Black History Month is Not Black Enslavement Month or Black Struggle Month.

Shop Baby Wordplay for the best in diverse books.

I recently read this post on Instagram:

It’s Black History Month

Not Black enslavement month.

It’s Black Culture Month

Not Black trauma and abuse month.

It’s Black Excellence Month

Not Black struggle month.


It resonated with me. I’ve been a children’s librarian and educator—I homeschooled my two children for 5 years—preaching and practicing the message that

  • a) All children’s books should (age-appropriately) reflect the full experience of life and the diverse world that surrounds us;

  • b) In books, all children deserve to see themselves reflected and deserve to learn about others.

If we do not, then we are doing our children a disservice.

If children are primarily exposed to Rosa Parks or Martin Luther King, to struggle and trauma and not as much to culture and joy and magic, then, that’s a problem. Black history is not just pain and hardship, it’s playful and imaginative, it’s creative and loving, “it’s inventors, scientists, record breakers, it’s overcomers and it’s beautiful!”

The book industry wields tremendous power to shape culture, to decide “which stories are amplified and which are shut out” so the work to diversify the publishing industry continues.

Here’s a handy graphic that tells some of the story:

“Diversity remains an ever-evolving topic in publishing when it comes to books as well as the diversity among the authors and illustrators creating them.” (Lee & Low Publishers)


Here’s a compilation of some of my favorite books for children. Many are available on my online book shop and feel free to send me an email ( for special orders. Note that the last slide is for adults!