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Authors & Illustrators

30+ Incredible Black Children’s Book Illustrators

Written by Katie Hintz-Zambrano

Photography by Christian Robinson, Photographed by Michelle Drewes

Need some fresh inspiration for your summer reading stack? We’ve got you covered. Below, we’re celebrating 30 Black illustrators whose stunning artworks have brought to life hundreds of incredible children’s books in a variety of spellbinding styles. From award-winning superstars who’ve been illustrating for decades (hello, E.B. Lewis and Pat Cummings!), to rising talents in the field (like Christian Robinson and Keturah A. Bobo), we’re putting some faces, names, and stories to some of the most vibrant kid-lit artwork around. If these talented folks aren’t already mainstays on your child’s bookshelf, we’re confident you’ll discover dozens of soon-to-be-favorites below.

Is an illustrator you love missing from our list? Feel free to let us know in the comments below, as we’ll be updating this list regularly!

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  1. Fantastic list! Thank you for creating it. Daniel Minter, Don Tate, Floyd Cooper and Eric Velasquez would also be great to include.

  2. Janetha Edwards says...


    I’m not sure if you ever had Floyd Cooper appear in your notable illustrator section, but here’s a snippet found from wiki about him: Floyd Cooper is an American illustrator of children’s books. He is based in Easton, Pennsylvania and has worked with Jane Yolen, Nikki Grimes, Eloise Greenfield, Howard Bryant, Joyce Carol Thomas and many more. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma.

    He’s amazing!

    • Thank you for looking out, Janet has!
      I see you! ???

  3. Mary Dortch says...

    I am looking for a black illustrator to do my books can you please tell me how can I find one

  4. Jermaine Mathis says...

    Good day to you,
    I have a daughter who is one of the greatest artists I’ve ever seen. I have been looking near and far to help get an opportunity to become an illustrator. I’m hoping some support from you to her me help her reach her dreams.

  5. Thank you, Kelly! Lists like this are soo hard to do. I have much respect for anyone pulling it off because, invariably, something gets missed. Kudos to Mothermag for a terrific list!

  6. Thank you for looking out, Janetha!
    I see you! ???

  7. Jennifer Marquardt says...

    Maybe he has already been featured, but if not, PLEASE add R. Gregory Christie to your list, PRONTO! He is amazing! :) And thank you for putting this list together in the first place…so many beautiful books to read and share.

  8. Bonnie Verburg says...

    Thank you for this delicious collection of books! What a treat! It would be great to include 2-time Caldecott Gold Medalists Leo & Diane Dillon. They paved the way for so many illustrators. Their Caldecott winners, ASHANTI TO ZULU and WHY DO MOSQUITOS BUZZ IN PEOPLE’S EARS? are classics, along with HER STORIES and THE PEOPLE COULD FLY. Thank you.

  9. Raina says...

    R. Gregory Christie is an amazing illustrator! HIs paintings are so expressive and moving. He has an abiding dedication to supporting Black artists and using his deep talents to celebrate, honor, and contribute to African American culture. I think he should be included in this list!

  10. I am honored to be included, and I see many more recommendations. I would also add Floyd Cooper, James Ransome, and Javaka Steptoe.

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