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More Books to Celebrate Black History Month!

by | Feb 23, 2017 | Our Blog

Peace, my name is Rob and I’m an author and illustrator from Oakland, California. I was invited to share with you some African American focused stories you can find in Tandem’s circulating StoryCycles® collection. Excited to look through the books, I pulled out five titles that I had not seen before and wanted to share with you. I hope you can read these with your children or students. Enjoy!


Jamaica Tag-alongJamaica Tag Along
Written by Juanita Havill
Illustrated by Anne Sibley O’ Brien

This is a story about siblings and compassion. I love the book. It’s about a girl who wants to follow her big brother around. Big brother wants to go play and doesn’t want his little sister tagging along. He leaves without her, but she decides to follow him anyway, and although he told her she couldn’t go because of her size, she notices a boy playing with her brother who is smaller than her. Angry, she decides to jump in only to be brushed off by her brother. She almost does the same thing to a smaller child playing in the sand, but decides to give him a chance, even though he’s smaller.


Full, full, full, of love
Full of LoveWritten by Tricia Cooke
Illustrated by Paul Howard

This is a great book about grandmothers. In my experience as a child, I loved my grandma and this book shows some of this love as a little boy talks to his grandma about a dinner, constantly asking if its done. He plays, talks, and tries to help while waiting impatiently for grandma to finish. By the time it is ready, his whole family has shown up to bring food and eat together. It’s a wonderful slice of life book.


Yesterday I Had the Blues
Yesterday I had the bluesWritten by Jeron Ashford Frame
Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie

This book is about something black folks invented, the blues. But it isn’t just about sadness, the book characterizes many different personalities and emotions they exhibit. The people are all either family members or friends of the main character, a little boy. He goes through his day and neighborhood talking about the different people and how they feel. A beautiful tale illustrated by a great illustrator R. Gregory Christie!


Jonathan and His Mommy
Jonathan and his mommyWritten by Irene Smalls
Illustrated by Michael Hays

This is just the kind of everyday life book that I love, with beautiful and technically precise illustrations. It follows a little boy and his momma as they walk, stomp, and run through their neighborhood. It is awesome to see the mother and son relationship as the mother loves her son and plays with him. It shows imagination as the boy imagines things on their path. Its not about a historical figure or a painful African American experience, it is about a day in the life and kids need to see that ease, that love, and happiness.


Diez Deditos
Diez DeditosWritten by José-Luis Orozco
Illustrated by Elisa Kleven

I included Diez Deditos as an Afro-Latino pick. Although its not explicitly stated by the author, I would consider the families and children in this book a good representation for Afro-Latino culture. This book is a songbook written by a well known and loved musician José Luis Orozco. It features a different song on every page and is perfect for story time readers who can also sing or play an instrument.


Illustrator Elisa Kleven is among our special guests attending our first-ever Storybook Gala on May 17th! Learn more about Kleven and our gala, celebrating diversity in children’s books, by clicking here.

Robert Liu-Trujillo

Robert Liu-Trujillo

Robert Liu-Trujillo is the author and illustrator of Furqan’s First Flat Top. He was born in Oakland and raised in the Bay Area.  He has illustrated four picture books. You can find more of his work at

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