5 Awesome Picture Books About Kwanzaa

An African-American Holiday

Kwanzaa was created in 1966 during the aftermath of the Watts riots as a specifically African-American holiday by America Maulana Karenga. Karenga said his goal was to “give Blacks an alternative to the existing holiday. Also, give Blacks an opportunity to celebrate themselves and their history rather than simply imitate the practice of the dominant society.” These powerful words created a vibrant and powerful holiday that is worth learning more about.

Major things you need to know

Kwanzaa was created with the explicit purpose to connect black Americans to their African roots and with each other in the face of modernization. In fact the name Kwanzaa even comes from the phrase “matunda ya khwanzaa” which means “first fruits”. Karenga decided that this new holiday should fall on the 7 day period between Christmas and New Year. He even added a second “a” on the end of Kwanzaa to represent each of the seven days. Each day represents a different principle. The names of the days are Umoja, Kujichagulia, Ujima, Ujamaa, Nia, Kuumba and Lmani. These days represent, in order, unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith respectively.  What great values to celebrate!

Why you should educate your kids

As a modern society it is our duty to educate our children about Kwanzas so they can understand the beauty and values of other cultures. It is important to not only educate our children but adults as well.  Furthermore, we should always take care of each other regardless of gender, race, class or sexual orientation. 

Our Favorite 5 Books About Kwanzaa:

My Family Celebrates Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa follows its origins to the American Civil Rights era. Critical thinking questions and fast facts prompt young readers to engage with this fun narrative and learn all about Kwanzaa.

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The Story of Kwanzaa

Light the candles on the kinara! Fly the bendera, and tell stories from Africa! The festival of Kwanzaa was originated by Dr. Maulana Karenga to honor the customs and history of African Americans.

The seven principles of Kwanzaa, called the Nguzo Saba, serve to remind African Americans of the struggles of the past, and also focus on present-day achievements and goals for the future.

The holiday fun continues with activities at the end of the book, including making your own cow-tail switch and baking benne cakes.

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Together for Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa is Kayla’s favorite time of year. But this year, it looks as if a heavy snowstorm will keep her big brother, Khari, from getting home in time for the festivities! Will Khari miss the celebration completely? Or will Kayla and her brother somehow find a way to be together for Kwanzaa? A perfect introduction to Kwanzaa, this book will teach children all about the traditions and practices that make it a special winter holiday.

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My First Kwanzaa

During the seven days of Kwanzaa, we celebrate the importance of family, friends, and community. This warm and lively introduction to a very special holiday will help even the youngest children join in!

Author and illustrator Karen Katz’s wonderful series of picture books for the very young offer a simple and fun way to get familiar with the traditions of holiday celebrations from different cultures.

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Li’l Rabbit’s Kwanzaa

The story of Li’l Rabbit captures the true meaning of Kwanzaa — coming together to help others. Donna L. Washington’s story, with art from Shane W. Evans (Chocolate Me!), provides a fun introduction to the holiday.

Li’l Rabbit is not having a very good Kwanzaa. Granna Rabbit is sick, and so his family won’t celebrate his favorite part of Kwanzaa this year: a big feast called Karamu.

Li’l Rabbit knows what to do! He’ll find Granna Rabbit a special treat for Karamu so she can celebrate anyway.

He looks under a pile of logs, in the field, and in the pond and along the way meets Groundhog, Momma Field Mouse, and the frogs—but he doesn’t find anything for Granna Rabbit.

Maybe I’m just too little to help Granna Rabbit celebrate Kwanzaa, Li’l Rabbit thinks. Or maybe he just needs a little help from his family and friends.

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Cosmic Unicorns believes that in order to create a more diverse, inclusive, and empowering world for our children we need to educate them about cultures, beliefs, and practices other than our own. In addition to the awesome Kwanzaa books shared above your little unicorn will LOVE a personalized adventure book of their own for a holiday gift, birthday gift or just because gift! Customize your own today at cosmicunicorns.com

If you want to know more about different diverse children’s books for your little unicorns, make sure to visit our website at  Cosmic Unicorns and follow our social media accounts for updates!

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