The Impact of Black Authors and Their Stories on Young Readers

Traci MurphyFeb. 21, 2023

When children from diverse backgrounds are represented in literature, they see positive images of themselves and their communities, which can counter stereotypes and promote inclusiveness. Representation also helps children understand and appreciate the rich diversity of human experiences and cultures, fostering empathy, understanding, and respect for differences.

Lead to Read KC appreciates Black children’s book authors who have made significant contributions to literature for young readers. As we observe Black History Month, we’d like to recognize some of those authors whose books we have been fortunate enough to share through our Reading is Everywhere SM program including:

  • Derrick Barnes, Ruby and the Booker Boys
  • J. Dillard, J.D. and the Great Barber Battle
  • Kelly Starling Lyons, Ty’s Travels, King of the Ice and the Jada Jones series
  • Lupita Nyong’o, Sulwe
  • Jason Reynolds, Stuntboy
  • Rita Williams-Garcia, Clayton Byrd Goes Underground
  • Jacqueline Woodson, On the Day You Begin

Local Black Authors with Impact

We’re also honored that Black authors, Nikiyah Crosdale, Vladimir Sainte and Tony Temple help further our mission as part of our Reading for Life author partnership, reading their books about social-emotional learning topics in Lead to Read KC classrooms throughout the city. Other local Black authors sharing their books with us during read-alouds at community events include Lutisia Taylor and Crystal Everett.

These authors, along with many others, have created stories that entertain and educate young readers and provide representation and a reflection of the Black experience. Their contributions to children’s literature have made a meaningful impact and will continue to do so into the future.