#CybilsAwards Book Lists: Celebrating the Black Experience for Younger Readers

Before we wrap things up completely and move off into the post-season, I wanted to give a shout-out to the books celebrating the Black Experience on the younger end of the reading age. We’ll be quiet for a bit, but then we’ll pick up with backlist lists. If you have any good theme suggestions, let us know!

Baby Young, Gifted, and Black: With a Mirror!
by Jamia Wilson, illustrated by Andrea Pippins
Wide Eyed Editions

by Ruth Forman, illustrated by Geneva Bowers
Little Simon

“A joyous celebration of the delights of hair, shared in big beautiful pictures and little poems.” – Deb Nance

by Ruth Forman, illustrated by Geneva Bowers
Little Simon

“With gorgeously vivid illustrations, this book will help any Black boy see himself as something just as precious and beautiful as the moon that glows in the sky!” – Nicole at Feed Your Fiction Addiction

Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem
by Amanda Gorman, illustrated by Loren Long
Viking Books for Young Readers

“Children will feel empowered to make small and big changes in their lives and the world after be uplifted with this anthem.” – Jodie at Growing Book by Book

Hair Story
by NoNieqa Ramos, illustrated by Keisha Morris
Carolrhoda Books

Janjak and Freda Go to the Citadelle
by Elizabeth Turnbull
Light Messages Publishing

My Lucky Skin
by Omerine Aseh, MD; illus. Maria Lia Malendrino
Brown Books Publishing Group

Njinga of Ndongo and Matamba
by Ekiuwa Aire/Natalia Popova
Our Ancestories

“The true story of a strong woman leader in Africa. Inspiring. Beautifully illustrated.” – Deb Nance

The Big Day
by Terry Lee Caruthers; Illustrated by Robert Casilla
Star Bright Books

When We Say Black Lives Matter
by Maxine Beneba Clarke
Candlewick Press

“When We Say Black Lives Matter has simple poetic text that packs a powerful punch.” – Sam at littlecubliteracy

The Protest
by Samantha Thornhill, illustrated by Shirley Ng-Benitez and Shirley Ng-Benitez
Lee & Low Books, Inc.

“When We Say Black Lives Matter has simple poetic text that packs a powerful punch.” – Thompson at Young Adult Books

J.D. and the Family Business
by J. Dillard, illustrated by Akeem S. Roberts

“When We Say Black Lives Matter has simple poetic text that packs a powerful punch.” – TheBrookeList

A Plan for the People: Nelson Mandela’s Hope for His Nations
by Lindsey McDivitt and illustrated by Charly Palmer
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers

“It’s a balanced look at a complicated life. It could be a good introduction about how to overcome racism as individuals and communities.” – Genevieve Ford

Shirley Chisholm Dared: The Story of the First Black Woman in Congress
by Alicia D. Williams, illustrated by April Harrison
Anne Schwartz Books

“This could be the ticket to inspiring contemporary kids to make a difference, to be somebody, to reach beyond arbitrary boundaries, as Shirley did throughout her life.” – Sandy Brehl

Swish!: The Slam-Dunking, Alley-Ooping, High-Flying Harlem Globetrotters
by Suzanne Slade, illustrated by Don Tate
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

“The text reveals the injustice and hardship, but also the joyful physicality of the Harlem Globetrotters. ” – Sandy Brehl

Sylvia and Marsha Start a Revolution!: The Story of the Trans Women of Color Who Made LGBTQ+ History
by Joy Michael Ellison, illustrated by Teshika Silver
Jessica Kingsley Publishers

“Sylvia and Marsha Start a Revolution is a bit simplified, but vibrant and joyful” – Sandy Brehl

The Highest Tribute: Thurgood Marshall’s Life, Leadership, and Legacy
by Kekla Magoon, illustrated by Laura Freeman
Quill Tree Books

“One of the strongest picture books I’ve read this year! ” – Sandy Brehl

Baseball’s Leading Lady: Effa Manley and the Rise and Fall of the Negro Leagues
by Andrea Williams
Roaring Brook Press

Kids on the March: 15 Stories of Speaking Out, Protesting, and Fighting for Justice
by Michael Long
Algonquin Young Readers

Mightier Than the Sword: Rebels, Reformers, and Revolutionaries Who Changed the World Through Writing
by Rochelle Melander, illustrated by Melina Ontiveros
Beaming Books

“This easy to read compilation of writings by forty “rebels, reformers and revolutionaries who changed the world” will be an inspiration to aspiring middle graders writers.” – Susan Dobrodt

This Is Your Time

by Ruby Bridges
Beaming Books

“Through the simple and hopeful descriptions of her experience, we learn about the protests and the hatred directed toward Ruby, but we also learn about her loving teacher and her delight in learning.” – Susan Dobrodt

Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre

by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Floyd Cooper
Carolrhoda Books

“This picture book paints a powerful portrait of a thriving community, the horrid injustice that destroyed it a century ago this year, and what every individual, young or old, can learn from the tragedy that occurred. ” – Completely Full Bookshelf

We’re Better Than This: Young Readers’ Edition: My Fight for the Future of Our Democracy

by Elijah Cummings

A Soft Place to Land

by Janae Marks
Katherine Tegen Books

“Solid middle grade fiction with real kid issues.” – Julie Williams at Middle Grade is Lit

Being Clem
by Lesa Cline-Ransome
Holiday House

Fast Pitch

by Nic Stone
Crown Books for Young Readers

“A well needed sports book for girl with a powerful message about how we continue to treat people.” – Julie Williams at Middle Grade is Lit

Partly Cloudy
by Tanita S. Davis
Katherine Tegen Books

“The story tackles the issue of racism with sensitivity, highlighting Natalie’s misjudgments and Madalyn’s feelings with an authentic real life feel.” – Brenda at Log Cabin Library

Playing the Cards You’re Dealt
by Varian Johnson
Scholastic Press

“I love that Johnson gets the middle grade audience, tackling touch subjects like addiction and masculinity without talking down to his readers. ” – Melissa at The Book Nut

Take Back the Block
by Chrystal D. Giles
Random House Books for Young Readers

“TAKE BACK THE BLOCK is an inspiring, empowering story about the importance of speaking out and working to further causes you believe in.” – Susan