25 More Empowering Books for Black Girls

Our first list of empowering books for little black girls got an overwhelming response, but the br...

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Our first list of empowering books for little black girls got an overwhelming response, but the brilliant women of the FH community brought to light some titles we overlooked. In order to be more inclusive of diverse interests and older black girls, we've put together a second list of powerful books.



Ages 2-4

Please, Baby, Please - Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee
Academy-Award nominated filmmaker Spike Lee and his wife, producer Tonya Lewis Lee, preset a behind-the-scenes look at the chills, spills, and unequivocal thrills of bringing up baby!



Girls Hold Up This World - Jada Pinkett Smith
Actress Jada Pinkett Smith--wife of superstar Will Smith--lovingly captures the strength, unity, and beauty that live in girls in this poignant photographic book.

Kindergarten - 2nd Grade
The Magic Poof - Stephen Hodges
Seven year old Ange-Marie has always felt different. Who wouldn't when your best friend is literally attached to you? The Poof is a great ball of curly hair that sits directly on top of Ange-Marie's head. His magical and playful nature always seems to produce mischief and adventure. In book one of The Magic Poof series, Ange-Marie must decide what to wear for school picture day. But The Poof also wants to look good for picture day! How does Ange-Marie look her best and keep her enchanted and hairy friend a secret? In the end, both The Poof and Ange-Marie find that compromise is the key in any friendship.


I Like Myself! - Karen Beaumont
High on energy and imagination, this ode to self-esteem encourages kids to appreciate everything about themselves--inside and out. Messy hair? Beaver breath? So what! Here's a little girl who knows what really matters.

Grace for President - Kelly S. DiPucchio

When Grace's teacher reveals that the United States has never had a female president, Grace decides to be the first. And she immediately starts off her political career as a candidate the school's mock election!

Cupcake Jones is a modern day princess, who like many girls, loves her tutu, playing with her toys, and most of all creating a mess! Follow Princess Cupcake Jones in her first book, Princess Cupcake Jones and the Missing Tutu. In this adventure, when her beloved tutu goes missing, Cupcake learns the importance of tidying up and putting things in their proper place.

Nina bonita - Ana Maria Machado
In this wonderful story about diversity, a white rabbit falls in love with a black girl and longs to have beautiful dark skin like hers.

A collection of twenty-five African-American folktales focuses on strong female characters.



Thunder Rose Jerdine Nolen
On a dark night of howling rain and booming thunder, Jackson and Millicent MacGruder welcome a new baby girl into their lives. Imagine their surprise when she sits up, thanks them for bringing her into the world, and informs them that she's quite partial to the name Rose.

Most Loved in All the World - Tonya Cherie Hegamin
An authentic and powerful account of slavery and how a handmade quilt helps a little girl leave home for freedom.

In this tender, beautiful letter to his daughters, President Barack Obama has written a moving tribute to thirteen groundbreaking Americans and the ideals that have shaped our nation. From the artistry of Georgia O'Keeffe, to the courage of Jackie Robinson, to the patriotism of George Washington, President Obama sees the traits of these heroes within his own children, and within all of America's children.

Keena Ford is so excited to go on a field trip to the United States Capitol with her second-grade class! At school, she is running for a spot on the student council, and on the field trip she's going to meet a real live U.S. representative. The only trouble is, mean Tiffany Harris keeps teasing Keena and taking the best place in line. Keena doesn't mean to get into trouble, but trouble seems to find her anyway!


The Lucky Stone - Lucille Clifton
There is nothing Tee enjoys more than sitting out on the porch with her great-greatmother, listening to the fascinating stories about the lucky stone.

MOTHER AND DAUGHTER, grandmother and granddaughter, aunt and niece, friend and friend. For a hundred years, generations of women from Gee’s Bend have quilted together, sharing stories, trading recipes, singing hymns—all the while stitchin’ and pullin’ thread through cloth. Every day Baby Girl listens, watches, and waits, until she’s called to sit at the quilting frame. Piece by piece, she puzzles her quilt together—telling not just her story, but the story of her family, the story of Gee’s Bend, and the story of her ancestors’ struggle for freedom.


The Girl Who Spun GoldVirginia Hamilton

"Stirring...with a rhythm just right for reading aloud...a West Indian version of the universal little-man (Rumpelstiltskin) folktale. Quashiba's mother...boasts that her daughter can spin and weave a whole field of the finest gold thread. Dramatic words and pictures." - Booklist, starred review. "A charming and visually stunning tale of cunning, greed, and quixotic good fortune."

Bintou's Braids - Sylvianne Diouf
Bintou wants braids. Long, pretty braids, woven with gold coins and seashells, just like her older sister and the other women in her family. But she is too young for braids. Instead, all she has are four little tufts of hair; all she ever gets are cornrows. However, when Bintou saves the lives of her two young cousins and is offered a reward of her choosing, Bintou discovers that true beauty comes in many different forms.

You may think you already know this story about a beautiful servant girl, a cruel stepmother, a magnificent ball, and a lost slipper. But you've never heard it for true.

Now you can hear the tale from someone who was there: a poor washerwoman from the island of Martinique. She has just one thing in the world to love, her goddaughter Cendrillon. When she finds Cendrillon heartsick over a rich man's son, at first she doesn't know what to do. But she has sharp wits, a strong will, and the magic wand her mother left her -- and soon she has a plan to give her dear Cendrillon the gift of a love that will change her life.

If a bus could talk, it would tell the story of a young African-American girl named Rosa who had to walk miles to her one-room schoolhouse in Alabama while white children rode to their school in a bus. It would tell how the adult Rosa rode to and from work on a segregated city bus and couldn't sit in the same row as a white person. It would tell of the fateful day when Rosa refused to give up her seat to a white man and how that act of courage inspired others around the world to stand up for freedom.

Nikki and Deja - Karen English
Meet Nikki and Deja, who live next door to each other and are best friends. They do everything together—watch Saturday morning cartoons, play jacks, jump double Dutch at recess, and help each other with their homework for Mrs. Shelby's third-grade class. But when an arrogant new girl arrives and Nikki and Deja form a club that would exclude her, the results are not what they expect. This warm, easy-to-read chapter book from an award-winning author captures all the joys and complexities of elementary school life—particularly friendships and cliques—with finesse and humor.


4th-6th Grade
On March 2, 1955, an impassioned teenager, fed up with the daily injustices of Jim Crow segregation, refused to give her seat to a white woman on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Instead of being celebrated as Rosa Parks would be just nine months later, fifteen-year-old Claudette Colvin found herself shunned by her classmates and dismissed by community leaders. Undaunted, a year later she dared to challenge segregation again as a key plaintiff in Browder v. Gayle, the landmark case that struck down the segregation laws of Montgomery and swept away the legal underpinnings of the Jim Crow South.

One Crazy Summer - Rita Williams-Garcia
Set during one of the most tumultuous years in recent American history, One Crazy Summer is the heartbreaking, funny tale of three girls who travel to Oakland, California, in 1968 in search of the mother who abandoned them.


6th-8th grade
Ninth Ward - Jewell Parker Rhodes
Twelve-year-old Lanesha lives in a tight-knit community in New Orleans' Ninth Ward. She doesn't have a fancy house like her uptown family or lots of friends like the other kids on her street. But what she does have is Mama Ya-Ya, her fiercely loving caretaker, wise in the ways of the world and able to predict the future.

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry - Mildred D. Taylor
The story of one African American family fighting to stay together and strong in the face of brutal racist attacks, illness, poverty, and betrayal in the Deep South of the 1930s.

Aya - Marguerite Abuet
Ivory Coast, 1978. Family and friends gather at Aya's house every evening to watch the country's first television ad campaign promoting the fortifying effects of Solibra, "the strong man's beer." It's a golden time, and the nation, too--an oasis of affluence and stability in West Africa--seems fueled by something wondrous.

Zora and Me - Victoria Bond
Racial duplicity threatens an idyllic African American community in the turn-of-the-century South in a dazzling debut inspired by the early life of Zora Neale Hurston.

Hush - Jacqueline Woodson
Evie Thomas is not who she used to be. Once she had a best friend, a happy home and a loving grandmother living nearby. Once her name was Toswiah.

Now, everything is different. Her family has been forced to move to a new place and change their identities. But that's not all that has changed. Her once lively father has become depressed and quiet. Her mother leaves teaching behind and clings to a new-found religion. Her only sister is making secret plans to leave.

And Evie, struggling to find her way in a new city where kids aren't friendly and the terrain is as unfamiliar as her name, wonders who she is.

Zahrah the Windseeker - Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu
In the Ooni Kingdom, children born dada—with vines growing in their hair—are rumored to have special powers. Zahrah Tsami doesn’t know anything about that. She feels normal. Others think she’s different—they fear her. Only Dari, her best friend, isn’t afraid of her. But then something begins to happen—something that definitely marks Zahrah as different—and the only person she can tell is Dari. He pushes her to investigate, edging them both closer and closer to danger. Until Dari’s life is on the line. Only Zahrah can save him, but to do so she’ll have to face her worst fears alone, including the very thing that makes her different.

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