The Best African American Children’s Picture Books for 2020
Also Check Out the Top 154 Recommended African-American Children’s Books — 1972 and 2020.

This list was compiled by the African American Children’s Book Project (AACBP). They have supported the literary needs of the nation since 1992. The not-for-profit organization was formed to promote and preserve children’s literature written by or about African Americans. Since its inception they have emphasized,“A Book Opens Up a World of Opportunities.”

They collaborate with authors; illustrators; publishers; booksellers, like AALBC.com; educators; consumers; and corporate entities interested in literacy. Their programs stress the role that access and choice play in building lifelong readers. Their stellar programs include: book fairs, book signings, workshops, I Read To See Me (author/illustrator virtual/in-school visits), educating consumers on trends/resources in youth literature, guidance on establishing home libraries and advocacy initiative to promote Black literature around the world.

Their signature event is The African American Children’s Book Fair — since 1992 — is one of the largest single-day gatherings for diverse children’s books in the country. Picture books are one of the most popular categories purchased at this event.

Twenty-Twenty was a banner year for Black picture books. While there was a lot of buzz about children’s social justice titles many missed some of the best books of our generation featured on our list. The AACBP believes if you want to educate on social justice you have to teach Black history.

Also, visit The Brown Bookshelf, a terrfic website which showcases the best in Picture Books, Middle Grade, and Young Adult book written and illustrated by Black creators.

Purchase all 30 picture books (the books will be shipped for free and sales tax will only be collected on orders shipping to Florida).

Book cover image of A Girl Like Me

A Girl Like Me
Written by Angela Johnson
Illustrated by Nina Crews
Millbrook Press (Feb)

Book cover image of A Ride to Remember: A Civil Rights Story

A Ride to Remember: A Civil Rights Story
Written by Sharon Langley
Illustrated by Floyd Cooper
Abrams Books for Young Readers (Mar)

Book cover image of A Story about Afiya

A Story about Afiya
Written by James Berry
Illustrated by Anna Cunha
Lantana Publishing (Apr)

Book cover image of A Voice Named Aretha

A Voice Named Aretha
Written by Katheryn Russell-Brown
Illustrated by Laura Freeman
Bloomsbury Publishing (Jan)

Book cover image of Above the Rim: How Elgin Baylor Changed Basketball

Above the Rim: How Elgin Baylor Changed Basketball
Written by Jen Bryant
Illustrated by Frank Morrison
Abrams Books for Young Readers (Oct)

Book cover image of All Because You Matter

All Because You Matter
Written by Tami Charles
Illustrated by Bryan Collier
Orchard Books (Oct)

Book cover image of Bedtime Bonnet

Bedtime Bonnet
Written by Nancy Redd
Illustrated by Nneka Myers
Random House Books for Young Readers (Apr)

Book cover image of Bedtime for Sweet Creatures

Bedtime for Sweet Creatures
Written by Nikki Grimes
Illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky (Jan)

Book cover image of Black Is a Rainbow Color

Black Is a Rainbow Color
Written by Angela Joy
Illustrated by Ekua Holmes
Roaring Brook Press (Jan)

Book cover image of Cool Cuts

Cool Cuts
Written by Mechal Renee Roe
Illustrated by Mechal Renee Roe
Doubleday Books for Young Readers (Feb)

Book cover image of Flying Free: How Bessie Coleman’s Dreams Took Flight

Flying Free: How Bessie Coleman’s Dreams Took Flight
Written by Karyn Parsons
Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (Dec)

Book cover image of I Am Every Good Thing

I Am Every Good Thing
Written by Derrick Barnes
Illustrated by Gordon C. James
Nancy Paulsen Books (Sep)

Book cover image of I Believe I Can

I Believe I Can
Written by Grace Byers
Illustrated by Keturah A. Bobo
Balzer & Bray/Harperteen (Mar)

Book cover image of I Promise

I Promise
Written by Lebron James
Illustrated by Nina Mata
HarperCollins (Aug)

Book cover image of Just Like a Mama

Just Like a Mama
Written by Alice Faye Duncan
Illustrated by Charnelle Pinkney Barlow
Denene Millner Books (Mar)

Book cover image of Kamala and Maya’s Big Idea

Kamala and Maya’s Big Idea
Written by Meena Harris
Illustrated by Ana Ramírez González
Balzer & Bray/Harperteen (Jun)

Book cover image of Nana Akua Goes to School

Nana Akua Goes to School
Written by Tricia Elam Walker
Illustrated by April Harrison
Schwartz & Wade (Jun)

Book cover image of Overground Railroad

Overground Railroad
Written by Lesa Cline-Ransome
Illustrated by James Ransome
Holiday House (Jan)

Book cover image of Red Shoes

Red Shoes
Written by Karen English
Illustrated by Ebony Glenn
Scholastic Inc (Sep)

Book cover image of The Little Mermaid

The Little Mermaid
Written by Jerry Pinkney
Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (Nov)

Book cover image of The Old Truck

The Old Truck
Written by Jarrett Pumphrey and Jerome Pumphrey
Illustrated by
Norton Young Readers (Jan)

Book cover image of Tiara’s Hat Parade

Tiara’s Hat Parade
Written by Kelly Starling Lyons
Illustrated by Nicole Tadgell
Albert Whitman & Company (Apr)

Book cover image of Welcome to the Party

Welcome to the Party
Written by Gabrielle Union
Illustrated by Ashley Evans
HarperCollins (May)

Book cover image of Your Name Is a Song

Your Name Is a Song
Written by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow
Illustrated by Luisa Uribe
The Innovation Press (Jul)