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40 Books to Help You Talk to Your Kids About Racism

“It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, who had ever been alive.” – James Baldwin

It can be difficult for white parents to understand and talk to their kids about the racism that’s experienced by black and brown communities. It can sometimes even be difficult for black and brown parents to know how to approach conversations about racism with their kids.

To help encourage honest and productive conversations about race and racism in your own home, we’ve compiled a list of books that are worth diving into and learning from. From picture books to graphic novels to memoirs and personal essays, there’s a book on this list for every reading and maturity level.

Bonus: Support your community by seeing what’s available for curbside pickup at your favorite library branch or local bookstore! And if your bookstore doesn’t have it in stock, they can likely have it shipped directly to your house from their warehouse.

Picture Books/Early Readers

  1. The Undefeated
    Written by Kwame Alexander; Illustrated Kadir Nelson
  2. Black Is a Rainbow Color
    Written by Angela Joy; Illustrated by Ekua Holmes
  3. Saturday
    Written and illustrated by Oge Mora
  4. Hair Love
    Written by Matthew A. Cherry; Illustrated by Vashti Harrison
  5. Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story about Racial Injustice
    Written by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, Ann Hazzard; Illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin
  6. My Hair is a Garden
    Written and illustrated by Cozbi A. Cabrera
  7. Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Méndez and Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation
    Written by Duncan Tonatiuh
  8. We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga
    Written by Traci Sorell; Illustrated by Frané Lessac
  9. Sulwe
    Written by Lupita Nyong’o; Illustrated by Vashti Harrison
  10. Malcolm Little: The Boy Who Grew Up To Become Malcolm X
    Written by Ilyasah Shabazz; Illustrated by A.G. Ford

Chapter Books/Middle Grade

  1. My Family Divided: One Girl’s Journey of Home, Loss, and Hope
    Written by Diane Guerrero
  2. Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice
    Written by Phillip Hoose
  3. To Kill a Mockingbird
    Written by Harper Lee
  4. Esperanza Rising
    Written by Pam Muñoz Ryan
  5. What is Race? Who are Racists? Why Does Skin Colour Matter? And Other Big Questions
    Written by Claire L. Heuchan and Nikesh Shukla
  6. Maniac Magee
    Written by Jerry Spinelli
  7. Bud, Not Buddy
    Written by Christopher Paul Curtis
  8. The Skin I’m In
    Written by Sharon G. Flake
  9. Ghost Boys
    Written by Jewell Parker Rhodes
  10. Miles Morales: Spider-Man
    Written by Jason Reynolds

Related: 5 Things You Can Do Now to Raise Antiracist Children


Teen

  1. All American Boys
    Written by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
  2. American Street
    Written by Ibi Zoboi
  3. Jazz Owls: A Novel of the Zoot Suit Riots
    Written by Margarita Engle; Illustrated by Rudy Gutierrez
  4. How It Went Down
    Written by Kekla Magoon
  5. Dreamland Burning
    Written by Jennifer Latham
  6. Dear Martin
    Written by Nic Stone
  7. The Hate U Give
    Written by Angie Thomas
  8. Internment
    Written by Samira Ahmed
  9. Iron River
    Written by Daniel Acosta
  10. American Born Chinese
    Written and illustrated by Gene Luen Yang

Adult

  1. Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You
    Written by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
  2. Multiplication Is for White People”: Raising Expectations for Other People’s Children
    Written by Lisa Delpit
  3. Between the World and Me
    Written by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  4. Notes of a Native Son
    Written by James Baldwin
  5. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
    Written by Michelle Alexander
  6. Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?”: A Psychologist Explains the Development of Racial Identity
    Written by Beverly Daniel Tatum
  7. A Black Women’s History of the United States
    Written by Daina Ramey Berry
  8. Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning
    Written by Cathy Park Hong
  9. I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness
    Written by Austin Channing Brown
  10. How Does It Feel to Be a Problem?: Being Young and Arab in America
    Written by Moustafa Bayoumi

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