The conversation with your kids about race needs to start now. Talking to children about diversity, systemic racism, and injustices against black people are vital to raising an anti-racist child. But the subject of racism is an overwhelming one, and it’s hard to know where to begin.
Books are a great way to introduce discussions at home about race, and a powerful medium for children to grasp complex ideas. There are hundreds of books to be read, but we’d like to start by recommending the eight we’ve listed below.
We’ll be sharing more books and resources over the coming weeks, and we’d also love for you to share yours with us. Do you have a children’s book to recommend that addresses race and racism? Please share it with us in the comments below!
1. AntiRacist Baby by Ibram X. Kendi (0-3)
“Take your first steps with Antiracist Baby! Or rather, follow Antiracist Baby’s nine easy steps for building a more equitable world.” —Penguin Random House
2. The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson (all ages)
“National Book Award winner Jacqueline Woodson and two-time Pura Belpré Illustrator Award winner Rafael López have teamed up to create a poignant, yet heartening book about finding courage to connect, even when you feel scared and alone.” —Penguin Random House
3. Let’s Talk About Race by Julius Lester (all ages)
“In this acclaimed book, the author of the Newbery Honor Book To Be a Slave shares his own story as he explores what makes each of us special. A strong choice for sharing at home or in the classroom.” —Harper Collins
4. Sulwe by Lupita Nyong’o (4 and up)
“…a powerful, moving picture book about colorism, self-esteem, and learning that true beauty comes from within.”
—Simon and Schuster
5. Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story About Racial Injustice (all ages)
“Something Happened in Our Town follows two families—one White, one Black—as they discuss a police shooting of a Black man in their community. The story aims to answer children’s questions about such traumatic events, and to help children identify and counter racial injustice in their own lives.” —Magination Press
6. The Skin You Live in by Michael Tyler (all ages)
“With the ease and simplicity of a nursery rhyme, this lively story delivers an important message of social acceptance to young readers.” —Chicago Children’s Museum
7. A Kids Book About Racism by Jelani Memory (5-12)
“Yes, this really is a kids book about racism. Inside, you’ll find a clear description of what racism is, how it makes people feel when they experience it, and how to spot it when it happens.” — akidsbookabout.com
8. Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness by Anastasia Higginbotham (all ages)
“The latest in the Ordinary Terrible Things series, a white child sees TV coverage of a police shooting—and has some questions.” —Dottir Press.