From Lupita Nyong’o to Lil Nas X: Must-Read Children’s Books Written by Celebrities

The time to update your children’s bookshelves is now. Thankfully, there is no shortage of gorgeous modern literature for early readers. From Lupita Nyong’o to the presidential inauguration poet Amanda Gorman, here are some must-reads written by your celebrity faves.

The Tale of the Mandarin Duck: A Modern Fable

Inspired by the real-life mandarin duck that reawakened glamour and fashion at the Pond in Central Park, a brilliant waterfowl is the main character in superstar Bette Midler’s modern fable. Illustrated by Joana Avillez, with portraits of New York City by Michiko Kakutani.

C Is for Country

Learn your ABCs with crossover music sensation Lil Nas X. Like the multitalented fashion plate and rapper, this New York Times bestseller combines learning the alphabet with gorgeous illustrations by Theodore Taylor III.

Natalie Portman’s Fables

The Oscar winner retells three classic fables: “The Three Little Pigs,” “The Tortoise and the Hare” and “Country Mouse and City Mouse.” Come for the rhyming tales; stay for artist Janna Mattia’s stunning illustrations.

Sweet Child o’ Mine

This picture book reimagines the Guns N’ Roses power ballad and is paired with paintings by artist Jennifer Zivoin.


Written by Lupita Nyong’o and illustrated by Vashti Harrison, the story follows a Kenyan girl, Sulwe, who wishes she looked more like her family. A beautiful tale about self-esteem, the actor’s debut children’s book is to be adapted into an animated musical for Netflix.

Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem

The words of Amanda Gorman sparked hope at President Joe Biden’s inauguration, and now the poet wants to inspire the next generation with her “lyrical prose” picture book. Illustrated by Loren Long and available for preorder for a September release.

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