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Christian Books For African American Kids
Choosing the right African American Christian children books isn’t easy—especially since there’s a growing market for Christian children’s books.
At times, it’s hard to sort out the great books from the ones that are better off left on a shelf.
We all know that books are a perfect way to help children who may have questions about God and Scripture, or who may be dealing with problems in their friendships or family relationships.
Of course, there are also times when kids simply want to immerse themselves in fictional worlds with characters they can identify with on multiple levels.
Children need spiritual, emotional, and mental guidance from the adults around them in order to grow into compassionate individuals who not only love and follow God, but love and cherish their neighbor.
One of the best ways to encourage children to develop a relationship with God and to embrace his Word is to offer them the gift of reading.
Thankfully, the work has been done for you. The following list is compiled of the very best African American Christian children books that are sure to interest, engage, and guide younger readers on their journey through life.
These books can even be enjoyed by adults, and you may find it beneficial to discuss a book or its themes with your child as a way to help them understand more difficult themes and messages. Without further ado, here are some excellent books for the younger readers in your life.
Top 8 African American Christian Children Books
1. My First Bible for Children of Color by Pat Banks Lee
This abridged Bible is a board book that is perfect for younger readers who are beingintroduced to the concept of reading about Scripture in their everyday lives for the very first time.
The book’s illustrations include multi-cultural characters, while the text itself has been abridged and written with young readers in mind. This book is ideal for reading aloud together with adults or for gifting to children who have learned to read on their own but still need simpler text for easier understanding.
2. A Voice of Her Own: The Story of Phillis Wheatley, Slave Poet by Kathryn Lasky
This short biography tells the true story of Phillips Wheatly, a slave living in 18th-centuryAmerican who became famous for her published poetry volume that earned her fame–and even her freedom. Wheatly, born in an African country, was brought over on a slave ship and sold to a colonial slave owner.
She eventually converted to Christianity, and her spiritual beliefs in the power of God, scripture, and the light of Christian redemption shine throughout many of her poems.
This book contains a few excerpts from Wheatly’s poems, which can be found in full in adult non-fiction books or on some websites. Young readers who take a special interest in Wheatly will likely want to read the next book on this list, too!
3. Hang A Thousand Trees with Ribbons by Ann Rinaldi
This is a fictional retelling of Wheatly’s life beginning from her early childhood as a slavewho had been kidnapped from Africa all the way to her death as a free—but impoverished—woman.
Rinaldi’s book is written with middle-grade and teen readers in mind, primarily due to the nature of Wheatly’s troubled life as a slave as well as the guarded walls she must put around herself to keep safe in a world that wants to hold her captive.
Yet throughout the book, Wheatly turns to her religion and belief in God for solace, as even when things look their most grim, there is always a spiritual light to be found. This is an excellent read for any younger African American Christians who want to learn more about a historical figure who held onto her beliefs despite her struggles in life.
4. Who Was Martin Luther King, Jr.? by Bonnie Bader
Martin Luther King Jr. is one of the most prominent African-American figures in Americanhistory. But far too many young readers do not know enough about this important man who held firm to his Christian values all the while working tirelessly for equality and justice.
This 100+ word biography is an engaging look at Martin Luther King. Jr. that will give younger readers an age-appropriate look at Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life, work in the civil rights movement in America, and his untimely death.
There are a number of children’s biographies out there on this subject, but this latest in the popular “Who Was…” series is definitely the most engaging for young readers.
5. Children of Color Storybook Bible published by Nia Publishing Co.
This unique storybook features Biblical stories with an emphasis on the inclusion of figuresof color, including child figures from the Bible which are sure to keep younger readers interested and engaged.
More importantly, this book’s emphasis on including figures of color will help young African-American Christians realize that they are part of God’s plan; and that they, too, can have a strong faith and love for God that will see them through any troubles life brings their way.
The Children of Color Storybook Bible utilizes the text from the International Children’s Bible and includes stories from both the Old and New Testament. The book also includes original illustrations that are sure to interest young readers.
6. Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson
‘Chains’ is one of the best children’s novel about early American slavery and is sure to inspire young Christian readers who want to know more about their heritage. The noveltells the story of Isabel, a 13 year old girl who finds herself thrown into turmoil during the American Revolution, when the man who owns Isabel and her sister Ruth dies.
They were supposed to be promised their freedom, but end up being sold to a Loyalist family instead. Isabel must navigate growing danger in a world being tossed and turned by revolution, all the while trying to keep her and her sister together, safe, and—eventually—free from the bonds of slavery.
The character of Isabel is resilient, loyal, and definitely one that young readers will admire. This is the first book in Anderson’s “Seeds of America’ trilogy.
7. When God Made You by Matthew Paul Turner
This illustrated picture book is a charming look at children’s place in God’s plan for the world–and for each of His children. Turner’s message throughout the book is that children are all loved, unique, and have a special purpose in the world that God will guide them towards.
The book’s illustrations, done by David Catrow, feature children of color and are wonderful to look at again and again. Children will not only want to admire the pictures, but return to the book’s comforting message: that when God made you, he knew exactly what he was doing–faults, gifts, knee scrapes and all.
8. Fearless Faith: 100 Devotions for Girls by Melanie Shankle
This “fearless” devotional collection is especially written for young girls–the publisher recommends ages 8 and up–who want to incorporate God’s Scripture into their everyday lives.
Each devotional includes a Scripture quote, a thematic message, as well as an activity or series of questions designed to help younger readers think about their place in their family, community, the world, and within God’s plan.
What makes this collection of devotionals unique is that it doesn’t talk down to the readers. The activities, questions, and messages are age appropriate and designed to appeal to children who may often wonder “What do these Scripture quotes have to do with my actual life?”
This devotional not only encourages readers to reflect on the Scripture verses it quotes, but to understand how Scripture is relevant to them on a daily basis—whether they’re fighting with their best friend or want to understand why they need to respect their parents.
9. The Ultimate Boys’ Book of Devotions: 365 Daily Devotions by Ed Strauss
This daily devotional book is written with boys—especially older boys and teenagers—inmind. Every devotional includes Scripture quotes, as well as messages, questions and activities that will relate to everyday problems and experiences that every boy shares.
These include messages related to dealing with friendship problems, fighting with parents, how to handle dating while still maintaining your Christian values, developing a better relationship with God, and more.
This is an ideal devotional for boys because it does not talk down to them and, most importantly, will help them incorporate everything from Scripture, God, Jesus and core Christian values and morals into their everyday lives.
Books can be an excellent way for younger readers to learn more about God, the Holy Scripture, and even to simply find stories and characters that they can look up to whenever they are having troubles of their own.