Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead book cover

Lights! Camera! Reading Action! A huge part of helping children learn to love books is getting them engaged and keeping it that way. By showing children how wonderful a book can be, they’ll want to dive in even more. Why not use every tool in your toolbox? Sharing books by people they recognize or admire is one more way to get them invested in the books they have in front of them. Additionally, introducing children to people they may one day encounter on television, in film, or on the news from a diverse range of backgrounds and careers allows them to envision their own future lives and potential.

C is for Country

by Lil Nas X, illustrated by Theodore Taylor III

Have a little cowpoke in your family? Then saddle up with this book from beloved singer/rapper Lil Nas X (whose song “Old Town Road” was an instant new classic with kids and grownups). It’s a charming alphabet book that’s set on a farm! It’s particularly adorable because we see the alphabet used with Lil Nas X’s well known sense of style and originality. Why should F stand for farm when it can stand for fringe and feathers instead?!


Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem

by Amanda Gorman, illustrated by Loren Long

First U.S. National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman took the country by storm with her poem, “The Hill We Climb” at the 2021 Presidential Inauguration, which brought her immense talent to the spotlight. Her children’s book, Change Sings, teaches kids about tolerance, building equality, and making a difference. After all, the power to change the world does not just lie with adults, but also with children.



by Lupita Nyong’o, illustrated by Vashti Harrison

Black Panther actress and Academy Award-winner Lupita Nyong’o has written a beautiful story about a little girl named Sulwe. Sulwe discusses colorism, self-esteem, and learning to love the skin you’re in. With illustrations by Vashti Harrison, the story is lush and moving in both words and pictures.


The Bench

by Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex, illustrated by Christian Robinson

Have you or your little one ever wanted to read a book written by royalty? Here’s your chance! This beautiful poem written by the Duchess of Sussex, aka Meghan Markle, is a gentle and loving ode to her husband and son. Like Love You Forever or Goodnight Moon, it’s destined to become a bedtime classic. And its authorship will instantly engage any little princess and prince fans, as well as offering an opening for meaningful conversations.


I Promise

by LeBron James, illustrated by Nina Mata

Legendary basketball star LeBron James has written a children’s book that’s not simply a book—it’s a mantra. Wonderfully and vibrantly illustrated by the very talented Nina Mata, I Promise delivers a list of promises for a child (or even an adult) to make to themselves each day. These vows focus on helping others, taking care of and believing in oneself, and finding ways to make the world a better place. It’s a book of positivity, joy, and encouragement that can help anyone find their greatness within.


Welcome to the Party

by Gabrielle Union, illustrated by Ashley Evans

There are hundreds of books about welcoming a new baby to the world. Most of them are filled with soft water colors and poems that tug at a new parent’s heartstrings. What sets this volume from actress Gabrielle Union (who kids may remember from Cheaper by the Dozen or as the voice of Nala in The Lion Guard TV Series) apart is the vibrancy and celebration surrounding the new baby. There are crowns to be worn, red carpets to strut, and dancing to be done.


My Mom is a Foreigner, But Not To Me

by Julianne Moore, illustrated by Meilo So

Would your child recognize actress Julianne Moore’s voice as Cora Prescott from Spirit Untamed? Tell them Lucky and Julian’s bossy Aunt Cora is played by a real person who’s an author, too! You may already have seen Moore’s bestselling children’s book series, Freckleface Strawberry. However, I love this book so much more. In it, we see children who are growing up with immigrant mothers. They love and celebrate the uniqueness of their families and getting to be part of multiple cultures. It’s a joyful look at how many American families live their daily lives from this well-known actress.


Malala's Magic Pencil

by Malala Yousafzai, illustrated by Kerascoët

This memoir by Nobel Prize-winner Malala Yousafzai, is a touching look at her story of witnessing the injustices of the world around her, especially towards young girls, and becoming a child activist. Wishing she had a magic pencil that could draw the world the way she thought it should be, Malala learned that her voice is even more powerful, especially when joined by the voices of others.


The Book With No Pictures

by B.J. Novak

THIS. BOOK. IS. GENIUS. True to the title, the book has no pictures. However, it explains to children that the adult reading must say whatever words are printed on the page. It’s simple, smart, and incredibly funny. Everytime we pull out this book, I end up reading it at least three times in a row. You and your kids will be in stitches with this masterpiece by The Office writer/actor B.J. Novak.


Your Baby's First Word Will Be DADA

by Jimmy Fallon, illustrated by Miguel Ordóñez

A book full of giggles and smiles? Would you expect anything less from the hilarious late-night host and SNL alum, Jimmy Fallon? I think not. A book that features animal dads trying to get their animal children to say “Dada” will be relatable for all fathers and make every parent and child giggle with glee.


I Am Perfectly Designed

by Karamo Brown with Jason “Rachel” Brown, illustrated by Anoosha Syed

Queer Eye actor Karamo Brown has teamed up with his son Jason to write this heartwarming story reflecting their strong bond. The love between a father and his child fills every page, along with the timeless message to children that, no matter what happens, no matter who they are, they are perfectly designed, just as they are.


Dancing in the Wings

by Debbie Allen, illustrated by Kadir Nelson

Debbie Allen—dancer, actress, choreographer, and star of Dance Dreams: Hot Chocolate Nutcracker, which many kids may have seen on Netflix—shares the story of how she got started in dance as a child through this picture-book memoir. It’s a beautiful book with illustrations by the unparalleled Kadir Nelson. Debbie’s story will make readers old and young want to push harder against naysayers and injustice, as well as to put on music and dance around the living room.


The One and Only Sparkella

by Channing Tatum, illustrated by Kim Barnes

Does your child love to stand out? Do they simply have to shine wherever they go? Then this is the book for you! Actor Channing Tatum has written a book inspired by his own sparkle-loving daughter. It sends a powerful message that, regardless of what anyone says or thinks, you always have the right to be yourself and sparkle all the time.



by Misty Copeland, illustrated by Christopher Myers

Misty Copeland, the first African American female principal ballet dancer in American Ballet Theatre, has written an award-winning picture book recounting the story of her struggles and perseverance to become a professional ballerina. Eventually she landed the role of the Firebird in one of the world’s most famous ballets, at one of the world’s most prestigious ballet companies. Cherish this book with any dancers in your family.


Where Do Balloons Go? An Uplifting Mystery

by Jamie Lee Curtis, illustrated by Laura Cornell

Actress Jamie Lee Curtis can make her audiences laugh, scream—and, now, process big emotions. Jamie has a long list of children’s books to her name, all about adoption, self-esteem, and discrimination. This one is my favorite. In Where Do Balloons Go? she teaches children about death and grief through the metaphor of letting go of a balloon. It’s relatable, sensitive, and sweet. A great go-to if your family needs help discussing loss.


Peanut Goes for the Gold

by Jonathan Van Ness, illustrated by Gillian Reid

Peanut is a unique little guinea pig. In this story by reality TV star Jonathan Van Ness, children learn about staying true to themselves with joy and self-acceptance. They’ll also see a nonbinary character being normalized as the lead character of the story!


Sebi and the Land of Cha Cha Cha

by Roselyn Sánchez and Eric Winter, illustrated by Nivea Ortiz

Wife and husband acting duo Roselyn Sánchez and Eric Winter wrote this book for their daughter, Sebi. After seeing that most books about dance were focused on ballet, they decided to create something that focused on the kind of dance their family enjoys, the cha-cha! It’s a great book to get your toes tapping.


Twintuition (the series)

by Tia and Tamera Mowry

These twin sisters and actresses, originally of Sister, Sister fame and who kids these days may recognize from the Disney Twitches movies, have joined forces again to bring out a delightful early chapter book series. Geared toward children from ages 8 to 12, these books are about twin sisters who discover they have the ability to see the future. But what will they do when they see something not so nice headed their way? Try to change the future and save their friends, of course!


What celebrity books sparked your imagination? Do you have a suggestion to include in our list? Let us know!