My favorite book as a child was Corduroy. While the book featured a storyline about a cute little brown teddy bear from a department store’s toy aisle with a desire to find a home (and his lost button); that’s not what made the book my favorite. Nope, Corduroy was cute; but Lisa, the little girl who ultimately brought Corduroy home, is who drew me to the story. Why?
Well, its simple; Lisa looked like me. A little black girl, with freshly pressed hair, a frugal mother, and a determination to get the teddy bear of her dreams. While Corduroy’s adventure in the book was funny and exciting, it was the first time I’d seen a black/brown character in a storybook before and even at the age of 4, I knew the importance of that piece.
To this day I love children’s literature and often seek to give books as gifts. However, in recent years I began to notice that finding children’s books with diverse character/author representation was alarmingly difficult. Surely, authors of color exist and are writing books featuring characters that children can connect with and enjoy. Yet, in a society where there are more books featuring animals as main characters, than children of color; finding such books was challenging. I found that I wasn't the only parent seeking more diverse representation in the books my children read. As I found books of representation, I shared the titles with friends and soon they were asking me for booklists. This led to referrals for more curated booklists and...Brown Babies Books was born.
Brown Babies Books is an online, indie bookstore that specializes in children’s books that are written/illustrated by authors of color and starring characters of color. Our signature Birthday Book Box combines the joy of reading with the excitement of a birthday gift. Each gift wrapped box includes 2-3 owner-curated books based on your child’s age, grade level and interests. As a strong believer in the power of developing early reading skills in children, along with an understanding that representation matters, Brown Babies Books looks to introduce customers to authors and illustrators of color who might not be easily found on the shelves of the typical big box stores.
“Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.” ~Maya Angelou