow up and be.”
The shootings keep coming, and so do Jeremiah’s questions. Dad doesn’t have easy answers, but that doesn’t mean he won’t talk about it—or that he won’t act. But what if Jeremiah doesn’t want to talk anymore? None of it makes sense, and he’s just a kid. Even if he wants to believe in a better world, is there anything he can do about it?
Inspired by real-life events, this honest, intimate look at one family’s response to racism and gun violence includes a discussion guide created by the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, Kentucky, a multicultural center and museum committed to promoting respect, hope, and understanding.
A portion of the publisher’s sales proceeds will be donated to nonprofit organizations that facilitate the empowerment of Black communities.
Empowering book for little black boys and girls growing up in America – I Know My Rights: Bill of Rights is a colorful book that will inform readers about the rights that they are guaranteed under the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Being a productive and responsible citizen requires having knowledge of the law. This is a book that the entire family will enjoy.
Six-time Coretta Scott King Award winner and four-time Caldecott Honor recipient Bryan Collier brings this classic, inspirational poem to life, written by poet Useni Eugene Perkins.
Hey black child,
Do you know who you are?
Who you really are?
Do you know you can be
What you want to be,
If you try to be
What you can be?
This lyrical, empowering poem celebrates black children and seeks to inspire all young people to dream big and achieve their goals.
A nice little book to show little black boys images of great black men who look like him, Superhero Like Me features 30 prominent black male figures, both historical and present.
“Daddy’s Arms,” is a fun and imaginative story of a young boy’s adventurous interactions with his dad. The story is written from the perspective of the child whose #imagination runs wild with fantasy during father/son time. Whether it’s playtime, bath time, or bedtime, each moment the two spend together becomes a new, colorful, exciting adventure.