Jerry Craft's Picks: Uplifting Books About Black and Brown Kids

When bestselling author, cartoonist, and father of two Jerry Craft was a kid, he struggled to enjoy reading, in part because, as a young African American boy, he rarely found books that featured characters who looked and lived like him. The books that were written about Black and Brown kids often focused on heavy topics like slavery and the fight for civil rights -- important topics, but somewhat removed from many kids' everyday experiences. Jerry wrote about transitioning to a new, mostly White school in his contemporary graphic novel New Kid, which won the 2020 Coretta Scott King Author Award, the 2019 Kirkus Prize for Young Readers' Literature, and the 2020 John Newbery Medal. It was the first graphic novel to win the top Newbery prize. 

 

Jerry hopes that his book and the ones he selected for this list -- uplifting #OwnVoices books by authors of color about Black and Brown kids being regular kids -- will inspire this generation of readers. "I have always felt as if it is also extremely important for kids of color to see themselves being happy as well. In fact, it's not just important for them -- the world needs to see more Black and Brown kids being surrounded by happy families and loving friends. Our kids need to see stories that show them now, and in the future, instead of always in the past," says Jerry. For more about Jerry Craft and his work, check him out on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or his website.

Browse Jerry Craft's Picks: Uplifting Books About Black and Brown Kids

The King of Kindergarten Book Poster Image
Fun tale pictures a kid's royally good first day of school.
By Derrick Barnes
(2019)
(2019)
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The Day You Begin Book Poster Image
Encouraging advice for kids who feel excluded or less than.
By Jacqueline Woodson
(2018)
(2018)
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Octopus Stew Book Poster Image
Octopus adventure celebrates imagination, Latinx culture.
By Eric Velásquez
(2020)
(2019)
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Parker Looks Up: An Extraordinary Moment Book Poster Image
Girl finds role model who looks like her in inspiring tale.
By Parker Curry, Jessica Curry
(2020)
(2019)
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Saturday Book Poster Image
Superb art, lovely story about coping with disappointment.
By Oge Mora
(2019)
(2019)
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Dragons in a Bag Book Poster Image
Exciting tale of New York kid's journey to magical world.
By Zetta Elliott
(2020)
(2018)
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Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky: Tristan Strong, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Teen connects with African folklore in exciting fantasy.
By Kwame Mbalia
(2019)
(2019)
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Ways to Make Sunshine: Ryan Hart, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Girl meets challenges with pluck in charming family tale.
By Renée Watson
(2020)
(2020)
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Booked Book Poster Image
Soccer player faces divorce, bullies in fast-paced novel.
By Kwame Alexander
(2016)
(2016)
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Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks Book Poster Image
Moving, interwoven stories of Black middle schoolers.
By Jason Reynolds
(2019)
(2019)
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My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich Book Poster Image
Tween uses vivid imagination to cope in confusing novel.
By Ibi Zoboi
(2019)
(2019)
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The Last Last-Day-of-Summer Book Poster Image
Kid sleuths investigate zany time-travel mystery.
By Lamar Giles
(2019)
(2019)
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The Lost Tribes, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Teens must win video game to save parents in clever sci-fi.
By C. Taylor-Butler
(2020)
(2019)
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With the Fire on High Book Poster Image
Teen mom/chef's inspiring tale shows perseverance, teamwork.
By Elizabeth Acevedo
(2019)
(2019)
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