Classic African American Children's Literature




The purpose of this article is to assert that there are classic African American children's books and to identify a sampling of them. The author presents multiple definitions of the term classic based on the responses of children's literature experts and relevant scholarship. Next, the manner in which data were collected and analyzed in regard to classic African American children's books is explained. Then, three categories are elaborated—universal experiences from an African American perspective, breakthrough books, and literary innovations—in which the African American children's books identified as classics were placed. The article concludes with pedagogical implications and conclusions.