Jerry Craft's Picks: Uplifting Books About Black and Brown Kids
When bestselling author, cartoonist, and father of two Jerry Craft was a kid, he struggled to enjoy reading, in part because, as a young African American boy, he rarely found books that featured characters who looked and lived like him. The books that were written about Black and Brown kids often focused on heavy topics like slavery and the fight for civil rights -- important topics, but somewhat removed from many kids' everyday experiences. Jerry wrote about transitioning to a new, mostly White school in his contemporary graphic novel New Kid, which won the 2020 Coretta Scott King Author Award, the 2019 Kirkus Prize for Young Readers' Literature, and the 2020 John Newbery Medal. It was the first graphic novel to win the top Newbery prize.
Jerry hopes that his book and the ones he selected for this list -- uplifting #OwnVoices books by authors of color about Black and Brown kids being regular kids -- will inspire this generation of readers. "I have always felt as if it is also extremely important for kids of color to see themselves being happy as well. In fact, it's not just important for them -- the world needs to see more Black and Brown kids being surrounded by happy families and loving friends. Our kids need to see stories that show them now, and in the future, instead of always in the past," says Jerry. For more about Jerry Craft and his work, check him out on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or his website.