While Black authors and narrators always have a place in my audiobook recommendations for kids, it is important to pause in February to highlight and celebrate the heritage and history of African Americans in our culture. This traumatic year has brought home the point that Black history is American history, and Black heritage needs and deserves to be celebrated by all.
by Matthew A. Cherry, read by Blue Ivy Carter
Dreamscape, Ages 4-6
With a voice full of power and wonder, the 8-year-old daughter of Beyoncé and Jay-Z narrates Zuri's story about all the amazing things her hair can do. The cheerful ending pulls the listener into a warm family embrace.
ALL BECAUSE YOU MATTER
by Tami Charles, read by Tami Charles
Scholastic Audiobooks, Ages 4-6
In this story inspired by her son, Charles affirms and reaffirms her son's importance, despite instances that might cause him to "question his place." This audiobook provides a powerful offering to a young Black boy about his worth as it confirms and reconfirms that he matters.
FIFTY CENTS AND A DREAM: Young Booker T. Washington
by Jabari Asim, read by LaQuita James
Hachette Audio, Ages 6+
With a Southern accent and a deep, dramatic voice, LaQuita James brings to life for young listeners renowned educator Booker T. Washington. From his uneducated childhood to his five-hundred-mile journey on foot from West Virginia to Hampton Institute in Virginia, Washington's story is inspiring. and James helps listeners feel and relate to Washington’s dedication and fearless optimism.
SHE PERSISTED: CLAUDETTE COLVIN
by Lesa Cline-Ransome, Chelsea Clinton [Letter], read by Janina Edwards, Chelsea Clinton [Letter]
Listening Library, Ages 6+
Janina Edwards's steady and friendly narration suits this children's biography about the life and activism of Claudette Colvin, who helped launch the Montgomery bus boycotts when she was 15 years old. Young listeners will be inspired by the teenage Colvin's determination to be recognized as a person with the same rights that others had.
LORETTA LITTLE LOOKS BACK: Three Voices Go Tell It
by Andrea Davis Pinkney, read by Dashawn Barnes, Deborah Wilson, Ralph Harris
Hachette Audio, Ages 8+
Author Andrea Pinkney creates something extraordinary in this monologue novel using the oral history tradition to explore the effects of racism and segregation through generations of the Little family of Ruleville, Mississippi. Listeners will be swept away by the power of these distinct voices as they follow the Littles from the 1920s to the 1960s.
THIS IS YOUR TIME
by Ruby Bridges, read by Ruby Bridges
Listening Library, Ages 10+
The author, Civil Rights activist Ruby Bridges, narrates her inspirational letter to "the young peacemakers of America" in this brief but powerful audiobook. Her quiet strength shines a light on the past to illuminate America's potential to unite through love, grace, and positive change. A timely and essential message for listeners of all ages.
LEGACY: Women Poets of the Harlem Renaissance
by Nikki Grimes, read by Bahni Turpin, Karole Foreman, Zakiya Young, Janina Edwards
Bloomsbury Publishing, Ages 10+
Four narrators create a striking collection of voices, exploring and celebrating the little-known poems of Black women from the Harlem Renaissance. In this collection, Nikki Grimes alternates a Harlem Renaissance poem with an original poem of her own.