15 Memorable Black Children’s and Young Adult Books

This month marked the 40th anniversary of Mildred D. Taylor’s, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. To honor the 1977 Newbery Medal book, Penguin Random House released a special edition featuring cover artwork by esteemed artist Kadir Nelson.  Taylor’s book was only the second by a Black author to win the Newbery Medal since the first award was presented in 1922. Social media sites and blogs were filled with comments about the importance of the book and what it meant to individuals, the Black community, and society as a whole. The buzz generated by the release of the special edition brought to mind other memorable children’s and young adult books written by Black authors. Avid readers or those who grew up in households that valued multicultural literature, will probably recall many of the books listed. The first book on the list, Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold, was published in 1991 and is 25 years-old. All are award-winning books.  




Tar Beach (1991) – Faith Ringold

Tar Beach (1991) – Faith Ringold

Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters (1987) – John Steptoe

Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters (1987) – John Steptoe

The Patchwork Quilt (1985) – Valerie Flournoy

The Patchwork Quilt (1985) – Valerie Flournoy

The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales (1985) – Virginia Hamilton

The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales (1985) – Virginia Hamilton

Circle of Gold (1984) – Candy Dawson

Circle of Gold (1984) – Candy Dawson

Motown and Didi (1984) – Walter Dean Myers

Motown and Didi (1984) – Walter Dean Myers

Everett Anderson’s Goodbye (1983) – Lucille Clifton

Everett Anderson’s Goodbye (1983) – Lucille Clifton

Cornrows (1979) – Camille Yarbrough

Cornrows (1979) – Camille Yarbrough

Africa Dream (1977) – Eloise Greenfield

Africa Dream (1977) – Eloise Greenfield

The Hundred Penny Box (1975) – Sharon Mathis

The Hundred Penny Box (1975) – Sharon Mathis

Jambo Means Hello: Swahili Alphabet Book (1974) – Muriel Feelings

Jambo Means Hello: Swahili Alphabet Book (1974) – Muriel Feelings

A Hero Ain't Nothin' but a Sandwich (1973) – Alice Childress

A Hero Ain't Nothin' but a Sandwich (1973) – Alice Childress

Moja Means One (1971) – Muriel Feelings

Moja Means One (1971) – Muriel Feelings

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969) Maya Angelou

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969) Maya Angelou

To Be a Slave (1968) – Julius Lester

To Be a Slave (1968) – Julius Lester

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