African American Women Children's Book Illustrators: Beauty on the Page

This pig has a passion for pretty pictures, and here’s a special list: books illustrated by African American women. Who’s your favorite?

Yours with snorts,

S. Will Burr signature


Cherish Me
By Thomas, Joyce Carol
Illustrator Bennett, Nneka
CCBC Choices - 1998
Cooperative Children's Book Center Review
A poem taken from Thomas's singular, inspiring collection Brown Honey in Broomwheat Tea (HarperCollins, 1993) is presented on its own as the text of this uplifting, joyous picture book about a brown-skinned child. Thomas celebrates the ways in which blackness is beautiful and unique: "clothed" in the colors of mother earth, skin "glazed" by father sun, "the pattern of night in my hair." "I am beautiful by design," the text affirms. And most certainly the joyful, dark-skinned little girl pictured in Nneka Bennett's warm illustrations is, as is every child with whom this book is shared. (Ages 2-5)

Juneteenth Jamboree
By Weatherford, Carole Boston
Illustrator Buchanan, Yvonne
Now available in paperback, this is the story of a young girl who experiences the sights, sounds, and traditions of Juneteenth—a holiday that celebrates the emancipation of the last slaves in the United States.
Grandma's Purple Flowers
By Burrowes, Adjoa J.
The narrator's favorite Grandma lives through the park and down the hill. On the way to visit her, the little girl picks purple flowers—Grandma's favorite. One day, when the girl knocks on Grandma's door, Grandma moves slowly and is too tired to play. That night, she passes away.

Throughout winter, the little girl misses her terribly. But when spring arrives, the sight of purple flowers she and her grandmother planted in the garden makes her smile again.

The Neighborhood Mother Goose
By Crews, Nina
Illustrator Crews, Nina
Selected by Crews, Nina
2005 Texas Library Association's 2X2 Reading List
A CCBC Book of the Week Selection
Every day, children the world over sing, shout, and celebrate Mother Goose rhymes. And now there's a new reason to cheer: Nina Crews has added her own remarkable, jazzy style of illustration to a collection of forty-one favorite verses. Whether it's Jack jumping over a candlestick (atop a cupcake), Georgie Porgie kissing the girls (at the playground), or a fine lady riding a white horse (on the carousel), this exuberant treasury is sure to be read and enjoyed over and over again.
From Where I Stand: In the City
By Hudson, Cheryl Willis
Illustrator Devard, Nancy
A charming tale that reinforces the concepts of perception and place recognition, this book features rhyming text and energetic illustrations that show the unique perspective of a small boy as he accompanies an adult on her errands along a busy city street.

A Wild Cowboy
By Smith, Dana Kessimakis
Illustrator Freeman, Laura
Author Thomas, Garen Eileen
When a little boy spends the day at Grandma's, he prepares to go on the cowboy ride of his dreams. This quintessential cattle-rustling cowboy fantasy is ideal for all young tots with lots of wonder and imagination in their hearts.