April 30, 2024

In a world filled with challenges and hardships, it is essential to recognise and celebrate moments of joy and growth.

This month the Content team are celebrating Black Joy in particular by highlighting some of our favourite children’s books about positive Black experiences. Through these titles, readers can enjoy connecting with characters that radiate positivity and hope.


Brilliant Bea by Shaina Rudolph and Mary Vukadinovich, illustrated by Fiona Lee
LY | Quiz # 244465 | BL 3.5 | Magination Press

Despite her struggles with reading and writing, Beatrice is brilliant. With the help of a kind-hearted teacher, Beatrice finds a way to get her words across. Through Bea’s journey, the book celebrates resilience, self-acceptance, and the joy of embracing one’s unique abilities. It shows that joy can be found even in overcoming challenges. 

I’m Going to Be a Princess by Stephanie Taylor, illustrated by Jade Orlando
LY | Quiz # 244515 | BL 3.6 | Nosy Crow 

What will Maya be when she grows up? Maya finds out about some amazing Black woman, but she’s going to be a princess! Though, perhaps it’s not a fairy-tale princess Maya has in mind. By highlighting accomplished Black women and emphasising the power of imagination, the book portrays joy as a source of inspiration and empowerment. 

Small’s Big Dream by Manjeet Mann, illustrated by Amanda Quartey
LY | Quiz # 243656 | BL 3.6 | Harper Collins Children’s Books

In Small’s world, everything is small – her shoes, her bed, everything. But her dreams are big. And Small discovers that when you dream big, anything – and everything – can happen. Small’s determination and resilience showcase the joy of pursuing dreams, regardless of external constraints. The book encourages readers to believe in themselves and find joy in their aspirations. 


Happy Here: 10 Stories from Black Authors & Illustrators
MY | Quiz # 241043 | BL 4.7 | Knights Of

Discover ten stories of family, friendship, laughter, magic and peril in different genres and styles all about joy from Black authors and illustrators. These stories celebrate the resilience, creativity, and sense of belonging within Black communities.

Stuntboy, in the Meantime by Jason Reynolds, illustrated by Raul the Third
MY | Quiz # 242298 | BL 4.5 | Knights Of

Portico Reeves’s secret identity as Stuntboy allows him to use his superpower to keep everybody safe, but when his parents start fighting a lot he feels the responsibility to save them. Portico’s compassion, and determination to make things better exemplify joy even in the face of family struggles.

Ways to Make Sunshine by Renée Watson
MY | Quiz # 239095 | BL 4.5 | Bloomsbury Publishing 

The Hart family of Portland, Oregon, faces many setbacks after Ryan’s father loses his job. No matter what, Ryan tries to bring sunshine to her loved ones. Ryan’s ability to create sunshine out of adversity showcases the joy of embracing life’s ups and downs.


Simone Breaks All the Rules by Debbie Rigaud
MY+ | Quiz # 240620 | BL 5.1 | Scholastic Children’s Books

Simone is fed up with her overprotective mother’s insistence on micro-managing her life. She is determined to attend prom with Gavin Stackhouse, even if he does not know that yet. Through Simone’s journey to self-discovery and rebellion, the book celebrates joy in all its ways.

You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson
UY | Quiz # 239394 | BL 5.9 | Scholastic Children’s Books

Liz Lighty has avoided the spotlight in her small, wealthy, and prom-obsessed Midwestern high school. She concentrates on grades and music until circumstances force a change in plans. Liz’s resilience, humour and romance showcase joy in the face of adversity.

Rise to the Sun by Leah Johnson
UY | Quiz # 241185 | BL 6.0 | Scholastic Children’s Books

An encounter at a music festival brings together two strangers – Toni, who is grieving the loss of her roadie father, and Olivia, a hopeless romantic – changing both of their lives forever. This book celebrates friendship, love, and the impact of music.

Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry by Joya Goffney
UY | Quiz # 243349 | BL 4.1 | Hot Key Books 

When her journal goes missing and her list of biggest fears is posted online with a challenge to face them or have the journal go public, Quinn has to move from inside her mind to real life. Despite fear and challenges, Quinn’s journey emphasises the power of vulnerability, living in the moment, and connecting with others.


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