Want to start the conversation around race and privilege? Add these nine kids' books about racism to your collection.

By Bethany Braun-Silva
Updated June 04, 2020
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Talking with your children about race and diversity can be difficult, but it’s needed now more than ever. Books are an excellent place to start if you’re not sure how to approach the topic, and many books help to teach kids about important issues like race, social justice, and the Black Lives Matter movement in ways they can understand. 

Illustration by Francesca Spatola; Photos Courtesy of Amazon (2) and Barnes & Noble (1)

And books are just the beginning. It’s equally important to display anti-racist behavior every day, especially in white homes. “Talking openly with children about race, modeling anti-racist attitudes and behaviors, and helping them make sense of their environment with accurate, explicit information is crucial in developing anti-racist thinking and behavior in white children,” says Jenny Devenny, author of Race Cars.

Many of these books about race and education are available on Amazon, but they’re also in small, local bookstores. We know it’s not always possible to shop locally, but it’s best to support small Black-owned businesses when you can. We especially love Semicolon, Chicago’s only Black woman-owned bookstore. Check out the “For The Shawtys” section on the website to choose from books like Ada Twist and the Perilous Pants by Andrea Beaty and Betty Before X by Ilyasah Shabazz, among others. 

It’s just as important to teach our children about racism as it is to empower them to take action against it. The time to take action is now, and you can start by reading these nine kids' books about racism, diversity, and tolerance to your little ones.

Courtesy of Amazon

Skin Again by Bell Hooks

Introduce children to race and identity with hooks’ powerful words. “If you want to know who I am, you have got to come inside and open your heart way wide.” Shop Here

Courtesy of Barnes & Noble

Let’s Talk About Race by Julius Lester

Clearly written and beautifully illustrated. This book will open the doors to discussion about race and differences. Shop Here

Courtesy of Amazon

We March by Shane W. Evans

Learn about the March on Washington in simple, straightforward, beautiful words and pictures. Shop Here

Courtesy of Amazon

Race Cars by Jenny Devenny

“I think one reason white parents avoid this topic is that they don’t know where to start or how,” says Devenny. “Race Cars was created with the hope that it could serve as a starting point for parents and educators to begin these difficult but necessary conversations with their kids.” Shop Here

Courtesy of Barnes & Noble

A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara

Social justice starts at home, and this book uses rhyming, rhythm, and colorful illustrations to express a vital call to action. Shop Here

Courtesy of Barnes & Noble

The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson

Two young girls, one Black and one white, strike up a friendship in the days of segregation despite living on opposite sides of a segregated neighborhood and warnings from their families. Shop Here

Courtesy of Amazon

The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a Young Civil Rights Activist by Cynthia Levinson

Nine-year-old Audrey Faye Hendricks was the youngest person to march and be arrested for a civil rights protest in 1963. This book teaches kids that their voices matter and to be brave in the face of social injustice. Shop Here

Courtesy of Amazon

Civil Rights Then and Now: A Timeline of the Fight for Equality in America by Kristina Brooke Daniele

Explaining the Black Lives Matter movement of the present requires a look back to our past. This book acts as a civil rights timeline for kids and parents to dig deeper into today’s current events. Shop Here

Courtesy of Target

Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman

This book explorers topics in race and gender through the lens of a little girl. It has impacted families since it was published in 1991. Shop Here

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