We’re living in an unfortunate time. A time where people are being victimized by their skin color on a daily basis. The deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor left thousands of people across the country wondering what they could do. How could they fight in the war against racism? Reading books about race, participating in peaceful protests, and donating to charitable causes such as George Floyd’s memorial fund are some of the ways we can all fight. The following list contains books about race for kids and adults. that provide a starting point for a much-needed education.
Books About Race For Kids
1The Color of Us
A little girl wants to draw a picture of herself using brown paint. While taking a walk with her mother, she’s awakened to the realization that there are many shades of brown in the world. This book, written by Karen Katz, is a celebration of the human race’s similarities and differences. It’s recommended for children ages 4-8 years.
2We’re Different, We’re The Same (Sesame Street)
Join Elmo and his friends as they embark on a journey that proves that even though people look different, they’re all the same on the inside. Their differences are what make the world an extraordinary place to be. Described as engaging for both adults as well as children, this book is recommended for children ages 3-7 years.
3Teach Your Dragon About Diversity
Poor Dragon. He can do so many things like rolling over and even eating a birthday cake. But one thing Dragon cannot do is look like everyone else. The fear that he won’t be liked because he’s different makes him sad and worried. Fortunately, there’s something we can all do for Dragon. We can teach him about diversity. Author Steve Herman provides invaluable suggestions on how we can all learn about diversity in this delightful and engaging book. It’s recommended for kids ages 4-12 years.
4A Kids Book About Racism
Joining our list of books about race is this gem written by Jelani Memory. Mr. Memory provides an easily understandable definition of racism as well as a description of how racism makes people feel. He also provides suggestions of how kids can spot racism when they see it. This book is recommended for kids ages 5 – 9.
Read More: KIDS BOOKS TO SPREAD THE LOVE
5Something Happened In Our Town
Winner of the National Parenting Product Award (NAPPA), this book follow two families: one black and one white as they are faced with dealing with the shooting of a black man in their community. The purpose of this book is to help children cope with traumatic events by answering their questions as well as helping them identify racial injustice.
6The Day You Begin
Our list of books about race wouldn’t be complete without this New York Times Best Seller. Complete with charming illustrations, this book discusses the many ways that people are different. Some are tall. Some are short. Some talk differently. Through the story told, children are reassured that it’s okay to be different. This book is recommended for children ages 5-8.
7Malcolm Little: The Boy Who Grew Up To Be Malcolm X
Written by Malcolm X’s daughter, this book is a beautiful biography about the boy before he became one of the most celebrated civil rights activists. Malcolm Little found his strength and resilience after facing acts of intolerance. After reading this book, your children will walk away with the message that no matter what, we must all live up to our highest potential. Recommended for children ages 6 – 10 years.
8Viola Desmond Won’t Be Judged
Imagine finding the perfect seat to sit in at a theater and then being told you had to sit way up high where you’d barely be able to see the performers. This book tells the true story of a woman who refused to give up her seat in a theater because of her race. Her arrest inspired Canada’s black community. Recommended for children ages 5-9 years.
9My Hair Is A Garden
Mackenzie is a little girl with gorgeous, curly hair. Unfortunately, her classmates don’t see it that way and they taunt her because of it. With the help of kind words from her neighbor, Mackenzie learns that her hair is similar to a garden – natural and beautiful. Recommended for kids ages 5 – 7 years.
10The Legendary Miss Lena Horne
The last in our list of children’s books about race is the story of a legend. Lena Horne was born into a family of activists. With a strong ambition for acting, Lena chased after many roles in Hollywood before acquiring a studio contract with MGM. But the roles they offered Lena were less than desirable. It was later, during a civil rights rally that Lena found her true purpose. Recommended for children ages 4 – 8 years.
Books About Race For Adults
11The ABCs of Diversity
First on our list of adult books about race is The ABCs of Diversity. Written for adults to use as a guide for educating children, this book teaches people how to respect differences. Its focus is to generate honest, real conversations about race. But lessons in race aren’t the only conversations discussed. This book also includes lessons on political and religious differences as well as discussions on gender and sexual orientation.
12How To Be An Antiracist
Described as one of the best books of the year by The Washington Post, The NPR, New York Times Book Review, and more! The author of this book presents racism in a clear manner, helping understand what it truly is as well as its toxic results. Also included in the book are ways for people to come together to fight racism.
13White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People To Talk About Racism
This book is probably one of the more challenging books to read because it quickly points out that racism isn’t something limited to bad people. White Fragility aims to explain the different reactions white people have when confronted by race and racism such as anger, fear, and guilt. It’s because of these emotional reactions that meaningful discussions about race and racism are often difficult.
14So You Want To Talk About Race
This book provides readers with the opportunity to have candid conversations with people in their lives about race. It gives readers the tools to tell others that their seemingly innocent comments are actually inappropriate as well as providing insight to others regarding what white privilege is. This book is ideal for anyone who wants to be more insightful and empathetic when it comes to topics involving race and racial differences.
15Me And White Supremacy
Joining our list of books about race, this book is a New York Times and USA Today Bestseller! It was based on a viral Instagram Challenge and takes readers on a month-long challenge to do the work needed to combat racism and improve race relations using journal prompts. Included in this book are candid conversations that will help readers understand their white privilege, explain what it means to be an ally, and ways to create social change.
Read More: EXAMPLES OF WHITE PRIVILEGE FROM OBSERVATION
16Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, And You
Stamped – a New York Times and USA Today BestSeller – explores the history of racist ideas in this country, explaining why people feel the way they feel and why racism still runs like venom through individuals. Use this book as a guide to help you identify racism and fight it.
17This Book is Antiracist: How to Wake Up, Take Action, And Do The Work
This book takes the time to answer many questions including: where does racism come from and why does it exist? Included are 20 activities that will help individuals grow individually and learn about oppression. Gender-neutral words are used throughout the book so that no one reading it will feel singled out. The best part about buying this book is that 100% of profits will be donated to Black Lives Matter throughout the month of June.
18Just Mercy: A Story Of Justice And Redemption
CNN Named this book one of the most influential of the year in 2015. Based on a true story, this book is a coming of age story that centers around a young, idealistic attorney who works tirelessly to free a man who was convicted for a crime he didn’t commit. This book has won multiple awards including The NAACP Image Award for nonfiction, and The Carnegie Medal For Excellence in Nonfiction.
19Good Talk: A Memoir In Conversations
Described as both “hilarious and heart-rendering”, this book about race is probably one of the funnier books to read. This book is a graphic memoir that talks about the American identity and interracial families. The Chicago Tribune named it one of the 10 Best Books of the year for 2020.
20Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do
Last on our lists of adult books about race, the author of Biased provides the language and bravery needed to provide what she describes as the one of the most troubling times. She explains that while we are all vulnerable to bias we don’t have to be defined by it and provides the tools needed to help us all overcome it.
Acts of racism have cost this country a lot of pain throughout the years. While no one person can stop racism, we all have a part to play when it comes to fighting it. These books about race for kids and adults provide an excellent starting point for self-education. If you don’t know where else to begin, start here.
WANT TO READ MORE?
Check out this article on 20 BOOKS TO ADD TO YOUR BLACK HISTORY MONTH COLLECTION.
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