Cover image for Great books for African-American children
Great books for African-American children
Toussaint, Pamela.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York, N.Y. : Plume, [1999]

Physical Description:
278 pages ; 21 cm
General Note:
Includes indexes.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
Z1039.B56 T68 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
Z1039.B56 T68 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Black History Non-Circ
Z1039.B56 T68 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Reference material

On Order



By the time they finish high school, black children will have read countless books featuring white heroes and heroines. It's a common experience for young children to color these characters brown, wanting to see themselves as the protagonists of these stories. Yet there are many wonderful books by and about African Americans that portray them in a positive way, to build a child's self-esteem and to spur hopes, dreams, and imagination. "Great Books for African-American Children" lists 250 of these books, which provide uplifting and accurate images of African-American culture.

Author Notes

Pamela Toussaint is the coauthor of "Mama's Little Baby" & "I Call You Friend".

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Two fine annotated bibliographies introduce great books for young people about the African American experience. Both lists are organized into four age groups (from babies and toddlers through teens) and then alphabetically by title, with detailed indexes to author, genre, and subject, and information about book awards. Both books begin with a strongly didactic introduction, emphasizing the goal "to help instill pride, dignity, and self-esteem in our children," and to help black children find themselves in books; but the excellent choices go beyond sermonizing to grab kids with powerful story, character, art, and language. As the authors point out, these are books for all children, regardless of race. Black Books Galore! is by three African American mothers who began a mission in 1992 to identify, publish, and distribute quality black children's books. There are annotations to 500 of the best books, with references to 200 more. The bright, spacious format includes occasional illustrations, excerpts, and 24 boxed "spotlights" about leading authors and artists in the field. Touissaint's book is less accessible in design, with no art and smaller pages. The 250 annotations are long and informative, and many end with discussion questions for adults to explore with young people. The selections for teens include some adult books, such as Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye and James Baldwin's Go Tell It on the Mountain, as well as some of the best YA titles. There's also an annotated guide to magazines, TV shows, Web sites, videos, and other sources that promote reading. Both books are excellent resources for parents as well as teachers and librarians. --Hazel Rochman

Library Journal Review

Former Essence editor Toussaint has collected poetry, fiction, and nonfiction that reflect a wide range of black experience, show sensitivity to black features in their illustrations, and have a lesson or values to impart. For each age group, Toussaint defines what children like in a book and includes advice about how to choose books. Entries suggest ways to explore a story further. An author-devised code helps the user determine what values the story reflects; an emphasis on Christian valuesÄe.g., "God's protection," "covetousness"Ämay be objectionable to some users. Helpful extras include a list of out-of-print titles, a bookstore directory, and a section listing magazines, television shows, web sites, videos, and other sources that promote reading and regularly include African Americans. Overall, a good purchase for education and children's collections.ÄGlynys Thomas, Wheelock Coll. Lib., Boston (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

An annotated bibliography similar in format to Donna Rand's Black Books Galore! (Wiley, 1998). Toussaint looks at approximately 250 titles and includes notes at the end of some annotations to assist teachers and parents who want to encourage young people to read other titles in a series, begin discussing their thoughts about the books, or open dialogues with parents or friends. Interspersed among the entries are quotes from notable African Americans, librarians, historians, and children who have read some of the books. The author includes biographical information on black authors and illustrators; a list of out-of-print titles; and a compilation of magazines, videos, Web sites, and other resources that promote reading. The only award books listed are the Coretta Scott King winners. Noting that an African-American bookstore in Indianapolis, IN, was not listed, a check of local listings is advised. The poor quality of paper may unfortunately limit the shelf life of this otherwise serviceable addition.-Marie Wright, University Library, Indianapolis, IN (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.