Children's reading lists

Best new children’s books by Black authors and illustrators

Children’s author and Puffin World of Stories ambassador Nathan Bryon has pulled together a selection of his favourite upcoming debuts and recent releases from new Black authors and illustrators. Get ready to make room on your bookshelf!

Nathan Bryon
Photo of Nathan Bryon, Puffin World of Stories ambassador on a colourful background

It’s so important to start talking to your children about race and racism early, but many don’t know how to approach the conversation. That’s why I’m so excited for this upcoming debut, it explains the most difficult and complex topics in an accessible way for early readers.

Recommended reading age: 4-7 years old

Aziza’s Secret Fairy Door by Lola Morayo & Cory Reid (2021)

This is the first in a five-book series by creative partners Lola Morayo aka Tólá Okogwu and Jasmine Richards. Tólá is the author of the incredible Daddy Do My Hair series and Jasmine founded the inclusive fiction studio, Storymix. I’m sure that this young magical adventure series will have children hooked.

Recommended reading age: 6-8 years old

Happy Here by Sharna Jackson (2021)

This upcoming anthology explores joy, home, and family, and features stories and poems by 10 Black authors and illustrators. I love how each author has been paired with a different illustrator in the book, it’s an amazing spotlight on Black British artistic talent.

Recommended reading age: 7+ years old

You Are a Champion by Marcus Rashford & Carl Anka (2021)

"It’s hard to know what is possible until you start. You have to be able to dream big and be prepared to work towards your dreams. Good things take time." Marcus Rashford is amazing, and his debut title in collaboration with journalist and broadcaster, Carl Anka, looks set to be one of the most inspiring books of the year for young people. The book is a positive and practical guide to building mental resilience and grit. 

Recommended reading age: 9-11 years old

Black Boy Joy edited by Kwame Mbalia (2021)

Jason Reynolds, Jerry Craft, and George M. Johnson are just a few of the talented contributors in Black Boy Joy. 17 Black male and non-binary authors have come together to produce this amazing celebration of the power of joy and the wonders of Black boyhood. It’s such a vibrant and relatable collection of stories, comics, and poems.

Recommended reading age: 9-12 years old

Nubia: Real One by L. L. McKinney & Robyn Smith (2021)

Nubia – much like her twin sister Wonder Woman – has Amazonian-like strength as well as other superhuman abilities she's meant to keep under wraps. But when her best friend is threatened, Nubia is willing to risk everything. I recently came across this graphic novel and I couldn’t put it down. There are so many themes in the story, including equality, identity, and kicking it with your squad, and the artwork by Jamaican illustrator Robyn Smith is amazing.

Recommended reading age: 13-17 years old

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