Representation matters: 4 books about kids of color that I love to read to my son

By Khalil Munir

Picture this: You have a child full of energy, transitioning from bath to bed. It’s the perfect time for winding down. And the tool that I use is a book. 

In all four of these books, the main character is a person of color. I like sharing these books with my 5-year-old son because I want him to see himself in literature. All the authors are people of color, too — including myself. I’m also an author who learns and thinks differently. So representation is doubly important to me. 

The themes of these books are universal. They talk about being caring and understanding, being a good citizen, being a productive person in society. These books really affirm who and what a child can be. 

The Crown Is Yours, by Khalil Munir

What it’s about: I wrote this book because I didn’t see people of color talking about hidden disabilities. I found out I had dyslexia when I was 14. The main character in my book finds out when he’s in fourth grade. His mom helps him see dyslexia as his superpower. 

One thing I really like: I came across a quote from James Baldwin: “Our crown has already been bought and paid for. All we have to do is wear it.” I wanted children to know that they’re born with a purpose. They’re born with their crown. They just have to have the courage to wear their crown. 

I Promise, by LeBron James

What it’s about: This book helps kids set standards for themselves and promise that they’re going to strive for greatness. Some of my favorite promises in the book are “I promise to ask for help whenever I need it” and “I promise to use my voice and stand up for what’s right.”

One thing I really like: This book emphasizes starting with yourself. Kids need to learn at an early age that it starts with you. I also love that LeBron James has a platform and is not afraid to use it. He is from an underserved community, and he is giving back to an underserved community.

Every Little Thing, by Bob Marley and Cedella Marley

What it’s about: This book takes a song I love, Bob Marley’s “Every Little Thing,” and turns it into a story about a boy encountering little adversities and overcoming them. He knows everything is going to be all right.

One thing I really like: It is very nostalgic for me because I grew up listening to Bob Marley’s music. It’s great to have children connect to the story in such a simple way.

Max and the Tag-Along Moon, by Floyd Cooper

What it’s about: This book is about a grandfather promising his grandson that the moon will always be with him. The boy is coming home from his grandfather’s house. He’s riding in a car and the moon is following him.

One thing I really like: What really captivated me is the artwork. I wanted to expose my son to these illustrations. I also liked seeing a brown boy on the cover. The book is about how the grandfather’s love will always be with him. It’s an important lesson.

This article was scribed by Julie Rawe.

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    About the author

    About the author

    Khalil Munir is a noted dancer, actor, and author of The Crown Is Yours. He teaches theater and movement at the Delaware Valley Friends School.