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10 Children’s Books About Kwanzaa

Written by Rebecca

December 17, 2020

Kwanzaa is a holiday that originated in 1966 to help African-Americans think of their African ancestry. It is based on the East African principles from the Swahili language. Traditionally, Kwanzaa is celebrated from December 26-January 1. It is where families feast, fast, and examine their selves. There are numerous holidays celebrated during Kwanzaa, and it is not meant to replace Christmas, Hanukkah, Diwali, New Year’s, or other holidays.

You can find guiding principles from the Swahili language.

  • Umoja-Unity
  • Kujichagulia-Self-Determination
  • Ujima-Collective Work and Responsibility
  • Ujamaa-Cooperative Economics
  • Nia-Purpose
  • Kuumba-Creativity
  • Imani-Faith


Below are 10 Children’s books inspired from this holiday.


1. A Kwanzaa Keepsake, by Jessica B Harris

This holistic book details what each night means, historical people, and food that can be prepared. This book can be enjoyed by the entire family to learn and practice new insights about Kwanzaa.

 2. Kwanzaa Crafts, by Carol Gnojewski

Crafts inspired from African principles. Encourage creativity and less screen time with game making, basket making, and economic discussions. There are many things that children and families can do to celebrate Kwanzaa.

 3. The Kwanzaa Coloring Book

A coloring book that makes the experience interactive on learning about Kwanzaa principles.

4. Kwanzaa by Lola J. Amstutz

A text that explains how Kwanzaa is celebrated.

 5. African-American Holidays by Faith Winchester

This book explains different holidays that contribute to the African American experience: MLK day, Black History Month, Juneteenth, and Kwanzaa.



6. Kevin’s Kwanzaa, by Lisa Bullard

Story explains the activities and experiences that Kevin participates with his family and community. His grandpa teaches his family about candle lighting, word meanings, and the man who established Kwanzaa. Last they show the celebration of Kwanzaa where Kevin’s family and friends dance and celebrate together.

7. My First Kwanzaa, by Karen Katz

Written from the girl’s perspective about celebrating Kwanzaa. Also there is a pronunciation guide.

8. Messy Bessey’s Holidays, by Patricia and Fredrick McKissack

Bessy and her mother bake holiday cookies for Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa. She explains her joy for sharing these treats. There is even a description about each holiday and how they are different.


9. Seven Spools of Thread, A Kwanzaa Story, by Angela Shelf Medearis

Seven Ashanti brothers quarrel all of the time. Once their father died, the chief told them they had to work together so they could receive their father’s inheritance. They found a way to turn spools of thread into gold. At the end they taught their village how to thread, and learned the principles of Kwanzaa to help themselves and community.

10. Lil Rabbit’s Kwanza, by Donna Washington, Illustrated by Shane Evans

L’il Rabbit searches for a gift for his grandmother when she is sick during Kwanzaa, and surprises her with the best gift of all. Includes “The Nguzo Saba – The Seven Principles of Kwanzaa.”


Pennez means to think so we can empower children to think as they read. We exist because 65% of all students in the U.S. struggle to read by fourth grade, and among African American and Latino children, the figure rises to 80%. We aim to fix this problem with our helpful reading software for children.

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