Best Children's Books About Kwanzaa

The Top 10 Books to Read To Celebrate Kwanzaa

Updated Feb. 7, 2019

Kwanzaa is a celebration honoring African heritage and culture in the African-American community, lasting from December 26th to January 1st each year. We've gathered up the best books about Kwanzaa to help you learn more about the holiday and celebrate!

Happy reading, and Happy Kwanzaa!

Li'l Rabbit's Kwanzaa book
#1
Li'l Rabbit's Kwanzaa
Written by Donna L. Washington and illustrated by Shane W. Evans
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

This was a really cute story about Kwanzaa and about the community it creates, particularly when you are searching to help others. The element of intergenerational bonds is also sweet and uplifting and perfect for the holiday season.

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. Inspired by Brer Rabbit, a trickster character from the African-American folklore tradition, the story of Li'l Rabbit captures the true meaning of Kwanzaa—coming together to help others.

My First Kwanzaa book
#2
My First Kwanzaa
Written and illustrated by Karen Katz
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

This book is laid out simply with the words of Kwanzaa, definitions, and telling how they apply. The illustrations are cute and the book is informative!

A simple way to get acquainted with Kwanzaa. "Hooray! Hooray! It's time to get ready for 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.

Kevin's Kwanzaa book
#3
Kevin's Kwanzaa
Written by Lisa Bullard and illustrated by Constanza Basaluzzo
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

This book does a great job of simply explaining Kwanzaa through they eyes of a boy. I like that the book has extra information and facts to go along with the story, as well as a glossary and instructions to make a Kwanzaa craft at the end of the book.

Kevin is excited for his turn to light the candles on the last night of Kwanzaa. As he narrates through the week of Kwanzaa, readers learn about the origins, purpose, and rituals of this holiday.

Together for Kwanzaa book
#4
Together for Kwanzaa
Written by Juwanda G. Ford and illustrated by Shelly Hehenberger
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

The illustrations in this book are gorgeous! It is definitely on the long side, but it's a fine story explaining the principles of Kwanzaa and emphasizing the bond between siblings.

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.

The Story of Kwanzaa book
#5
The Story of Kwanzaa
Written by Donna L. Washington and illustrated by Stephen Taylor
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

It’s Kwanzaa-time! 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. Activities at the end of the book include making your own cow-tail switch and baking benne cakes.

My First Kwanzaa Book book
#6
My First Kwanzaa Book
Written by Deborah M. Newton Chocolate and illustrated by Cal Massey
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Introduces Kwanzaa, the holiday in which Afro-Americans celebrate their cultural heritage.

The Seven Days of Kwanzaa book
#7
The Seven Days of Kwanzaa
Written by Melrose Cooper and illustrated by Jeremy Tugeau
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Celebrate the culture, heritage, family, and tradition of Kwanzaa through this beautiful variation of a popular holiday song. On the fifth day of Kwanzaa, my people gave to me Five festive friends! Four spending dollars, Red, green, and black, Two drums-a-drumming, And a promise for unity. Sing in celebration of Kwanzaa with this cheerful holiday rhyme. This creative spin on a familiar Christmas song features rhyming text, and lively artwork from illustrator Jeremy Tugeau.

The Sound of Kwanzaa book
#8
The Sound of Kwanzaa
Written by Dimitrea Tokunbo and illustrated by Lisa Cohen
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Hear the words, sing the songs, dance to the beat, and shout "Harambee!" as you jump into this joyful celebration of the sounds of Kwanzaa! The sound is Umoja--bringing us together. The sound is Kuumba--the songs of our ancestors. The sound is Kwanzaa! Lively verse and colorful illustrations guide you through the seven principles of this festive holiday. All you have to do is come close, gather round, and discover what Kwanzaa is all about!

Santa's Kwanzaa book
#9
Santa's Kwanzaa
Written by Garen Eileen Thomas and illustrated by Guy Francis
picture book
Recommend Ages: 1-6

Santa lays the last present beneath the last Christmas tree and returns weary-eyed to the North Pole-to the surprise of a lifetime. From the twenty-sixth day of December to January first, Santa and his family delight in the Kwanzaa tradition, and have a jolly-good time. But as the last day approaches, Santa is still filled with the holiday spirit and wants to do something extra special to show his love for humanity. What more can Santa give? Painfully funny merry-making wraps up sweetly in this risible and enchanting celebration of two holidays under one cover!

Seven Spools of Thread book
#10
Seven Spools of Thread
Written by Angela Shelf Medearis and illustrated by Daniel Minter
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-10
Thoughts from Lemony Snickers

Seven Spools of Thread is a wonderful book for celebrating Kwanzaa. The book features seven sons who must learn to work together to receive their inheritance. The illustrations are fantastic and celebrate the tradition of Kwanzaa with a proud, vibrant fusion of colors. The book teaches a great lesson about looking outside your circle to help those around you.

In an African village live seven brothers who make family life miserable with their constant fighting. When their father dies, he leaves an unusual will: by sundown, the brothers must make gold out of seven spools of thread. If they fail, they will be turned out as beggars.

Have a suggestion for a book to add to this list? Send an email to [email protected] with your book and list suggestion.