The North Paran Book Buzz List: Fun Summer Reads For Black Children

The librarian at my Mari’s school is a rock star. Like, Lady Gaga-worthy rock star. Like, seriously? During the school year, there wasn’t a week that went by without Mari singing Natalie’s praises “Mommy, she reads all the books!” and “Mommy, look at what Natalie picked out for me today!” and “Mommy, Natalie is sooooo cool!” I couldn’t agree more; to keep my baby’s head in great stories, Natalie pulled 20 books from the school library that she thought Mari would love, and lent them to her for the summer, with only one request: that Mari enjoy them. Seriously? This is what you want in a librarian someone who not only knows the books and reads and loves them, but is genuinely in touch with the audience looking for her help. I promise you, I wish every child had access to a Natalie in their local library. While I can’t whip up a Natalie for you, my dear sweet MyBrownBaby darlings, I did enlist the help of the editors of to come up with a cute summer reading list of African American children’s books for your kids. Here, great summer picture and chapter books for kids, tweens and teens all available for purchase on (where, for every book you buy, a child in need will get one free!).

1. We Had a Picnic This Sunday Past by Jacqueline Woodson
Teeka’s family had a picnic this Sunday past. Everyone was there, from mean old cousin Terrance who put fake flies on the sweet corn, to Bible-toting Reverend Luke to Auntie Kim (Teeka’s all-time favorite). And they were all dreading the arrival of Cousin Martha and her pie, which was always a bit on the dry side (but you had to eat every bit so you didn’t hurt her feelings). But this year, where was Cousin Martha? And where was that dried-out apple pie? (ages 4-8)

2. He's Got the Whole World in His Hands, by Kadir Nelson
Nelson, a Coretta Scott King Award winner, adapts the beloved spiritual for this beautiful picture book, creating a dazzling interpretation that rejoices in the connectedness of people and nature. (ages 4-8)

3. Julian's Glorious Summer by, Ann Cameron
Bicycles shiny, whizzing, wobbly bicycles scare Julian more than lions or tigers. But how can he tell that to his best friend, Gloria? She can already ride with no hands. So instead of telling the truth, Julian makes up a little fib. And he almost gets away with it until his fib backfires and Julian finds himself in the biggest, most confounding fix ever. (ages 6-9)

4. Miss You, Mina, by Denene Millner
Willhelmina “Mina” Chestnut loves spending time with her BFFs, Samantha and Liza, in their New Jersey suburb. But this summer, the girls are splitting up, and Mina is attending an art camp in New York City, where her ability to make new friends and push her art to new heights will be tested like never before. (ages 9-12)

5. Aaliyah, by Victoria Christopher Murray
The fourth book in the series described as “Dreamgirls” meets “Gossip Girl” continues the adventures of four African-American high-school girls who form their own singing group. (young teen)

6. Boy Shopping, by Nia Stephens
Readers can choose the ending in this story that follows cool rocker chick Kiki as she discovers the wonders of online dating and finds herself torn between five very different guys, including the hot bassist in her band. (teen)

The North Paran Book Buzzlist is a weekly feature produced by that gives readers an entertaining digest of the most fascinating books that are being talked about by the black community today.
Remember: For every book you purchase at, a new book will be given to a child in need!

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Denene Millner

Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.

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