In the nine years I've been sharing picture books on this blog, I've had LOADS to say about Martin Luther King, Jr. birthday recognitions. After reading this post, I invite you to use the search box in the right column menu to find previous featured titles. I've felt strongly positive about the books I chose to showcase, but MANY of them focus on history. MANY are biographic, inspiring and motivating and providing content that could have been missed in mainstream culture through relentlessly white-focused portrayal of American culture. Few, though, are contemporary, humorous, joyful, or playful. In large part that's because books of that type rarely existed. If they did they were the "precious few" that everyone already knew about. Think of Ezra Jack Keats's THE SNOWY DAY (and other titles).
The best news is that, as I began to assemble this collage of covers, I had to stop in order to have enough room for the rest of the blog post! These are only fifteen of my recent favorites, and there are so many more, including others that are featured in past posts on this very blog.
BLACK JOY PICTURE BOOKS!
To honor Martin Luther King, Jr. on this national holiday commemorating his birthday, I'll share this bounty of beautiful recent books portraying BLACK JOY! My celebration is that there are now so many picture books that portray readers of EVERY identity, allowing kids to see themselves in the pages of those contemporary exhuberant stories. My notes below will be a select few, but you can find more HERE, and HERE, and HERE, and HERE. In fact, while you check out those resources from others, you may want to subscribe to their blog posts, too!
Click the titles below to read some brief notes for any-and-all that appeal to you:
MIXED ME is written by Taye Diggs and illustrated by Shane W. Evans.
JABARI TRIES is written and illustrated by Gaia Cornwall
FOR BEAUTIFUL BLACK BOYS WHO BELIEVE IN A BETTER WORLD is written by Michael W. Waters and Illustrated by Keisha Morris.
JUST LIKE ME is written and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton.
MY RAINY DAY ROCKET SHIP is written by Market Sheppard and illustrated by Charley Palmer.
SWISH! The Slam-Dunking, Alley-Ooping, High-Flying Harlem Globetrotters is written by Sizanne Slade and Little illustrated by Don Tate.
MY HAIR IS MAGIC is written by M. L. Marroquin and illustrated by Tonya Engel.
BLACK IS A RAINBOW COLOR is written by Angela Joy and illustrated by Ekua Holmes.
NORMAN The Amazing Goldfish is written by Kelly Bennett and illustrated by Noah Z.
THE WORLD MADE A RAINBOW is written by Michelle Robinson and illustrated by Emily Hamilton.
ALL BECAUSE YOU MATTER is written by Tami Charles and illustrated by Bryan Collier.
EVELYN DEL REY IS MOVING AWAY is written by Meg medina and illustrated by Sonia Sanchez.
BROWN BABY LULLABY is written by Tameka Fryer Brown and illustrated by A. G. Ford.
HELP WANTED: MUST LOVE BOOKS written by Janet Sumner Johnson and illustrated by Courtney Dawson.
DUSK EXPLORERS is written by Lindsay Leslie and illustrated by Ellen Rooney.
Whew! Doesn't that look wonderful? Well, despite this joyful shift in focus and subject matter, here's the bad news. Based on data that is collected and analyzed annually about the patterns of the publishing industry for children's books, progress is being made, but at a glacial pace.
Minimal, barely budging progress.
2019 Data Analysis
“Keep Moving Forward,” is a theme from Dr. King’s address “Keep Moving the Mountain”, given at Spelman College on April 10, 1960. He said,