February 28, 2022
Beginning annually on the last Sunday of February, Black Children’s Book Week is a global celebration of Black children and the people who ensure Black children are represented in books and other children’s media. The week is administered by Black Baby Books, a platform that makes it easier to discover children’s books with Black characters.
To celebrate the week, the Daymaker team read and reflected on some of our wishlist favorites — books we make available for gifting during Daymaker campaigns. These books are written by Black authors who feature Black characters, center the diverse cultural experiences of Black children. Join in the celebration with #BlackChildrensBookWeek
The Proudest Blue by Ibtihaj Muhammad and S.K. Ali
There are so many reasons to love The Proudest Blue. The beauty of the hijab is solidly affirmed by the mother, and it is her words that echo through young Faizah’s mind as she faces confusion, uncertainty, and even meanness from others. Those same affirmations built stark confidence in the eldest sister, Asiya, such that her grace and behavior can model strength for her younger sister.
Black Children’s Book Week is a celebration of the stories, illustrations, characters, authors, and artists who validate Black children. What a wonderful gift to be able to see oneself – both who you are and who you could be – on the magical pages of a book.
The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander
An interesting element of The Undefeated is how it uses terms typically associated with sports to view the physicality and power required for Black people to endure many of the 'unspeakable' circumstances throughout American history. Acknowledging both famous athletes and anonymous forebears inspires young readers that they can reach lofty heights of accomplishment, but that their place and worthiness is already more than validated through the legacy of what their ancestors overcame.
A magical element of the book is that you can envision yourself as part of an unfolding narrative that's bigger than what you previously imagined. A child's conception of what's possible for their own life might expand by reading a book and learning of what another has pursued. Representation matters for that imagination to feel personal. Black Children's Book Week is about celebrating the authors and works that help children feel seen and inspired, and I'm grateful that Daymaker can play a role in getting these books in the hands of young readers.
I Got the Rhythm by Connie Schofield-Morrison
I really enjoyed how fun the progression of the little girl experiencing rhythm was. Her finding rhythm in everything from butterflies to street performers was joyous. The illustration also goes a long way in creating a jubilant experience while reading.
Sulwe by Lupita Nyong’o
This book beautifully engages with the societal prejudice against dark skin and exposes it for the lie it is. Lupita Nyong’o shows us in aching relief the difficulty Sulwe faces in learning that her skin isn’t as valued as her light-skinned sister. In searching for a way to lighten herself, Sulwe learns a mythic story with a real truth, unlocking her confidence along the way. This search for a way to love ourselves unflinchingly in the face of prejudice is as human as it gets, and until all prejudice is done away with in its time, we need stories like this to show us the way to self-acceptance. Black Children’s Book Week makes space for stories like these, and in so doing is indispensable.
All Because You Matter by Tami Charles
I love how this story reinforces understanding your individual value. In spite of what the world around us may try to impose upon us, the reminder to focus on who we are and the impact potential that we have in the world is prevalent throughout this reading. Even though we may know that we have value, life situations will sometimes call for us to remember that we are valuable. Black Children's Book Week is important to me because representation is important. I truly believe that it is important for Black children to be exposed to the world, the best way to do that aside from real life experience is to let the imagination evolve through reading and literature.
Don’t Touch My Hair by Sheree Miller
A meaningful, relatable story for so many Black children who must brave a society that has enabled the festishization, appropriation, and criminalization of Black hairstyles, culture, and livelihoods. Aria, the main character, teaches us the ever-present importance of boundaries and self-assertion, while also opening conversations about consent and bodily autonomy. Black Children’s Book Week is not only about celebrating Black people’s legacies of creative storytelling that instill both universal and culturally specific truths, but also about reminding Black people that we never have to struggle alone — the week is about seeing and being seen.