Our Favorite Picture Books With Black Protagonists

Curious, hopeful, adventurous, kind: your kid is a marvel, no doubts about it, and their bookshelf should be full of books just as vibrant and complex as they are. Recent data shows that when they open a book and see a protagonist who looks like them, children are more likely to feel validated, experience an increase in self-worth, and continue to explore reading

So say hello to Stacey, Zuri, Jabari, and the other Black main characters who star in some of our favorite diverse books out there! Below, you’ll find the best picture books with Black protagonists who are living their lives, having fun, experiencing new things, and tackling challenges – just like your kiddo. 

Read on to meet some of these wonderful Black characters, or visit our bundles page and purchase some of the titles listed below. When you buy from ColorPop Books, a portion of your purchase is donated to our Donation Fund, which fills the shelves of historically underfunded schools -- so you're not only helping to put representative books in the hands of your child, but children all across the country.

Let Stacey teach your kid about perseverance

Stacey loves words more than anything, but facing her bully in the school spelling bee is making her feel pretty nervous. Luckily, she’s got perseverance on her side. Written by voting rights activist Stacey Abrams, Stacey’s Extraordinary Words will help your child stick with it in the moments that count. 

Celebrate your child’s natural beauty with Zuri

Zuri’s beautiful hair has a mind of its own, and when a special occasion demands a special hairstyle, her daddy is only too happy to step up. Hair Love, by Matthew A. Cherry, is a vibrant picture book that celebrates the beauty of Black hair and the power of familial love.

Join Ruby in conquering anxiety

When Ruby’s worry gets too big to manage, she tries everything to make it go away. Sharing her worry with others finally helps her feel less alone… and sets the worry free. Ruby’s Worry, by Tom Percival, is a beautiful story that will comfort your child and teach them how to move through their anxieties.

Perfect the art of permission with Aria

Everyone wants to touch Aria’s hair – and Aria has had enough! Don’t Touch My Hair!, by Sharee Miller, is the perfect book for showing your reader the power of asking for permission and saying no.

Cultivate your kid’s curiosity with Ada

Is your child curious like Ada? In Ada Twist, Scientist, by Andrea Beatty, Ada’s imagination propels her to ask all kinds of questions, and even get into trouble. Inspired by real life scientists like Ada Lovelace and Marie Curie, this book will celebrate your child’s ability to ask, “Why?”

Jump into the unknown with Jabari

Sometimes, kids need a little extra help overcoming their fears. In Gaia Cornwall’s Jabari Jumps, Jabari and his father teach readers that it’s okay to need a little extra time and encouragement to tackle big challenges.

Ask the big questions with Katherine

Katherine loves counting, and has big dreams. Counting on Katherine, by Helaine Becker, will lead your reader through one real life scientist’s incredible development, from math class all the way to charting the flight path for the first Apollo mission to the moon.

Explore all kinds of family transitions with Aidan’s help

When Aidan came out as a transgender boy, his parents helped him create the life he wanted. Now that he has a new sibling coming, Aidan wants to make sure the baby has everything she wants, right from the beginning. When Aidan Became a Brother, by Kyle Lukoff, lovingly depicts all the ways in which families transition and support one another.

Let Nigel show your child the power of dreams

Nigel has a lot of dreams for his future, but doesn’t want to tell his classmates just yet – so he tells the moon instead. Antwan Eady’s Nigel and the Moon is a beautiful story that will teach your reader to believe in themself while still feeling proud of where, and who, they come from.

Ready to explore some of these books for yourself? Check out the Being Brave Bundle, Girls in STEM Bundle, ColorPop Bundle, and Safe and Secure Bundle.