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Black Joy Matters: 8+ Children’s Books Featuring a Black Santa

Did you know that studies show children with a positive attitude about their own racial identity are more likely to thrive academically and socially?  During the holiday season, experiencing a Black Santa is an important aspect of that.  The website EmbraceRace has an interesting article that discusses supporting positive racial identity development in Black children.

When my children were smaller, finding picture books that featured Black Santas wasn’t easy.  The ones that existed were always checked out at the library.   There were also instances where some books were so expensive, or they were out of print.  In recent years, more books have been published, but we still need MORE.  I’d love for children of all colors to see themselves represented with a Santa to match their culture or heritage.  For more diverse and multicultural holiday books check out this blog post.

If you’re looking for picture books that feature a Black Santa I hope you’ll find a few listed below.  Let me know what other books you would add to this list in the comments.  Happy Reading!

The Real Santa

Nancy Redd and Charnelle Pinkney Barlow
4-8
It’s not Christmas without Santa! But what does Santa truly look like? Does he match the figurines on the mantel, or the faces on our favorite holiday sweaters? Does he look like you or like me? Find out in this joyous and cozy celebration of family, representation, and holiday spirit! Destined to be a new classic, and perfect for any child looking to see some of themself in Santa Claus.

Santa in the City

Tiffany D. Jackson and Reggie Brown
4-8
It's two weeks before Christmas, and Deja is worried that Santa might not be able to visit her--after all, as a city kid, she doesn't have a chimney for him to come down and none of the parking spots on her block could fit a sleigh, let alone eight reindeer! But with a little help from her family, community, and Santa himself, Deja discovers that the Christmas spirit is alive and well in her city.

Carla and the Christmas Cornbread

Carla Hall
4-8
Christmas is Carla's favorite holiday of the year. She goes to her grandparents' house and eats grandma's special recipe--a perfectly delicious cornbread. She listens to her grandpa Doc's marvelous stories about traveling the world. And, best of all, she spends lots of time with her family. But when Carla accidentally takes a bite out of Santa's sugar cookie, she thinks she's ruined Christmas. How will Santa know to stop at their house if they don't leave him a midnight snack? With her grandmother's help, Carla comes up with a plan, but will it be enough to save Christmas?

I Got the Christmas Spirit

Connie Schofield-Morrison and Frank Morrison
4-8
It's the most wonderful time of the year, and a mother and daughter are enjoying the sights and sounds of the holiday season. The little girl hears sleigh bells ringing and carolers singing. She smells chestnuts roasting--CRUNCH! CRUNCH! CRUNCH!--and sees the flashing lights of the department store windows--BLING! BLING! BLING! She spreads the spirit of giving wherever she goes. And when she reaches Santa, she tells him her Christmas wish--for peace and love everywhere, all the days of the year.

The 12 Days of Christmas

Rachel Isadora
4-8
Set in Africa, this beautiful rendition of the classic Christmas carol has a unique twist: colorful icons illustrate the various gifts repeated in each verse of this cumulative song, creating a rebus-style text that gives young children a fun way to follow along and chime in with the lyrics. The gorgeous, wonderfully detailed collage illustrations, comprised of colorful kente cloth and cut paper, feature tribal drummers and dancers, traditional clothing and native wildlife, making every scene as visually striking as the last.

The Night Before Christmas

Rachel Isadora
4-8
A gorgeous reimagining of the beloved Christmas poem, set in Africa Since Clement Clarke Moore penned this Christmas classic in 1825, it has been beloved by children around the world. Now, Caldecott Honor winner Rachel Isadora sets the poem in Africa, capturing the anticipation and excitement of Christmas in her stunning collages. Children will pore over the enchanting artwork brimming with special touches like traditional African toys and a Santa who sports dreadlocks as they chime along with the familiar rhyming text.

Grace at Christmas

Mary Hoffman
4 - 9
Grace loves Christmas - acting out the nativity story, opening presents, celebrating with Ma, Nana and Paw-Paw. But this Christmas Nana announces they will have visitors from Trinidad. Grace is horrified! She does NOT want to share the day with another little girl she doesn't even know. But after some wise words from Nana, Grace's generous spirit shines through. And in the end, as they all share a special surprise, Grace thinks it could be the best Christmas ever!

The Nutcracker In Harlem

T. E. McMorrow
4-8
This jazz inspired retelling of the Nutcracker is so beautiful! The colorful and detailed watercolor illustrations by illustrator James Ransome are amazing. Set in New York City during the height of the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920’s, little Marie finds her voice as a musician thanks to her enchanting adventures with a magical toy. The back matter contains an author’s note about the inspiration for the story. It also includes additional information about the Harlem Renaissance. A wonderful Christmas themed book with themes of: music (jazz), overcoming fears, finding your voice, confidence, and family.

My Baby Loves Christmas

Jabari Asim
0-3
Baby loves candy canes wrapped in bows. Baby loves jingle bells. Baby loves snow. . . . Celebrate all the lovely things that Baby discovers about Christmas. This board book, the perfect gift for a new baby, features rhythmic poetry from Jabari Asim and adorable art from Tara Nicole Whitaker.

Santa Claus is Coming to the Town

Thomishia Booker
4 - 8
Santa Claus is Coming to The Town is a rhyming whimsical story that makes you feel nostalgic. The story takes place in Oakland, California and includes some of the author's favorite locations. This lyrical story features a melanated Santa, celebrates the magic of Christmas, and will have you singing along while you read.
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