7 Canadian books for younger readers to check out during Black History Month 2020
Check out these seven books for younger readers created by black Canadian authors for Black History Month — and beyond!
Shauntay Grant's latest children's book is a celebration of natural hair. My Hair is Beautiful is a board book that encourages self-love and self-expression.
My Hair is Beautiful is for readers aged 0-3.
Grant is a Canadian writer and performance artist based in Halifax. Her children's books include Up Home, which won the 2009 Best Atlantic Published Book Prize, and Africville, which was a finalist for the 2018 Governor General's Literary Award for young people's literature – illustrated books.
I Promise is a portrayal of all the joys and challenges of parenting and a celebration of the many different forms that loving families come in.
I Promise is for readers aged 3-8.
Syrus Marcus Ware is a visual artist, activist and scholar whose work has appeared in the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Globe and Mail and in Nuit Blanche. Ware is also an editor for nonfiction book Until We Are Free, which reflects on the Black Lives Matter movement in Canada.
A Likkle Miss Lou is a picture book about Louise "Miss Lou" Bennett Coverley, a Jamaican poet known for bringing international attention to Jamaican patois.
A Likkle Miss Lou is for readers aged 4-8.
Nadia L. Hohn is a children's book author from Toronto. Her other titles include Malaika's Costume and Malaika's Winter Carnival.
Eugenie Fernandes is an artist and children's book illustrator based in Ontario.
In this charming picture book for young readers, a girl learns to embrace her wild, hard-to-manage curly hair. Olive Senior is an award-winning writer. Her books include the short story collection The Pain Tree and the picture book Anna Carries Water, which is also illustrated by New York artist Laura James.
Boonoonoonous Hair! is for readers aged 5-9.
Senior is the author of 18 books, including poetry, fiction, nonfiction and children's literature. Her collection Over the Roofs of the World was shortlisted for the 2005 Governor General's Literary Award for poetry.
The Dragon Thief is the the second instalment of the middle-grade series Dragons in a Bag. It follows the fantasy adventures of young Jaxon and his life with dragons. When he's put in charge of taking care of baby dragons, he discovers that one is missing. This event sets Jaxon off on an adventure to find his best friend's sister, Kavita, who just might be the dragon thief.
The Dragon Thief is for readers aged 8-12.
Zetta Elliott was born in Ajax, Ont., and has lived in the United States for the past 20 years. She is a poet, teacher and writer for children and young adults.
Christopher Paul Curtis returns to the characters of Benji and Red, first introduced in his 2008 book Elijah of Buxton. While Benji and Red aren't exactly close friends, the pair are connected by fate. When a strange force is seen in the forest, the boys are unwittingly set on the trail of the enigmatic and elusive Madman of Piney Woods. Does he exist or not? In this tale of adventure, the mismatched duo are set on a path to find out once and for all.
The Madman of Piney Woods is for readers aged 8 to 12.
Curtis is an American-Canadian author known for writing historical fiction for young readers. His other books include The Journey of Little Charlie, which was a finalist for the 2018 Governor General's Literary Award for young people's literature — text. Curtis currently lives in Windsor, Ont.
In the YA novel The Field Guide to the North American Teenager, Norris Kaplan is a wisecracking black French Canadian teenager who knows he's in for a major culture shock when his family moves to Texas. He keeps track of his fellow high schoolers by placing them in categories: Cheerleaders, Jocks, Loners and the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. When people from the categories try and befriend him, Norris learns a lesson about his snarky attitude.
The Field Guide to the North American Teenager is for readers aged 13 and up.
Ben Philippe, who now lives in New York, has contributed to publications like Vanity Fair and the Guardian. The Field Guide to the North American Teenager is his first book, which in 2020 won the William C. Morris Award.