Illustration by Frank Morrison from the book I Got The School Spirit by Connie Schofield-Morrison

It’s back to school time and we’re of course prepping for a successful year by reading great books! It feels a little weird prepping for a new school year when there’s so much uncertainty surrounding education right now. On top of all of the new safety protocols we have to follow due to the pandemic, we also have to reckon with racism and injustice in our education system. Thankfully there are scores of us fighting to bring about change and equity . All of that could dampen some of the joys of schooling — if we let it. …


Books help reinforce the positive messages we want children to embrace. That’s why it’s so important that children have access to books that affirm who they are and encourage them to believe in themselves. While self love and self acceptance develops as children grow, books like these can help us nurture those skills along the way.

Helping Kids Rise believes all children deserve access to books that educate, empower and inspire and all of these books fit that mission!

I Am Enough by Grace Byers, Illustrated by Keturah A Bobo: This is a gorgeous, lyrical ode to loving who you…


Do you know who Sarah Goode was? How about Dr. Patricia Bath? These are just two of the many African American women who made their marks in the STEM field, while also making a mark on American history.

Sarah Goode was an entrepreneur and inventor who became one of the first African American women to receive a US Patent. Dr. Patricia Bath invented the Laserphaco Probe for cataract treatment. She was the first African American female doctor to receive a medical patent. They are trailblazers!

Picture book biographies are great way to help readers better connect with stories that they…


Girls love Science, Technology, Engineering and Math…and they’re good at it too. Stereotypes that send the message that girls aren’t good at STEM can be discouraging. Children’s books like these are great for showing boys and girls that girls can … and do thrive in the STEM field. These books are also a great way to spark a child’s curiosity in STEM fields.

Representation matters! We love that most of these books are written by African American authors who are either working in STEM fields or who are passionate about encouraging African American girls to learn about STEM. …


Illustration by Vashti Harrison from her book Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History

History is a subject children often feel disconnected from, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Books are an easy way to get children interested in learning history. When children can see history makers as “regular” people, they build a connection with those stories and become more motivated to learn.

To celebrate Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, (March 8th), we’ve curated a list of children’s books that highlight history making women.

What’s special about this list is that these children’s books each feature multiple history making women for readers to celebrate.


Illustration by Gordon C. James from Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes

Children’s books featuring African American boys often focus on the struggles they face at the hands of an often unjust society. While it’s important for children to understand the history of America and the work that is still left to be done, that isn’t the entire existence of their childhoods.

There is also joy. Everyday, loving, and fulfilling, JOY.

Helping Kids Rise has created this list of books centered around the everyday joy filled lives of black boys. These books highlight the joys and diversity of black boys and remind them to embrace the happiness that surrounds them.


Illustration by E.B. Lewis from Jacqueline Woodson’s book “Each Kindness”

Kindness: the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.

Empathy: the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

One small act of kindness can change the world and one book can be the spark that ignites that act of kindness. Kindness and empathy are one of the greatest needs in our world and thankfully these skills can be taught. These amazing books featuring diverse characters, teach children how being kind can really change the world.

“Try to be the rainbow in someone else’s cloud.” ~Dr. Maya Angelou

Helping Kids Rise

Diverse childrens books recommendations to encourage growth, inclusiveness, and understanding

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