I received several emails in my inbox this year, all asking the same question — “Can you recommend books with an African-American Santa Claus?”
Sadly, there aren’t that many children’s books out there that feature an African-American Santa Claus. Of the ones that do exist, several are out of print and hard to find. Sadly, the publishing world doesn’t seem to think diverse representations of Santa are a priority. I hope this changes, because from what I have seen, the demand is definitely there.
A few of these books are pretty pricey if you look for them on Amazon, because they are out of print. I recommend checking your local library first, and keeping your eyes peeled at used bookstores or book sales.
7 Books with an African-American Santa Claus
Twas the Night B’fore Christmas: An African-American Version by Melodye Benson Rosales — This retelling of the Clement Clark Moore classic poem features details and dialect that would fit an African-American family at the turn of the 20th century. This Santa Claus has “skin like molasses,” and the rich, luxurious illustrations will put you right in the middle of the story. This book is hard to find, but worth the search.
A Piece of Black Cake for Santa by Yolanda T. Marshall — Femi and her friends are so excited for Christmas to come! They can’t wait to attend the local Christmas fair, and they especially can’t wait to leave some Caribbean treats out for Santa, including black cake. This book gives insight into how Caribbean families celebrate Christmas in the United States and Canada, and the illustrations are bright and fun.
The Night Before Christmas by Rachel Isadora — This retelling is not actually African-American, but African. Isadora’s gorgeous illustrations move this Christmas classic to an African setting, and they give the story a whole new context. This book is excellent for showing a diverse representation of Santa, and also for giving insight to how Christmas is celebrated in other parts of the world.
Santa’s Husband by Daniel Kibbelsmith — What is Santa’s everyday life like? In this book, Santa is black, his husband is white, and they live together at the North Pole. We see glimpses of their wedding, their vacation, and taking care of pre-Christmas responsibilities. Sometimes this happy couple disagrees; but they always love each other.
Santa’s Kwanzaa by Garen Eileen Thompson — What does Santa do after Christmas is over? He goes back to the North Pole to celebrate Kwanzaa! This book is a great introduction to Kwanzaa, and is also perfect for families who celebrate both Kwanzaa and Christmas. (Check out some more of our favorite Kwanzaa books here.)
I Got the Christmas Spirit by Connie Schofield-Morrison — This book follows a little girl who is full of Christmas spirit! As she walks through her town with her parents, she takes in all the sights and sounds of the holiday season. Her Christmas spirit is contagious, and she ends up spreading cheer wherever she goes…even to Santa himself!
Jump at the Sun: ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas by Rex Perry — This book is another retelling of Clement Clark Moore’s classic poem. In this version, a little girl anxiously awaits the arrival of Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. There are some contemporary updates that will make the book relatable for today’s children. The bright, bold illustrations make this a really fun book to read aloud with little ones.