4 books that promote positive identity development in boys of African descent

Cover of "Dad Who Will I Be" by Todd Taylor

It is very important that boys of African descent develop a positive identity. Having a positive identity enables boys of African descent to pursue dreams of individual fulfilment and social consequence. The books reviewed in this article use historical facts about heroes of African descent and history of Africa. As a father of two boys, I read at least two of these books each day to them because I want to understand that excellence is the deep part of what it means to be a person of African descent.

Dad Who Will I Be by Todd Taylor is an inspirational book for young Black boys. The book connects a boy’s dreams to Black heroes who dared to strive towards and achieve greatness. The book displays powerful images of an active father who uses affirmative words to guide the young boy in imagining possibilities for his life. This book is a reflective tool to aid Black boys in realizing their dreams are possible.

Riley Can Be Anything by Davina Hamilton is about dream exploration. In a playful dialogue with his cousin, Riley imagines himself in the career paths through Black men in his life. The author’s skilful rhyming and joyful illustrations allow kids to follow each page with ease. This is a great book because it allows children to begin dreaming of who they want to become in the future.

Superhero Like Me by Dr Kimberly D. Brown is a great book for Black boys. The author shows Black boys that they can aspire to be heroes like the great leaders of Black history. This book provides historical facts & positive images of Black men demonstrating excellence in all societal spaces. Reading this book allows Black boys to see themselves as having the ability to be super just like the leaders of the past.

Positive Messages for Black Children by Mama Sekou, Baba Sekou & Sekou Afrika is a must read! The authors use historical facts and affirmative words to inspire children to strive towards greatness. This book also teaches children to embrace and love what it means to be a person of African descent. The explosion of colors and artistic images allow children to follow the storyline.


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