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Perspective | Ensuring my son can see himself in his library

A little over seven years ago, I found out that I was expecting my son, Miles. I didn’t know much about parenting or what I would be like as a mother, but I did know that I wanted him to enjoy reading like his dad.

So, for my baby shower — instead of greeting cards that I would only read once — I asked for books that were signed by the giver. This small ask jump-started Miles’ library. We were given the traditional books that all libraries must have, like “Good Night Moon,” “Where the Wild Things Are,” and I can’t forget, “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.”

Although these books are great, there was a lack of books that showcased Black and Brown children and that were written by Black authors.

I started the journey of filling Miles’ library with books that resonated with him. I wanted him to see himself in stories. I found joy in reading stories to him that were filled with diverse characters. I wanted to share some of our favorite Black authors and books that shed light on different backgrounds and races. Here are some must-haves:

  • “Sulwe,” by Lupita Nyong’o and Vashti Harrison
  • “Hair Love,” by Matthew Cherry and Vashti Harrison
  • “Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History,” by Vashti Harrison
  • “I Am Enough,” by Grace Byers
  • “Lullaby (For a Black Mother),” by Langston Hughes
  • “Crown an Ode to the Fresh Cut,” by Derrick Barnes
  • “Trombone Shorty,” by Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews
  • “I Am Every Good Thing,” by Derrick Barnes
  • “The Day You Begin,” by Jacqueline Wilson
  • “I Promise,” by Lebron James

Having Black authors in our home allows my son to see that he can experience things beyond what he sees in front of him. An additional favorite that we love, “Grace for President,” shows Miles that he can run for president and that women can as well.

Books are a great way to start deeper conversation with your child on various subjects. We have decided to do so with authors who share about Black and Brown bodies.

If you don’t know where to start, I would recommend calling your local bookstore and asking if they have a section for books by Black authors.

Here are our favorite independent bookstores in Raleigh. I would highly recommend Read with me Raleigh or Liberation Station Bookstore, which focus on children.

Here are 15 more across the state. It is my hope that we can continue to shed light and support Black Authors. 

Kiara Ruth

Kiara Ruth is a wife, boy-mom of a public school student, and writer for The Banana Moon lifestyle blog.