I enjoy discovering new authors, especially black Canadian children's book authors. The community is small, but there are many incredible works, so I thought it would be fun to highlight some of them in this post.
Many of the authors mentioned in this list are part of a collective called the BlkBookFair. BlkBookFair is a platform where new and established authors (men and women) can help each other thrive; by working as a collective, to bring attention to the literary talents and skills of Black Canadians. This list is by no means exhaustive, but a great place to start supporting black authors!
1. Andrea Coke
Andrea Coke wears many hats. She is a wife, mother of four, teacher, speech-language pathologist, book reviewer, and now author. Creating engaging children’s stories that embrace well-being, diversity, and inclusion is where Andrea’s heart lies. After a childhood of inserting herself into other people’s experiences, she is thrilled to bring to life books for kids that reflect their own experiences. Andrea holds a Master of Health Science from the University of Toronto in Speech-Language Pathology, a Bachelor of Education from York University and a Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics from York University, in Canada. All this to say: Andrea knows about communication. Originally from the twin islands of Trinidad and Tobago, Andrea currently lives in Canada with her family. After a year of working online, she knows as well as everyone the importance of connection for healthy happy living, and plans to devote time and energy over the coming years, helping children around the world communicate to connect.
Andrea Coke and one of her children's book, " A Doll for Me".
2. Ayana Francis
Ayana Francis first published book is ABC Where are We? The West Indies! was inspired by her nephew, Idris. When she watches Idris grow and discover the world around him, she learns just as much in the process. It is important for Ayana that Idris, a young Black boy, learns to see himself in everything that he reads.
Ayana Francis and one of her children's book, "Home is the Caribbean".
3. Bonnie Farmer
Bonnie Farmer is an elementary school teacher, a children’s book author, and a playwright living in Montreal, Quebec. Farmer wrote about the legendary jazz pianist Oscar Peterson as a child.
Bonnie Farmer and her debut children's book, "Oscar Lives Next Door: A Story Inspired by Oscar Peterson's Childhood".
4. Danielle Murrell Cox
Danielle Murrell Cox is a Canadian illustrator and graphic designer. Her debut children's book, My Hair, celebrates black hair for young readers.
Danielle Murrell Cox and her debut children's book, "My Hair".
5. Dornalee Saunders
Dornalee Saunders is a Jamaican Canadian children's author and entrepreneur. She is the author of the children's book My Ears Don't Work, fueled by her personal experience with hearing loss; she set out to write as an ode to her younger self. Dornalee is an advocate for speaking up against hearing discrimination and evoking change. She hopes that by educating others about the difference between deafness and hard of hearing, she can encourage proper accommodations for each individual.
Dornalee Saunders and her debut children's book, "My Ears Don't Work".
6. Ekiuwa Aire
Ekiuwa Aire is a Nigerian-Canadian cultural connector passionate about building love and knowledge of African history and culture with all kids. She became a storyteller when she noticed the lack of diversity in the children’s book industry, specifically regarding children’s books on African history. While initially motivated by a desire to teach her kids about their history, she is now thrilled and humbled to be contributing to the preservation of African heritage and culture using her books.
Ekiuwa Aire and one of her children's book, "Idia of the Benin Kingdom".
7. Erica London
Erica London is a mother of 4 who aims to take parents and their child(ren) around the world through words. She desires to keep our young readers engaged through educational and thoughtful content for their young minds.
Erica London and one of her children's books, "Missing You".
8. Jaden Taylor
Jaden Taylor has been drawing cartoons and writing books since her first school days. In her spare time, she loves doing anything that involves just a bit of creativity — be it drawing, writing music, recording voice over - especially creatively staying up all night playing video games. Jaden lives in Toronto, Canada with her precious little Yorkie-Poodle named Chloe.
Jaden Taylor and one of her children's book, "Prissy Little Chloe: Terrier Trouble".
9. Jody Nyasha Warner
Jody Nyasha Warner is a writer, human rights advisor and former librarian. She was inspired to write this book because so much African Canadian history is either not well known or not documented.
Jody Nyasha Warner and her debut children's book, "Viola Desmond Won't Be Budged!"
10. Julene Butler
Julene Butler is compassionate, eclectic, brutally honest, and genuine. In her role as a child and youth practitioner, she has helped hundreds of clients manage their emotional and mental challenges. In her first book, Knots in My Laces, Knots in My Tummy, Julene leverages over 19 years of experience working with kids and a passion for writing to create an accessible resource that gets parents and young children talking about mental health.
Julene Butler and her debut children's book, "Knots in My Laces, Knots in My Tummy".
11. Latoya Patterson
Latoya Patterson was born and raised in Portland, Jamaica and holds a Diploma in Teaching from Mico University College and a bachelor's in Education from the University of the West Indies. In 2018 she migrated from Jamaica to pursue her dreams of becoming a writer, by attending Centennial College, where she successfully completed a Post-Graduate Diploma in Children’s Media Production with honours. Latoya Patterson currently resides in Toronto, Ontario. Where she has authored Children's picture books The Jada and Jamal adventure series coauthored a dub poetry book and is currently working on publishing a Middle-grade chapter book series due in 2022.
Latoya Patterson and one of her children's books, "I Wish Mommy Would Come Home".
12. Marswa Blossom Yarmeto
Marswa Blossom Yarmeto is a bestselling Published Author and a Public Speaker on racism, bullying and diversity. She is now a Canadian citizen born in Liberia during the infamous civil war to a gifted broadcast journalist. Blossom, as she is affectionately called, survived the brutal civil war. She is a wife and mother of two beautiful young girls. Blossom has been blogging over the years and is skilled in creative writing. Blossom has a passion and gift for moulding younger minds. She holds a Social Service Work diploma from Centennial College and a degree in Sociology from York University. And she is in the teaching field – primary school.
Marswa Blossom Yarmeto and one of her children's books, "Black, Brown or White We're All Beautiful".
13. Nadia L. Hohn
Nadia L. Hohn is a Canadian educator and children's book author. From the age of six years old, Nadia L Hohn began writing stories, drawing and making books. She lives in Toronto, teaches, reads a ton, and crafts stories. She also loves to write (songs, blogs, journals, stories), play piano, cook vegan dishes, travel, study arts and cultures of the African diaspora, especially Caribbean folk music, Orff music education, and run.
Nadia L. Hohn and one of her children's book, "A Likkle Miss Lou: How Jamaican Poet Louise Bennett Coverley Found Her Voice".
14. Shanice Nicole
Shanice Nicole is a Black feminist educator, facilitator, writer, and (out)spoken word artist. Her celebrated debut children's book, Dear Black Girls, is a letter, poem, and story. Above all, it is a necessary reminder to Black girls that they are special and loved.
Shanice Nicole and her debut children's book, "Dear Black Girls".
15. Shauntay Grant
Shauntay Grant is an author, poet, playwright, and multimedia artist. Her love of literature stretches back to her storytelling roots in Nova Scotia's historic Black communities. A multidisciplinary artist with professional degrees in creative writing, music, and journalism, she “creates artworks that are engaging and accessible, but also challenging, rigorous, and informed by deep research.
Shauntay Grant and one of her children's books, "My Hair is Beautiful".
16. Stephanie Danso
Stephanie Danso is an Educator, Registered Social Service Worker, who holds a Bachelor of Arts (BA) university degree. Stephanie currently resides in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. She loves tea, the outdoors, and long walks; and with two books under her belt, she has joyfully stumbled upon the absolute thrill of writing.
Stephanie Danso and one of her children's books, "A Big Sister’s Intuition".
17. Valene Campbell
Valene Campbell has a passion and hands-on approach to health & wellness. She has created various wellness initiatives for families ranging from school-age children to seniors in the areas of disease prevention and their management. In recent years, she has rediscovered her joy of writing and has now penned three of three bestselling children’s books. Her stories tap into what is traditionally deemed as ‘difficult to discuss topics such as health and social issues. Her stories offer insight to parents, and teachers while presenting helpful tidbits that will keep young readers engaged.
Valene Campbell and one of her children's books, "The Amazing Zoe Defeats The Germie Germlins".
18. Victoria Daley
Victoria Daley graduated from Sheridan College where she took the Community Outreach & Development course. Having a slew of interesting classes like Research Methods, Psychology and Health Promotions, she took a special interest in International Development. Once she completed school, is when she took a liking to write. Currently, she works with children with a diverse range of needs while having the opportunity to be a Mother to a beautiful 6-year-old girl where she is living out her own co-parenting experience.
Victoria Daley and of her children's book, "Mommy Lives Here & Daddy Lives There".
19. Yolanda T. Marshall
Yolanda T. Marshall is a Guyanese-born Canadian Author. The daughter of a musician, she began writing poems at eight. A cross-genre writer, world traveller, jazz lover and devoted mother, she embodies art and takes her readers on adventurous, cultured journeys.
Yolanda T. Marshall and one of her children's books, "My Soca Birthday Party: with Jollof Rice and Steel Pans".
What other authors would you add to our list? Feel free to write them below in the comments.