POWERFUL AFRICAN-AMERICAN IMAGES REVEALED IN PICTURE BOOKS

 

PART ONE: A - L

KAY E. VANDERGRIFT

Children's Literature Page | African Images, Part 2 Literature Page

All children deserve to see positive images of children like themselves in the books they read. For the youngest children who "read" pictures as adults share text, illustrations can have a powerful influence on their perceptions of the world. Strong visual images of those similar to themselves, their friends, and their families are life-affirming and can encourage children to reach beyond the boundaries of their immediate life experiences and consider a multitude of possibilities for their futures. I made a special effort to find realistic stories and images, rather than only folk tales and legends, not because I would diminish the traditional works but because we need to employ powerful images in order to increase self-esteem in our youngest children.

Fortunately, there are increasing numbers of picture books that provide realistic positive images of all of our children. One outstanding book that provides a beginning framework for understanding literature and history is Sweet Words So Brave: The Story of African American Literature by Barbara Curry and James Michael Brodie, and illustrated by Jerry Butler. The books on the following list represent a sampling of such picture books featuring African-American children. Because of the number of titles in this list, I have divided it in two parts arranged alphabetically.

Aardema, Verna. Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears. Illus. by Diane and Leo Dillon. New York: Dial, 1975.

Adedjouma, Davida, ed. The Palm of My Heart: Poetry By African American Children. Illus. by Gregory Christie, Intro. By Lucille Clifton. New York: Lee & Low, 1996.

Allen, Debbie. Brothers of the Knight. Illus. by Kadir Nelson. New York: Dial, 1999.

Allen, Debbie. Christmas Soul: African American Holiday Stories. Illus. by Michelle Wood. New York: Jump at the Sun/Hyperion, 2001.

Alexander, Lloyd. The Fortune-Tellers. Illus. by Trina Schart Hyman. New York: Dutton, 1992.

Anderson, Jeanie. The Key Into Winter. Illus. by David Soman. New York: Whitman, 1995.

Angelou, Maya. Now Sheba Sings The Sing. Illus. by Tom Feelings. New York: Dutton/Dial, 1987.

Angelou, Maya. Kofi and His Magic. Photos Margaret Courtney-Clarke. New York: Crown, 1996.

Barber, Barbara E. Allie's Basketball Dream. Illus. by Darryl Ligasan. New York: Lee & Low, 1996.

Barnwell, Ysaye M. No Mirrors in My Nana's House. Illus. by Synthia Saint James. San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace, 1998.

Battle-Lavert, Gwendolyn. Off to School. Illus. by Gershom Griffith. New York: Holiday House, 1995.

Battle-Lavert, Gwendolyn. The Shaking Bag. Illus. by Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson. Morton Grove, IL: A. Whitman, 2000.

Belton, Sandra. From Miss Ida's Porch. Illus. by Floyd Cooper. New York: Four Winds Press, 1993.

Belton, Sandra.May'naise Sandwiches & Sunshine Tea. Illus. by Gail Gordon Carter. New York: Four Winds, 1994.

Bloom, Valerie. Fruits: A Caribbean Counting Poem. Illus. by David Axtell. New York: Holt, 1997.

Bolden, Tonya. Rock of Ages: A Tribute to the Black Church. Illus. by R. Gregory Christie. New York: Knopf, 2001.

Borden, Louise. Fly High! The Story of Bessie Colemena. Illus. by Louise Borden and Mary Kay Kroeger. New York: M.K. McElderry, 2001.

Brady, Marie. The Longest Wait. Illus. by Peter Catalanotto. New York: Orchard, 1998.

Bradby, Marie. More Than Anything Else. Illus. by Chris K. Soentpiet. New York: Orchard, 1995.

Bray, Rosemary L. Martin Luther King. Illus. by Malcah Zeldis. New York: Greenwillow, 1995.

Bryan, Ashley. Ashley Bryanís Book of African American Poetry. Illus. by Javaka Steptoe. New York: Atheneum, 1997.

Bunting, Eve. Smoky Night. Illus. by David Diaz. San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace and Co., 1994.

Burden-Patmon, Denise. Imani's Gift at Kwantzaa. Illus. by Floyd Cooper. New York: Simon & Schuster's, 1993.

Caines, Jeannette. Just Us Women. Illus. by Pat Cummings. New York: Harper & Row, 1982.

Carlstrom, Nancy White. Wild Wild Sunflower Child Anna. Illus. by Jerry Pinkney. New York: Macmillan, 1987.

Carter, Dorothy. Bye, Mis' Lela. Illus. by Harvey Stevenson. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1998.

Carr, Jan. Dark Day, Light Night. Illus. by James Ransome. New York: Hyperion, 1995.

Chocolate, Debbi. On the Day I Was Born. Illus. by Melodye Rosales. New York: Cartwheel/Scholastic, 1995.

Chocolate, Deborah Newton. Kwanzaa. Chicago, IL: Children's Press, 1990.

Chocolate, Deborah Newton. The Piano Man. Illus. by Eric Velasquez. New York: Walker, 2000.

Clinton, Catherine. I, Too, Sing America: Three Centuries of African American Poetry. Illus. by Stephen Alcorn. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 1998.

Coleman, Evelyn. The Foot Warmer and the Crow. Illus. by Daniel Mentor. New York: Macmillan, 1994.

Coleman, Evelyn. The Glass Bottle Tree. Illus. by Gail Gordon Carter. New York: Orchard, 1995.

Coleman, Evelyn. White Socks Only. Illus. by Tyrone Geter. Morton Grove, IL: A. Whitman, 1996.

Coles, Robert. The Story of Ruby Bridges. Illus. by George Ford. New York: Scholastic, 1995.

Collier, Bryan. Freedom River. New York: Jump at the Sun/Hyperion, 2000.

Collier, Bryan. Uptown. New York: Henry Holt, 2000.

Cooper, Floyd. Coming Home: From the Life of Langston Hughes. New York: Philomel, 1994.

Cooper, Melrose. Gettin' Through Thursday. Illus. by Nneka Bennett. New York: Lee & Low, 1998.

Cosby, Bill. Shipwreck Saturday. Illus. by Varnette B. Honeywell. New York: Scholastic, 1998.

Crews, Donald. Bigmama's. New York: Greenwillow, 1991.

Cummings, Pat. Jimmy Lee Did It. New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, 1985.

Cummings, Pat. Petey Moroni's Camp Runamok Diary. New York: Bradbury, 1992.

Cummings, Pat. Carousel. New York: Bradbury, 1993.

Curtis, Gavin. The Bat Boy and his Violin. Illus. by E. B. Lewis. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1998.

Cury, Barbara K. and James Michael Brodie. Sweet Words So Brave: The Story of African American Literature. Illus. Jerry Butler. Madison, WI: Zino Press, 1996.

Davol, Marguerite W. Black, White, Just Right! Morton Grive, IL: Albert Whitman, 1993.

DeFelice, Cnthia. "I>Willy's Silly Grandma. Illus. by Shelley Jackson. New York: Orchard, 1997.

Derby, Sally. My Steps. Illus. by Adjoa J. Burrowes. New York: Lee & Low, 1996.

Deveaux, Alexis. An Enchanted Hair Tale. Illus. by Cheryl Hanna. New York: Harper & Row, 1987.

Diakite, Baba Wague. The Hunterman and the Crocodile: A West African Folktale. New York: Scholastic, 1997.

Eisenberg, Phyllis Rose. You're My Nikki. Illus. by Jill Kastner. New York: Dial, 1992.

English, Karen. Neeny Coming, Neeny Going. Illus. Synthia Saint James. BridgeWater Books, 1996.

Everett, Gwen. John Brown: One Man Against Slavery. Illus. by Jacob Lawrence. New York: Rizzoli, 1993.

Falwell, Cathryn. Davidís Drawings. New York: Lee & Low, 2001.

Feelings, Muriel. Moja Means One: Swahili Counting Book. Illus. by Tom Feelings. New York: Dial, 1971.

Feelings, Murial. Jambo Means Hello: Swahili Alaphbet Book. Illus. by Tom Feelings. New York: Dial, 1976.

Feelings, Tom. The Middle Passage: White Ships/Black Cargo. New York: Dial, 1995.

Feelings, Tom. Soul Looks Back in Wonder. New York: Dial, 1993.

Feelings, Tom. Tommy Traveller in the World of Black History. New York: Black Butterfly Children's Books, 1993.

Fields, Julia. The Green Lion of Zion Street. Illus. by Jerry Pinkney. New York: Margaret McElderry Books, 1988.

Flournoy, Valerie R. The Patchwork Quilt. Illus. by Jerry Pinkney. New York: Dial, 1985.

Flournoy, Valerie. Tanya's Reunion. Illus. by Jerry Pinkney. New York: Dial, 1995.

Flournoy, Vanessa and Valerie Flournoy. Celie and the Harvest Fiddler. Illus. by James E. Ransome. Tambourine, 1995.

Ford, Juwanda G. Ford. Kenya's Family Reunion. Illus. by Cristina Ong. New York: Scholastic, 1996.

Franklin, Kristine L. The Old, Old Man and the Very Little Boy. Illus. by Terea Shaffer. New York: Atheneum, 1992.

Gilchrist, Jan Spivey. Indigo and Moonlight Gold. New York: Black Butterfly Children's Books, 1992.

Grace, Kathryn Diane. Hairstyles for Me. Illus. by Aundrea D. Hernandez. San Antonio, TX: Your Books, 1998.

Greenfield, Eloise. Angels. Illus. by Jan Spivey Gilchrist. New York: Hyperion, 1998.

Greenfield, Eloise. Honey, I Love and other Love Poems. Illus. by Diane and Leo Dillon. New York: Harper & Row, 1978.

Greenfield, Eloise. Honey, I Love. Illus. by Jan Spivey Gilchrist. New York: Harper Festival, 1995.

Greenfield, Eloise. Grandpa's Face. Illus. by Floyd Cooper. New York: Putnam/Philomel, 1988.

Greenfield, Eloise. Nathaniel Talking. Illus. by Jan Spivey Gilchrist. New York: Black Butterfly Children's Books, 1988.

Greenfield, Eloise. William and the Good Old Days. Illus. by Jan Spivey Gilchrist. New York: HarperCollins, 1993.

Greenfield, Eloise. Night On Neighborhood Street. Illus. by Jan Spivey Gilchrist. New York: Dial, 1991.

Greenfield, Eloise. On My Horse. Illus. by Jan Spivey Gilchrist. New York: Harper, 1995.

Greenfield, Monica. Waiting for Christmas. Illus. Jan Spivey Gilchrist. New York: Scholastic, 1996.

Grifalconi, Ann. Kinda Blue. Boston, MA: Little Brown, 1993.

Grimes, Nikki. Something on My Mind. Illus. by Tom Feelings. New York: Dial, 1978.

Grimes, Nikki. From a Child's Heart. Illus. by Brenda Joysmith. Orange, NJ: Just Us Books, 1993.

Grimes, Nikki. C Is for City. Illus. by Pat Cummings. New York: Lothrop, 1995.

Grimes, Nikki. Come Sunday. Illus. Michael Bryant. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 1996.

Grimes, Nikki. Stepping Out with Grandma Mac. Illus. by Angelo.† New York: Orchard, 2001.

Grimes, Nikki. When Daddy Prays. Illus. by Tad Ladwig. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 2002.

Gunning, Monica. Not A Copper Penny in Me House. Illus. by Frane Lessac. Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mills Press, 1993.

Guy, Rosa. Billy the Great. Illus. by Caroline Binch. New York: Delacorte, 1991.

Hamilton, Virginia. Drylongso. Illus. by Jerry Pinkney. San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1992.

Hamilton, Virginia. The Girl Who Spun Gold. Illus. by Leo and Diane Dillon. New York: Blue Sky Press, 2000.

Havill, Juanita. Jamaica's Blue Marker. Illus. by Anne Sibley O'Brien. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 1995.

Higginsen, Vy. This Is My Song!: A Collection of Gospel Music for the Family. Illus. by Brenda Joysmith. New York: Crown, 1995.

Hoffman, Mary. Amazing Grace. Illus. by Caroline Binch. New York: Dial, 1991.

Hoffman, Mary. Boundless Grace. Illus. Caroline Binch. New York: Dial, 1995.

Holman, Sandy Lynne. Grandpa, Is Everything Black Bad? Illus. by Lela Kometiani. Davis, CA: Culture CO-OP, 1998.

Hopkinson, Deborah. Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt. Illus. by James E. Ransome. New York: Knopf, 1993.

Howard, Elizabeth Fitzgerald. Aunt Flossie's Hats (and Crab Cakes Later). Illus. by James E. Ransome. New York: Clarion, 1991.

Howard, Elizabeth Fitzgerald. Chita's Christmas Tree. Illus. by Floyd Cooper. New York: Bradbury, 1989.

Howard, Elizabeth Fitzgerald. Mac & Marie & the Train Toss Surprise. Illus. by Gail Gordon Carter. New York: Four Winds, 1993.

Howard, Elizabeth Fitzgerald. Papa Tells Chita a Story. Illus. by Floyd Cooper. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995.

Howard, Elizabeth Fitzgerald. The Train to Lulu's. Illus. by Robert Casilla. New York: Bradbury, 1988.

Howard, Elizaheth Fitzgerald. Virgie Goes to School with Us Boys. Illus. by E.B. Lewis. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000.

Howard, Elizabeth Fitzgerald. What's in Aunt Mary's Room? Illus. by Cedric Lucas. New York: Clarion, 1996.

Hoyt-Goldsmith, Diane. Celebrating Kwanzaa. Photos by Lawrence Migdale. New York: Holiday, 1993.

Hudson, Cheryl Willis. Afro-bets 123 Book. East Orange, NJ: Just Like Us Books, 1999.

Hudson, Wade. Jamal's Busy Day. Illus. by George Ford. Orange, NJ: Just Us Books, 1993.

Hudson, Wade. I Love My Family. Illus. by Cal Massey. New York: Scholastic, 1993.

Hudson, Wade, Comp. Pass It On: African-American Poetry for Children. Illus. by Floyd Cooper. New York: Scholastic, 1993.

Hudson, Wade and Cheryl Hudson, Comps. How Sweet the Sound: African-American Songs for Children. Illus. by Floyd Cooper. New York: Scholastic, 1995.

Igus, Toyomi, ed. Great Women in the Struggle: Book of Black Heroes, Vol. 2 Orange, NJ: Just Us Books, 1993.

Igus, Toyomi. I See the Rhythm. Illus. by Michele Wood. San Francisco, CA: Childrenís Press, 1998.

In Daddy's Arms I Am Tall: African Americans Celebrating Fathers. Illus. by Javaka Steptoe. New York: Lee & Low, 1997.

Jackson, Bobby. Little Red Ronnika. Illus. by Rhonda Mitchell. Akron, OH: Multicultural Publications, 1998.

Johnson, Angela. Do Like Kyla. Illus. by James E. Ransome. New York: Orchard, 1990.

Johnson, Angela. Tell Me a Story Mama. Illus. by David Soman. New York: Orchard, 1989.

Johnson, Angela. Girl Who Wore Snakes. Illus. by James E. Ransome. New York: Orchard, 1993.

Johnson, Angela. The Rolling Stone. Illus. by Peter Catalanotto. New York: Orchard, 1997.

Johnson, Dinah. All Around the Town: The Photographs of Richard Samuel Roberts. New York: Henry Holt, 1998.

Johnson, Dolores. Seminole Diary: Remembrance of a Slave. New York: Macmillan, 1994.

Johnson, James Weldon. Lift Every Voice and Sing. Illus. by Elizabeth Catlett. New York: Walker, 1993.

Johnson, James Weldon. Lift Every Voice and Sing: A Pictorial Tribute to the Negro National Anthem. New York: Jump at the Sun/Hyperion, 2001.

Johnson, James Weldon. The Creation. Illus. by James E. Ransome. New York: Holiday House, 1994.

Johnson, Janet. Lucky Jack and the Giant: An African-American Legend. Illus. by Charles Reasoner. Mahwah, NJ: Troll, 1998.

Johnson, Janet P. Keelboat Annie: An African-American Legend. Illus. by Charles Reasoner. Mahway, NJ: Troll, 1998.

Johnson, Janet P. Brer Rabit and the Tar Baby: An African American Legend. Illus. by Charles Reasoner. Mahwah, NJ: Troll.

Jordan, June. Kimako's Story. Illus. by Kay Burford. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 1981.

Joseph, Lynn. Fly, Bessie, Fly. Illus. by Yvonne Buchanan. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1998.

King, Sarah E. Maya Angelou: Greeting the Morning. Brookfield, CT: Millbrook Press, 1993.

Kroll, Virginia. Maisi and I. Illus. by Nancy Carpenter. New York: Four Winds, 1992.

Kroll, Virginia. Africa: Brothers and Sisters. Illus. by Vanessa French. New York: Four Winds, 1992.

Kuklin, Susan. The Harlem Nutcracker. New York: Jump at the Sun/Hyperion, 2001.

Kurtz, Jane. Fire on the Mountain. Illus. E.B. Lewis. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994.

Langstaff, John, ed. What A Morning! The Christmas Story in Black Spirituals. Illus. by Ashley Bryan. Arrangements by John Andrew Ross. New York: Margaret McElderry, 1987.

Lauture, Denize. Father and Son. Illus. by Jonathan Green. New York: Philomel, 1993.

Lauture, Denize. Running the Road to ABC. Illus. Reynold Ruffins. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996.

Lawrence, Jacob. The Great Migration: An American Story. New York: The Museum of Modern Art/The Phillips Collection/HarperCollins, 1993.

Lawrence, Jacob. Harriet and the Promised Land. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1993.

Lessac, Frane. Caribbean Canvas. New York: Lippincott, 1987.

Lester, Julius. Black Cowboy Wild Horses: A True Story. Illus. by Jerry Pinkney. New York: Dial, 1998.

Lester, Julius. The Blues Singers: Ten Who Rocked the World. Illus. by Lisa Cohen. New York: Jump at the Sun/Hyperion, 2001.

Lester, Julius. John Henry. Illus. Jerry Pinkney. New York: Dial, 1994.

Lester, Julius. Sam and the Tigers. Illus. Jerry Pinkney. New York: Dial, 1996.

Lewin, Hugh. Jafta: The Homecoming. Illus. by Lisa Kopper. New York: Knopf, 1993.

Little, Lessie Jones. Children of Long Ago: Poems. Illus by Jan Spivey Gilchrist. New York: Lee & Low, 2000.

Littlesugar, Amy. Freedom School, Yes! Illus. by Floyd Cooper. New York: Philomel, 2001.

Lorbiecki, Marybeth. Sister Anneís Hands. Illus. by K. Wendy Popp. New York: Dial, 1998.

Children's Literature Page | African Images, Part 2 Literature Page

Created September 20, 1995 and is continuously revised
SCILS, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

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