14 Books about Racism for Kids

As a mother of two black boys, It’s necessary to talk to them about racism at an early age. Reading books is an excellent start to create awareness and foster discussion early. I have included a list of books that are popular in this category and ones I have and will read with my children.

Momma, Did You Hear the News?

Written by Sanya Whittaker Gragg and illustrated by Kim Holt, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Little Avery becomes concerned after seeing another police shooting of an unarmed man. His parents decide it is time to have “The Talk.” They teach him and his brother a catchy chant to help remember what to do if approached by an officer, while also emphasizing that all policemen are not bad.

Available HERE

God’s Dream

Written by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Douglas Carlton Abrams

Desmond Tutu has a vision of God’s dream, which he shares here with the youngest of listeners. It involves people who reach out and hold each other’s hands, but sometimes get angry and hurt each other — and say they’re sorry and forgive.

Available HERE

I Have a Dream (Book & CD) Hardcover – October 9, 2012

by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Kadir Nelson

You can’t talk about racism without talking about Martin Luther King Jr. This is a must to understand what his dream was for the black community and why there needed to be a dream. Available HERE

A is for Activist

by Innosango Nagara  

This engaging little book carries huge messages as it inspires hope for the future, and calls children to action while teaching them a love for books.

The book is about activism, environmental justice, civil rights, LGBTQ rights, etc.

This book alone won’t be enough to understand activism or racism. This would need a conversation along with it.

Available HERE

The Skin You Live In Hardcover – April 1, 2005

by Michael Tyler, David Lee Csicsko (Illustrator), David Csicko (Illusttator)

  • Age Range: 4 – 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool – 2

PreSchool-Grade 2–This picture book takes a cheerful look at human diversity by focusing on skin.

I like this book for both my 5 and 8 year old black boys. This book was introduced to them in preschool. Its teaches them to love them-self no matter what you skin color is in a poetic way. I also love the illustrations which as just as important in getting the message across as the text. Available HERE

We’re Different, We’re the Same (Sesame Street) (Pictureback(R)) Paperback – October 13, 1992

by Bobbi KatesJoe Mathieu

Elmo and his Sesame Street friends help teach toddlers and the adults in their lives that everyone is the same on the inside, and it’s our differences that make this wonderful world, which is home to us all, an interesting—and special—place. 
You can never go wrong with Sesame Street teaching about diversity. I like how they address various races and ethnicity rather than just black and white. The illustrations helps the child identify best with real life. Available HERE

All the Colors We Are/Todos los colores de nuestra piel: The Story of How We Get Our Skin Color/La historia de por qué tenemos diferentes colores de piel Hardcover – February 11, 2014

by Katie Kissinger

This bilingual (English/Spanish) book offers children a simple, scientifically accurate explanation about how our skin color is determined by our ancestors, the sun, and melanin. It’s also filled with colorful photographs that capture the beautiful variety of skin tones.

Available HERE

Last Stop on Market Street Hardcover–January 8, 2015

by Matt de la Peña (Author)  Christian Robinson (Illustrator)

Age Range: 3 – 5 years
Available HERE

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERWinner of the 2016 Newbery Medal
A 2016 Caldecott Honor Book
A 2016 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book
New York Times Book Review Notable Children’s Book of 2015
Wall Street Journal Best Children’s Book of 2015

The Colors of Us Paperback – October 1, 2002

by Karen Katz

  • Age Range: 4 – 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool – 2

My boys received this book at two summers ago at a summer camp Target give-away. ‘

This book is about a seven-year-old that paints a picture of herself. She wants to use brown paint for her skin. However, while she and her mom take a walk through the neighborhood she learns that brown comes in many different shades.

This book is good to recognize the different shades of black and brown skin. The author, Katz (who is white) does a good job with addressing skin tone with the black and brown community. Available HERE

Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story About Racial Injustice Hardcover – April 4, 2018

Written by Marianne Celano (Author) Marietta Collins (Author) Ann Hazzard (Author) Jennifer Zivoin (Illustrator)

  • Age Range: 4 – 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool – 3

This book was  written by three child psychologists.

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.

Free, downloadable educator materials (including discussion questions) are available at http://www.apa.org. Available HERE

The Hate U Give

by Angie Thomas (Author)

The Hate U Give

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Available HERE

Let’s Talk About Race Paperback –December 23, 2008

by Julius Lester (Author)  Karen Barbour (Illustrator)

This picture book introduces race as just one of many chapters in a person’s story” (School Library Journal). “Lester’s poignant picture book helps children learn, grow, discuss, and begin to create a future that resolves differences” (Children’s Literature).

Available HERE

A Child’s Introduction to African American History: The Experiences, People, and Events That Shaped Our Country (A Child’s Introduction Series)

by Jabari Asim (Author)  Lynn Gaines (Illustrator)

A Child's Introduction to African American History: The Experiences, People, and Events That Shaped Our Country

I am a firm believer that one must understand your history, in order to understand oneself. This book will help in understanding part of Black History. Then one can start to understand racism.

Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation (Jane Addams Award Book (Awards)) Hardcover – May 6, 2014

Almost 10 years before Brown vs. Board of Education, Sylvia Mendez and her parents helped end school segregation in California.

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