Earlier in the week, Walter Dean Myers wrote a piece for the New York Times asking Where are the people of color in children’s books? after a study by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center said that of the 3,200 children’s books published in 2013, only 93 were about black people.
So the Guardian asked me to put together a list of my top 10 black characters in children’s books. I’ll admit, I struggled to come up with ten so I turned to twitter and people came through with an array of wonderful books, some I’d forgotten about and some I hadn’t even heard of.
I tried to pick a wide range from classics like A Wizard of Earthsea to more recent stories like Bird, but that meant not all of them made the list, which is a shame. So here are some more, because ten just isn’t enough.
Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves | Octavian Nothing by M.T. Anderson | Transcendence by C.J. Omololu | A Breath of Fresh Air by Geraldine Kaye | Black Sheep by Na’ima B Robert | Gullstruck Island by Frances Hardinge | Make Lemonade by Virginia Euwer Wolff | Coram Boy by Jamila Gavin | Running Girl by Simon Mason | Trash by Andy Mulligan | Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor | Push by Sapphire | Tyrell by Coe Booth | Desirable by Frank Cottrell Boyce | One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia | Fake ID by Lamar Giles | The Other Side of Truth by Beverley Naidoo | Boy21 by Matthew Quick | Sister Mine by Nalo Hopkinson | Sawbones by Catherine Johnson | We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulowayo | Abela by Berlie Doherty | The First Part Last by Angela Johnson | How To Be Invisible by Tim Lott | 33 Snowfish by Adam Rapp