If you’ve ever tried to find diverse children’s books with BAME (black, asian or minority ethnic) characters, you’ll know that they are as rare as a Disney princess who can’t sing.
And as for picture books with a BAME boy as a main character? They are even harder to find.
Yet right here is where I’ve got the good news…
While there aren’t nearly as many as there should be, there are already some fabulous diverse children’s picture books out there staring BAME boys as main characters, and I’ve got the creme de la creme all lined up to share with you. So read on to find out all about them…
There is no denying the one piece of clothing everyone can laugh at. It’s pants, of course! So no wonder that there are so many children’s books glorying in these unmentionables. The Prince of Pants joins this proud group of pant-waving tomes with a bright and colourful story that’s bound to cause a giggle. Read on to take a peek inside!
So Much is one of those books that just makes me happy. And while it is a relatively simple story, about a very young child, Trish Cooke’s gentle humour and Helen Oxenbury’s charming illustrations make it a book that still appeals to my children even now that they are the grand old ages of five and nine.
In my search for picture books with diverse characters, I struggled to find a superhero-themed picture book that featured a BAME boy in the staring role. Then I came across this witty gem from Angela McAllister and Alex T. Smith. It DOES feature a black boy as the main character, but the superhero is actually (maybe) his mum!
While he may be better known for his adult fiction, writer Dave Eggers has also produced some wonderful children’s books. With the help of talented illustrators like Lane Smith, Eggers’ ‘Tomorrow Most Likely’ is magical journey through the possibilities a day may hold. Read on to take a peek!
We just adore ‘Have You Seen Elephant?’ Perfectly ridiculous and utterly beautiful, it’s the charmingly silly tale of a boy playing hide and seek with an elephant. ‘I must warn you though, ’ says Elephant at the beginning of the book, ‘I’m VERY good.’
My children and I are long-term fans of Lauren Child, and we have a great number of her books on our bookshelves. This particular title is full of her trademark style – collages of pattern and texture combined with bold, colourful drawings that are deceptively simple in style but convey a whole world of emotion in those simple strokes.
Not so much a story, as the chronicling of a journey, Windows is an absolutely gorgeous picture book by Julia Denos and E.B. Goodale. The book follows a young boy as he takes his dog on an evening walk, past the brightly-lit windows of his neighbourhood. Each of these windows tells a different story, as do the streets themselves, all backlit by beautiful sunset.
Ezra Jack Keats (1916-1983) is one of the giants of children’s picture book publishing. If you’ve never come across his work before, you are in for a real treat. And if you have read one or two of his books before, go find some more because he was both varied and prolific and you are bound to find something marvellous. To put it simply, his books are a joy!