Top Ten Tuesday: Books for My Younger Self

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is from a few weeks ago, September 7th. And, although it’s a question that specifically asks about picture books, I decided to go above and beyond.

Books for My Younger Self [Picture Books Little Me Would Have Loved]

All the books featured in this post were written by Black authors (except one) and feature Black female protagonists.

  1. Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry, Vashti Harrison (Illustrator)
    I saw Hair Love when it won the Oscar for best Animated Short Film and fell in love with it because it brought back memories. I remember my dad doing my hair when he would take me up to the hospital. His bush balls weren’t like my mother’s but they were pretty neat. The short also reminded me that Black girls have a complicated relationship with their natural hair. 
  2. I Am Enough by Grace Byers, Keturah A. Bobo (Illustrator)
    I bought this book simply for the cover and the illustrations. But the content is just as important. The premise of the book is very simple – loving who you are, respecting others, and being kind to one another. Can’t get any simpler than that right?
  3. Brown Sugar Babe by Charlotte Watkins Sherman, Akem (Illustrator)
    Oh. My. Gosh. This is a book I so wish I had when I was young. When I was growing up there were NO books like this. As a matter of fact, I don’t ever recall reading a picture book that had a black female protagonist that discussed her dark skin. So it warms my heart to see this and to instill that there is nothing wrong with being a dark-skinned girl.
  4. Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman, Caroline Binch (Illustrator)
    I loved this story because she proves, in spite of what others say, that a black girl can play Peter Pan and do it amazingly.

  1. Patina by Jason Reynolds
    As a former runner, sprinter to be exact, I really enjoyed this story. Some of it rang true to me – like the taunts from kids at my fancy-schmancy school. But overall it’s a good story about learning to trust others.
  2. Genesis Begins Again by Alicia D. Williams
    I haven’t read this one yet, but I’m sure it’s going to be amazing. It hit my radar because a fellow booktuber read and reviewed it. Even though Middle Grade, it seems to be a hard hitting book about colorism and internalized racism. The main character Genesis is a 13-year-old girl who is filled with self-loathing because she is dark-skinned. People, including her family, call her charcoal and eggplant because she is so dark. And, Genesis must find a way to love herself.
  3. Betty Before X by Ilyasah Shabazz, Renee Watson
    Admittedly, I don’t know a lot about Betty Shabazz, the wife of Malcom X. And, I think this is a really comprehensive overview of the life and activism of Betty Shabazz.

  1. War Girls by Tochi Onyebuci
    Nigerian sisters who kick ass in wartime. War Girls is rooted in the Nigeria/Biafra Civil War. Sisters Onyii and Ify dream of peace in their war-torn country and are willing to fight for their freedom and for peace. And, let’s just take a moment to give this cover some love.
  2. The Skin I’m In by Sharon G. Flake
    This is the story of a young dark-skinned girl who is taunted by her classmates because she is darker. The premise is about loving yourself – love the skin you’re in.
  3. Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson
    This is the story of young black girl, Jade, from a not so great neighborhood who goes to an all white high school. Piecing Me Together explores race, privilege, identity and friendships.
  4. The Stars and the Blackness Between Them by Juanauda Petrus
    The Stars and the Blackness Between is a story of two teenage girls finding love and happiness. Audre is from Trinidad and is sent to live in America when it’s discovered she’s been in a secret relationship with another girl. Mabel is trying to figure out some complicated feelings that she has towards her ex-boyfriend and best friend Jada.

    When I was in high school I didn’t see books with teenage girls in female/female romantic relationships. And, the reality is that those relationships didn’t really exist in public either. I’m sure had this book been out it certainly would have been banned in my high school library. As a Cis Het Female who has friends within the LGBTQIA+ community, I’m thrilled to see more books like these being published and finding their way into the hands of our young people who identify as queer.

Have you read any of these? Do you have any books with numbers in the title?

And, don’t forget to check out my Booktube channel.

12 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Books for My Younger Self

  1. Thistle & Verse October 29, 2020 / 8:33 pm

    Enjoyed the post. War Girls is on my TBR, though I probably won’t get to it until next year.


  2. Christopher | Plucked from the Stacks October 1, 2020 / 12:26 pm

    So many amazing books on here, but somehow I think this is the first time I’m hearing about The Stars and the Blackness Between. No idea how it slipped by me, but I’m adding it to my TBR pile immediately.


  3. lydiaschoch September 29, 2020 / 11:11 am

    You did a wonderful job on this post!

    My post .

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Broken Spine September 29, 2020 / 5:17 pm

      Thank you! It was fun to do. Looking at all the Black authors and Black female protagonists. It really does warm my heart, but at the same time there is a part of me that’s a little bitter that they weren’t around when I was growing up.


  4. susanblogginboutbooks September 29, 2020 / 11:03 am

    My youngest daughter is adopted and mixed. I honestly didn’t realize how few books there were that featured people who looked like her until she came into our home. I’m so glad there are more out there. And, yes, we have a complicated relationship with her natural hair! It’s beautiful and full but it locks so easily that it’s difficult to manage, especially now that she thinks she’s too old for braids. She’s finally convinced me to let her cut it short so that it’s easier for her to take care of on her own 🙂

    Thanks for this great list of books. I’ve heard of most of them but not all, so I’ll definitely be taking a closer look.

    Happy TTT!


    Liked by 1 person

    • The Broken Spine September 29, 2020 / 5:23 pm

      Even though it’s changing, it’s still a problem. There’s a lot of work that still needs to be done.

      I have a short natural cut, but it still requires more work than I thought it would. Just out of curiosity has your daughter ever gone to a natural hair stylist? And or found the right product for her hair type? The reason I ask is because before I found the products that work for my hair it would lock fast too.


      • susanblogginboutbooks September 30, 2020 / 10:45 am

        Your cut is basically what my daughter wants to get. We’re going to a Black hairstylist today. We’ve never seen this particular lady before, but she specializes in natural hair care, so I’m hoping we can get some great advice and product recommendations from her. For most of my daughter’s life, I’ve taken her monthly to a Black grandma in our neighborhood who’s a great braider. She’s recommended certain products, which have definitely made a difference. I loved my daughter having braids – they were really helpful for keeping her hair orderly and lock-free, but she hated getting them done because it was painful and she wanted to be able to do a variety of hairstyles. Plus, she’s decided she’s too old for braids and wants more control over her own hair (understandable). I think a short cut will be easier for her to maintain with her 4C hair type, so I’m hoping we can get a good cut, good advice, and a good person to help with maintenance from here on out. If you have great product recommendations or advice from your experience, I would love to hear it …

        Thanks for reading/listening 🙂



      • The Broken Spine September 30, 2020 / 11:19 am

        Hey Susan, I have 4C hair too. It’s hard to recommend products because everyone’s hair reacts differently. What I will say that I’ve learned is that moisture is key and helps so much with management. I heard that Tarji P. Hensen has a line of hair products that’s supposed to be good. Finding a good natural hairstylist is key to learning about your hair. 4c is a hard texture because it’s so coily and has such a zig zag pattern, which helps it to lock faster. And this hair texture can be really dry.

        One thing that was recommended to me was something called the LOC or LCO method (leave-in conditioner, oil, cream or leave-in, cream, oil). When you wash your hair you do that routine and it helps to lock in moisture and makes the hair so much more manageable.

        I found out the hard way that when braids are too tight it damages the hair. Til this day, I love getting braids. Braids can be versatile. One of the things that I did on a regular basis was two-strand twists and it’s a good maintenance style, too. There’s a booktuber Naya Reads and Smiles who did a video about her natural hair journey. If I can find it I’ll link it. It’s a very common journey and your daughter may relate, I know I did.


  5. trentpmcd September 29, 2020 / 8:50 am

    Thinking Peter Pan, did you see that a young black woman will play Tinkerbell in the new live action Disney version of the film? No reason she couldn’t play the main character, but a step closer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Broken Spine September 29, 2020 / 8:24 pm

      No, I haven’t heard that and yes it is a step closer. But Tink was a major player. At least in the movie.

      Liked by 1 person

      • trentpmcd September 30, 2020 / 7:01 am

        I had just read about it a couple of hours before seeing your post.


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