Resources for Parents of African-American Children
In this online exclusive, you'll find an extensive list of resources for raising African-American children, including books and DVDs, all recommended by AF editors and readers. Let these resources be your guide on the journey ahead!
Click on any of the links below to read reviews from our archives. Have a favorite not listed here? Email us your pick at firstname.lastname@example.org—and we'll share it with others!
Books for Kids
• A Family From Ethiopia, by Julia Waterlow (Raintree). The vivid photographs of this Ethiopian family, their hut, and their possessions help to tell the story of their lives.
• Bintou’s Braids, by Sylviane Diouf (Chronicle). A young girl in a West African village longs for the long, beautiful braids she is still too young to wear.
• Black Is Brown Is Tan, by Arnold Adoff (Amistad). Originally published in the 1970s, this classic title offers readers a look into the day in the life of a multiracial family.
• Black, White, Just Right! by Marguerite Davol (Albert Whitman & Company). A little girl tells readers all about her multiracial family.
• Bonjour, Lonnie, by Faith Ringgold (Hyperion). Lonnie takes a trip back in time, meeting his grandparents—an African-American soldier and a French woman—who tell him about his multiracial heritage, and why he was adopted.
• Brown Like Me, by Noelle Lamperti (Dingman/McKay). Nicole, an African-American adoptee raised by a white family, identifies the color brown in everything around her.
• Did I Tell You I Love You Today?, by Deloris Jordan and Roslyn M. Jordan (Simon & Schuster). An African-American mom describes the ways she expresses her love to her son throughout the day.
• Elizabeti’s Doll, by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen (Lee & Low). Set in a Tanzanian village, the story tells of Elizabeti, a little girl who watches her mother care for her baby brother, and longs for a little one of her own to cuddle. Other books in the series include Mama Elizabeti and Elizabeti’s School.
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• Family, by Isabell Monk (Carolrhoda). When Hope’s African-American relatives get together for a family reunion at her great aunt’s farm, Hope brings a recipe from her father’s white family.
• Faraway Home, by Jane Kurtz (Gulliver). When Desta’s father decides it’s time to go back to Ethiopia to care for his ailing mother, she learns how different his life was from her comfortable life in America.
• Hope, by Isabell Monk (Carolrhoda). Hope discovers the story behind her name and learns to be proud of her biracial heritage.
• It’s Raining, It’s Pouring, by Andrea Spalding (Orca). A little girl with an African-American father and a white mother decides to find out why the old man in the nursery rhyme is snoring.
• Please, Baby, Please, by Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee (Aladdin). The story of an energetic toddler who blasts through her day.
• Queen of the Scene (book and CD), by Queen Latifah (Laura Geringer). A self-assured young girl is "the ruler of the playground"—and isn’t afraid to boast of her "girl power."
• Shades of Black: A Celebration of Our Children, by Sandra L. Pinkney (Scholastic). This joyous picture book celebrates the beauty of African-American children.
• Silver Shoes, by Caroline Binch (DK Children). Molly is excited about taking dance lessons. But she’s disappointed to learn that she can’t wear her grandmother’s silver dancing shoes to class—until her grandmother finds the perfect solution.
• Ten, Nine, Eight, by Molly Bang (HarperTrophy). A father and his daughter turn bedtime into playtime with a rhyming game.
• The Colors of Us, by Karen Katz (Henry Holt). Seven-year-old Lena and her mother take a walk through the neighborhood, and discover that she and her friends and neighbors are all beautiful shades of brown.
• The Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats (Puffin). A young boy wakes up to discover that snow has fallen in the night.
• Thumbelina, as retold by Brian Pinkney (Greenwillow). The tiny dark-skinned heroine of this classic tale goes on many adventures until she finally finds true love.
• How Do I Feel About Dealing With Racism, by Jen Green (Copper Beech). Five young friends of different races talk about their feelings on racism, and offer practical solutions on how to respond to racist comments or actions.
• Let’s Talk About Racism, by Diane Shaughnessy (PowerKids Press). Aimed at nine-to 12-year-old readers, this book explores the nature of racism, possible explanations for it, and ways to end it.
• Racism Explained to My Daughter, by Tahar Ben Jelloun (The New Press). A French writer of Moroccan descent wrote this book in response to his 10-year-old daughter’s queries about racism.
• The Skin I’m In: A First Look at Racism, by Pat Thomas (Barron’s Educational Series). A book that encourages kids to accept and be comfortable with differences of skin color and other racial characteristics among their friends and in themselves.
Books for Parents
• Different and Wonderful: Raising Black Children in a Race-Conscious Society (Fireside), by Dr. Darlene Powell Hopson and Dr. Derek S. Hopson. Written for black parents, this book offers a positive, realistic approach to preparing African-American children to develop a healthy self-esteem.
• Does Anybody Else Look Like Me? A Parent’s Guide to Raising Multiracial Children, by Donna Jackson Nakazawa (Da Capo Press). The author offers advice from both parents of children with multiracial or transracial backgrounds, and from the children themselves.
• I’m Chocolate, You’re Vanilla: Raising Healthy Black and Biracial Children in a Race-Conscious World, by Marguerite A. Wright (Jossey-Bass). Parents and teachers are given clear, compelling, well-grounded advice for helping black children form a positive racial identity.
• Inside Transracial Adoption, by Gail Steinberg and Beth Hall (Perspectives Press). The cofounding directors of Pact, An Adoption Alliance, have written a comprehensive guide for families whose members don’t "match."
• In Their Own Voices: Transracial Adoptees Tell Their Stories, by Rita J. Simon and Rhonda M. Roorda (Columbia University Press). Twenty-four black and biracial adoptees share their experiences of growing up in white families.
• "Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?" and Other Conversations About Race, by Beverly Daniel Tatum, Ph.D. (Basic Books). A psychologist explains the development of racial identity.
DVDs for Parents
• Outside Looking In: Transracial Adoption in America Directed by Phil Bertelsen, this 60-minute documentary profiles three American families brought together—and sometimes pushed apart—by transracial adoption. Available from Realization Pictures (realizationpictures.com).
• Struggle for Identity: Special Edition DVD A 40-minute film combines Struggle for Identity: Issues in Transracial Adoption and its companion film, Struggle for Identity: A Conversation 10 Years Later. In the original film, a group of adoptees talk about what it was like to grow up in white families. Several adoptive parents also discuss the obstacles they faced in raising children of a different race. In the second film, two members of the original cast (John Raible and Michelle Johnson) reflect on their experiences a decade later. Directed by Deborah C. Hoard; available from PhotoSynthesis Productions (photosynthesisproductions.com).
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