I’ve been aware of Kwanzaa for years, but it wasn’t until the kids and I dove into learning about other cultures that I truly understood what made the holiday special. The word Kwanzaa is Swahili for “first fruits,” and the week-long celebration culminates with a feast. Kwanzaa is a time where African-Americans celebrate unity, self-determination, purpose, creativity, and more.
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If your family is looking for a book to pair with your celebration, or you’re looking to learn more about this special tradition, I highly recommend one of these great children’s books about Kwanzaa. If you’re new to Kwanzaa, like I was, you’ll find yourself learning as much as your children!
9 Children’s Books About Kwanzaa
Together for Kwanzaa by Juwanda G. Ford
Kayla loves Kwanzaa, but when a snowstorm threatens to keep her older brother from the festivities, she begins to worry. Will he make it in time to celebrate with the family? This book uses a compelling story to teach children the meaning of Kwanzaa.
My First Kwanzaa by Karen Katz
This beautiful book is great for very young children, and walks through the basics of Kwanzaa. It explains each element of the celebration, complete with pronunciations, which as a parent I found very helpful! This is a great place to start if you’re new to Kwanzaa.
Seven Spools of Thread by Angela Shelf Medearis
Seven brothers who live together in an African village are always arguing. Their father passes away, and he leaves them with an interesting challenge: turn seven spools of thread into gold or be cut out from their inheritance and made to live as beggars. This beautifully illustrated story was written especially for Kwanzaa, and includes a great introduction about the history of the holiday.
My First Kwanzaa Book by Deborah Chocolate
Another great book for youngsters, this book explains the importance of Kwanzaa and the focus on community and love. Lots of great information for further study is included as well.
The Story of Kwanzaa by Donna L. Washington
I really appreciate the straightforward explanation of Kwanzaa this book provides. The history of the holiday, the seven principles, and the symbolism are all shared in a way that is easy for both kids and adults to understand. At the end of the book, you’ll find instructions for Kwanzaa-related crafts and recipes. A great tool for building a whole unit study!
Imani’s Gift at Kwanzaa by Denise Burden-Patmon
While Imani’s grandmother braids her hair, she shares the importance of Kwanzaa. Imani learns that this special holiday is not just about her, but about celebrating her heritage, her ancestors, and the unity of her people. This is one of my favorite books about Kwanzaa for kids.
Lil’ Rabbit’s Kwanzaa by Donna L. Washington
Lil’ Rabbit’s grandmother is sick, so they won’t get to celebrate the feast of Karamu. Lil’ Rabbit decides to find a special gift for his grandmother, but he has trouble finding just the right thing. Little does he know, he is bringing others together to make this the best Karamu yet!
Habari Gani?: What’s the News? : A Kwanzaa Story by Sundaira Morninghouse
Kia and her family are celebrating Kwanzaa for the first time this year! Kia is excited to learn about the each Kwanzaa tradition and what it means. She learns that Kwanzaa has both cultural and political significance, and that the things they celebrate during Kwanzaa play a role in their lives all year long.
Wood-Hoopoe Willie by Virginia Kroll
Willie is always drumming or tapping to express the music he feels in his soul. He longs to play the traditional African instruments he hears his grandfather describe, like the ecasas and the guedras. At a Kwanzaa celebration, he finally gets his chance!