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Race and Racism Related Books for Kids & Teens

June 3, 2020 at 9:18 PM by Tessa Fox-Pawlaczyk

Race and racism may seem like too mature of a subject to discuss with children, but studies show that kids are never too young for the conversation. Children think about and notice race as early as three months old! Adults can help combat any bias a child may begin to develop, while also encouraging positive attitudes toward other races, simply by talking about race with the children in their lives.

Here are some suggested titles you can share with children to help build empathy and understanding, and to start necessary and important conversations about racial differences. For more parenting resources about race, click here.


Board Books:

-Whose Toes Are Those? by Jabari Asim
-Woke Baby by Mahogany L. Browne
-An ABC of Equality by Chana Ginelle Ewing
-American Babies by Global Fund for Children
-Global Babies by Global Fund for Children
-Peekaboo Morning by Rachel Isadora
-A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara
-Babies Around the World by Puck
-All Kinds of People by Shelley Rotner
-More More More, Said the Baby: Three Love Stories by Vera Williams


Picture Books:

-Something Happened in Our Town: A Child's Story About Racial Injustice by Marianne Celano
-Mixed: A Colorful Story by Arree Chung
-I Walk With Vanessa: a Story About a Simple Act of Kindness by Kerascoët
-Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story by Kevin Noble Maillard
-Happy In Our Skin by Fran Manushkin
-Hands Up! by Breanna J. McDaniel
-Where Are You From? by Yamile Saied Méndez
-Don't Touch My Hair! by Sharee Miller
-The Proudest Blue: A Story of Hijab and Family by Ibtihaj Muhammad and S.K. Ali
-Shades of People by Shelley Rotner and Sheila M. Kelly


Juvenile Fiction:

-New Kid by Jerry Craft
-It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel by Firoozeh Dumas
-We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices by Wade Hudson et al.
-The First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Pérez
-A Good Kind of Trouble by Lisa Moore Ramée
-Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes
-Clean Getaway by Nic Stone
-My Year in the Middle by Lila Quintero Weaver
-One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garia
-Front Desk by Kelly Yang


Juvenile Non-Fiction:

-The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander
-Who We Are!: All About Being the Same and Being Different by Robie H. Harris
-Not My Idea: A Book about Whiteness by Anastasia Higginbotham
-This Book Is Anti-Racist: 20 Lessons on How to Wake Up, Take Action, and Do The Work by Tiffany Jewel
-All the Colors We Are: The Story of How We Get Our Skin Color / Todos los Colores de Nuestra piel: La Historia de por qué Tenemos Diferentes Colores de Piel  by Katie Kissinger
-Can I Touch Your Hair?: Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship by Irene Latham and Charles Waters
-What Do I Do When People I Know are Racist? by Caitie McAneney
-It's Not All Black and White: Multiracial Youth Speak Out by St. Stephen's Community House (Editor)
-Racism and Intolerance by Louise Spilsbury
-Shining Star: The Anna May Wong Story by Paula Yoo


Young Adult Fiction:

-The Lines We Cross by Randa Abdel-Fattah
-If I Ever Get Out of Here by Eric Gansworth
-All the Stars Denied by Guadalupe Garcia McCall
-Open Mic: Riffs on Life Between Cultures in Ten Voices by Mitali Perkins
-All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
-Dear Martin by Nic Stone
-The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
-Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson
-American-Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
-Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America by Ibi Zoboi (Editor)


Young Adult and Adult Non-Fiction:

-I Will Always Write Back: How One Letter Changed Two Lives by Caitlin Alifirenka and Martin Ganda
-We Are Not Yet Equal: Understanding Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson
-Things That Make White People Uncomfortable: Adapted for Young Adults by Michael Bennett
-An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States for Young People by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, adapted by Jean Mendoza and Debbie Reese
-A Few Red Drops: The Chicago Race Riot of 1919 by Claire Hartfield
-The March Trilogy by John Lewis et al.
-Confronting Racism by Maryellen Lo Bosco
-Making It Right: Building Peace, Settling Conflict by Marilee Peters
-Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
-They Called Us Enemy by George Takei

For more suggestions about race and racism-related books for children and teens, click here.