'Shades of Black' and other toddler books celebrate black families

(CNN)Children love to see images of themselves in the books that are read to them and in the books they read.

While representation has rarely been a problem for white families with young kids, it hasn't always been so easy for parents of black, Latino, Asian and other nonwhite children to find their skin colors and cultures represented in the pages of children's books.
As our Sesame Street friends join CNN on Saturday at 10 a.m. to talk to kids and their parents about racism, the nationwide protests and embracing diversity, we reached out to Jambo Books co-founder Mijha Godfrey to ask her for recommendations for smart and fun books featuring black characters for the 4 and under set.
    Join the Sesame Street gang for a conversation about racism, protests and embracing diversity.
    Godfrey said that children pick up their values from their families and the stories that are read to them. Her company, which launched in May 2018, believes that it's important for children to read stories about children that look like them and children who do not look like them.
      Only one of her picks focuses on social justice issues outright. "Although we talk about race and history a lot in our household, for books I prefer to show little kids the glorious normalcy of being a person of color before I introduce them to the ugly reality they were born into," she said.
        "It's a 'show them how it should be' before 'telling them how it is' approach," said Godfrey.
        Here are some of Godfrey's favorites, along with her reviews.

          Blackness and the black experience

          "Shades of Black" by Sandra Pinkney: This board book explicitly celebrates the joys of being brown and gives a nod to all the many beautiful shades of brown that grace black people.
          "Marvelous Me" by Lisa Marie Bullard: A young black boy looks in the mirror and sees himself in all his splendor staring back. We love how this book turns the paradigm of belittling black boys on its head.
          "I Like Myself!" by Karen Beaumont: A child of color lists all of the wonderful things she likes about herself in this board book. When my daughter saw this book as a toddler she said, "She looks like me!" and that's how I really caught the bug for creating Jambo Book Club.

          Black characters and self-esteem

          These titles normalize black children in all environments, including STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).
          "Good Morning, Superman" by Michael Dahl: A black boy goes through his day as Superman with powerful juxtapositions of him and the cartoon Superman. His little sister makes a cameo appearance as Supergirl.
          "I Am So Brave!" by Stephen Krensky: We all know fearless toddlers. In "I Am So Brave," we get to know a little black boy who conquers the playground, petting a dog and more.
          "I Know A Lot!" by Stephen Krensky: A companion board book to "I Am So Brave," in "I Know A Lot," we meet a young black girl who is learning every day and loving displaying her new knowledge.