PUBLISHERS OF AFRICAN AND AFRO-AMERICAN CHILDREN BOOKS IN THE DIASPORA

Muna Kalati

It’s often difficult for African parents to find books for their kids online. Below is a list of diasporic publishers specialized in African and Afro-american children books. You can find much more interesting content on their respective website which have directly been added to ease things.

1. LITTLE PROUD KID

Little Proud Kid was founded by Georgia Lobban, a mom on a mission. Wanting to reflect her daughter’s beauty through books and dolls, she was surprised to find that there were so few options available. The company sells culturally relevant books for children 3-15+ years old, and covers a truly diverse range of perspectives beyond race and gender to different countries of origin and physical abilities, too.

You can purchase Full, Full, Full of Love on Amazon or Bookshop.

2. DENENE MILLNER BOOKS

Denene Millner Books “is a love letter to children of color who deserve to see their beauty and humanity in the most remarkable form of entertainment on the planet: books.” The books bring a sweet and relatable take on the everyday, from having an invisible friend like in There’s a Dragon in My Closet to performing in the choir in Early Sunday Morning to getting a haircut in Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut, which just may have won every possible award and recognition available in children’s books. You can purchase Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut on Amazon or Bookshop.

3. JUST US BOOKS

Necessity remains the mother of invention—and the need “for children’s books that reflected the diversity of Black history, heritage and experiences” led parents Wade and Cheryl Hudson to launch Just Us Books 30 years ago. Out of the desire to provide children with books which accurately depict Black experiences and heritage, the Hudson’s managed to create a company that is now regarded as a renowned leader in multicultural publishing. When it comes to genres, they feature board & pre-k books, picture books, chapter books, middle grade books, and several others on the website. At present, Just Us Books accept both agented and unagented queries for middle reader titles (ages 9-12), picture books, and for chapter books (ages 7-9).

The publishing company has received accolades over the years from grown ups and children alike for their wide array of children’s and young adult books. You can purchase Songs I Love to Sing on Amazon or Bookshop.

4. THE BROWN BOOKSHELF

The Brown Bookshelf has made it their mission to shine a spotlight on the many Black authors and illustrators creating books for African-American children. You can follow their blog to learn about just released books or celebrate old-school pioneers in children’s literature. You can purchase No Small Potatoes on Amazon or Bookshop.

5. PLUM STREET PRESS

Plum Street Press is the publisher behind the 5-year-old-boy-genius-with-a-fro book series, and more. You can also purchase Jaden Toussaint: The Greatest Episode 1 on Amazon or Bookshop.

6. KUJICHAGULIA PRESS

Kujichagulia Press (kujichagulia means “self-determination”) offers Black children and families educational materials steeped in an Afrocentric worldview. You can purchase Telling Time With Benjamin Banneker and Sekou on Amazon or Bookshop.

7. LEE AND LOW BOOKS

Founded in 1991, Lee & Low Books is a New York-based multicultural children’s book publisher. Their website features six main categories, respectively PreK – Grade 2, Grades 3 – 6, Grades 6 – 8, Grades 9 – 12, leveled reading, and cultures. The latter includes books of African/African American interest, Asian/Asian American interest, Latino interest, as well as a few others.

Lee and Low Books is known in book publishing for publishing diverse titles for kids of all ages. You can buy Telling Time With Benjamin Banneker and sekou on Amazon 

8. EOTO BOOKS

Eoto Books is a boutique publisher that carries books focused on mining African-Americans rich history for stories and lessons. “

9. MAHOGANY BOOKS

Online bookstore Mahogany Books has a number of young adult fiction across genres to choose from, as well as nonfiction books that cover African-American history, race, and politics. You can purchase A Blade So Black on Amazon or Bookshop

10. MAKE A WAY MEDIA

Books can teach kids hard facts like geography and history, and soft, yet-no-less-important, skills like empathy and kindness. Make A Way Media is definitely meant to teach the latter. Its books focus on spreading positivity and instilling gratitude with each turn of the page. You can purchase If a Caterpillar Can Fly, Why Can’t I? on Amazon or Bookshop.

11. TANGLED PRESS

Tangled Press’ founding story is one that many a parent can relate to: Hearing their beautiful, brown baby tell them they wish they were white and had blonde, straight hair. Yolanda created the characters Curlilocks and Story Bird Dance—heroines with brown skin and big curly hair—for her daughter, and other readers who need the reminder that the skin they’re in is beautiful and special. You can purchase Big Bad hairbrush on Amazon.

12. WE READ TOO

The We Read Too app, created by developer Kaya Thomas, brings a number of diverse authors and titles right in the palm of your hand. You can discover hundreds of books written by or featuring people of color. You can purchase The Mighty Miss Malone on Amazon.

13. KOKILA

Penguin Young Readers has launched Kokila, “a new imprint which will be dedicated to centering stories from the margins with books that add nuance and depth to the way children and young adults see the world and their place in it.”

14. THE ENGLISH SCHOOLHOUSE

The English Schoolhouse is a boutique publishing house featuring a variety of Black children’s books, from fantastical tales of myths and legends to bedtime stories. You can purchase Elijah Everett, Kid Principal on Amazon.

15. Mahogany Books

The product of Ramunda and Mahogany Young’s desire to empower the people who belong to their culture, Mahogany Books is a publishing company currently located in Washington, DC. Initially an online bookstore, the business has been featured in NBC, Vanity Fair Magazine, the Washington Post, as well as in a few more outlets. At present, Mahogany Books is a publisher that promotes books by, for, and about people of the African Diaspora.

They are mainly interested in fiction, children & young adult, cultural literature, and in nonfiction. The second category involves books for children of ages 0-8, 9-12, as well as for teenagers. A few examples of such titles are Bronzeville – Boys and Girls, written by Gwendolyn Brooks and illustrated by Faith Ringgold, and Malcolm Little: The Little Boy Who Grew Up To Become Malcolm X, written by Ilyasah Shabazz and illustrated by AG Ford.

In order to be able to collaborate with them, your books have to be distributed by their primary vendor, which is Ingram Books Group. If this is the case, feel free to complete and send this form – they will let you know if they’re interested. To learn more, click here.

16. Third World Press Foundation

With an experience of more than 50 years in the field, Third World Press is a foundation established by Haki R. Madhubuti in 1967 in Chicago, Illinois. Since their targeted market consists of African American readers, it seems rather self-explanatory that their publications tackle African American themes, issues, and critique for the most part – this is because their purpose is that of helping their audience learn about cultural traditions, while also trying to reach people who are either young, or less scholarly-focused.

17. Brown Girls Books

Located in the US, Brown Girls Books is a boutique publishing company established by Victoria Christopher Murray and ReShonda Tate Billingsley. Victoria is one of the most renowned African-American novelists in the country and the winner of the Phyllis Wheatley Award, among others, while ReShonda is an award-winning TV and newspaper journalist, and the author of more than 40 books.

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