As parents, we always hope for the best for our kids, and also for the best in and from them. And in a world such as today’s, I hope we can raise our kids to be adults in a world which is finally free of the prejudices that led to what is happening now. In today’s post, I have tried to include books I have read that I feel are books to inform and enable those all important conversations about race and racism, along with additional related books at the end.
One of my current reads is titled Kid Activists(review coming soon), and as I read about each featured activist of decades ago and even earlier, I was equally encouraged and enraged, inspired and saddened that all the issues they fought for then are still not resolved.
And as parents, we can educate ourselves and our children in whatever way we can, and inspire them as well. So here are a few selections, listed below.
The links in the book titles in this post will either take you to the GoodReads page, the publisher page (no affiliate links), or my review post for the book where present.
Books to Inform and Enable Conversations about Race
For the Youngest Ones
Title: Antiracist Baby
Author: Ibram X. Kendi
Illustrator: Ashley Lukashevsky
Publishers: Penguin Publishing Group
Pub Date: June 16, 2020
Genre: Juvenile Fiction / Social Themes / Prejudice & Racism
Age-Range: 3 and under
Source: Edelweiss eARC (Thank you)
I read the advanced digital review copy and this prompted me to go ahead and look for more of Ibram Kendi’s books. While this book is targeted for the youngest audiences – the babies – the encapsulated lessons it offers will inform and educate everyone, of all ages. And the illustrations are sure to hold the interest of the very young. A must read.
Mixed: A Colorful Story
Title: Mixed: A Colorful Story
Author/Illustrator: Arree Chung
Publishers: Henry Holt and Co.
Pub Date: July 3, 2018
Genre: Juvenile Fiction / Social Themes
Age-Range: 4 – 8 years
Source: Arree Chung
Thanks so much to Aree Chung for offering this book free to parents and educators to read along with their young ones,as well as to prompt discussions. I was introduced to Chung through his virtual art classes a while ago, and while his classes are truly fun and informative, his art and his books are also equally so. I am sure you will enjoy, learn, and be inspired as you read Mixed as much as I did.
His book is a great way to discuss race and color and all the ways we are all different and yet the same through art and primary colors. He has made it available as a free pdf so that families can benefit from reading it.
Here is the link provided by Aree himself. Thank you again. The book also includes discussion questions and prompts that will help spark these all important conversations.
Not Like the Others
Title: Not Like the Others
Author: Jana Broecker
Pub Date: July 26, 2019
Genre: Juvenile Fiction / Social Themes / Prejudice and Racism
Age-Range: 3 – 8 years
Source: My library
A book by Jana Broecker, someone I discovered through the power of social media. This book uses animals as an analogy to help understand that differences are cool, and those things that make us different from each other are what make each one of us (yo)unique.
The List Continues
The rest of the books are books I have reviewed earlier on my blog so I have included links to the previous posts for reference. Each of them is definitely bound to leave you informed and inspired and empowered.
For Elementary and Middle School Readers
Fast Enough: Bessie Stringfield’s First Ride
Fast Enough: Bessie Stringfield’s First Ride: (Preschool – Gr 3): This is a charming fictional graphic tale followed by a factual biography of someone who deserves more recognition – Bessie Stringfield, ‘The Motorcycle Queen.’
Ada Twist: Scientist
Ada Twist (K- Gr 2) is the sweetest scientist I have had the opportunity to read about! And she also has a companion book as well to help us do more..
Work It, Girl: Run the Show like CEO Oprah Winfrey
Oprah (8 – 12 years) inspires us through this wonderful Work It series biography. I truly love this series of books featuring women across the diaspora.
Work It, Girl: Become a Leader Like Michelle Obama
Another brilliant book (8 – 12 years) from the Work It series featuring Michelle Obama. Inspiring indeed.
One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance by Nikki Grimes
One Last Word (10-14 years) is a book I wish I had read earlier that I did. Through the magic of poetry, Nikki Grimes empowers the reader and educates effortlessly about racism, fear, and hate as well as hope, justice, and love.
Hip Hop Speaks to Children: A Celebration of Poetry With A Beat
Hip Hop Speaks to Children (8 years and older) includes selections from so many brilliant poets and writers ranging from Langston Hughes and Martin Luther King Jr. to Eloise Greenfield and Kanye West. Read it and be inspired as we step up to the beat of the current revolution.
Lest We Forget: The Passage from Africa into the Twenty-First Century
Lest We Forget (12 years and older)was truly an eye-opener for me. From being referred to as “black gold” (men, women, and children who were taken from their home lands by traders to work as slaves) to #BlackLivesMatter, this book covers it all.
I, Too, Sing America: Three Centuries of African American Poetry
I, Too, Sing America (10 years and older) is a wonderful collection of poems featuring a total of 25 African-American poets throughout American history. Starting with Lucy Terry (1730 – 1821) to Rita Dove(b. 1952).
Brown Girl Dreaming
A book I keep failing to review but enjoy reading (10 and up) each and every time.
Step into Your Power
From the team who brought you Young Gifted and Black: Meet 52 Black Heroes from Past and Present, this book (9 – 13 years) teaches how to empower yourself.
For Teens and YA
To Kill a Mockingbird
I had to include To Kill a Mockingbird inspite or because of its classic status. It simply goes to show that what was then is still sadly prevalent, and that is what we are standing up for together today – to promote antiracism, because Black Lives Matter.
And for the adults
The Underground Railroad
This is one of those brilliant books I have failed to review on my blog while meaning to. But I repeat myself when I say, this is a powerful book which taught me a lot about the sad truth of slavery, and about the inspirational work of those who ran the underground railroad helping slaves towards free lands and hope.
More Books to Inform and Inspire
The books below will also help encourage conversations and/or inform about diversity, hope, peace, being different, about standing up for what is right, raising your voice, and more.
- Peace and Me (picture book)
- A Light in the Window (picture book)
- In Lucia’s Neighborhood (picture book)
- Flash and Gleam (picture book)
- One World, Many Colors (picture book)
- The Poet X (Teen and YA)
- The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek (Adult fiction)
- Prairie Lotus (Middle-grade)
- She Spoke: 14 Women Who Raised Their Voices and Changed the World (7 – 10 years)
- The Rad Women series including Rad American Women A-Z and Rad Women Worldwide (middle-grade)
- Malala’s Magic Pencil as well as For the Right to Learn: Malala Yousafzai’s Story
- Books from the Little People, Big Dreams series including Ella and Maya Angelou
- Notes of an Undocumented Citizen by Jose Antonio Vargas (Biography)
- And so many more.
And now, the End of this Post
Dear reader, hope you find this list useful in addition to the many others you might have seen already. I made an effort to include books I had not seen on many lists (though there are of course a couple here as well).
Do let me know of one book that made an impact on you – about race, racism, antiracism.
15 thoughts on “Books to Inform and Enable Conversations about Race”
Excellent post and a valuable resource
I love that you included so many books that can help us educate ourselves and our kids on this topic. Really appreciate it.
Great list! I’m not a very big book fan but this makes me read them all
Thank you for providing these resources all in one place, you did the work so others can quickly access the information they need.
What a great collection of book to help.
What an excellent blog with gr at information. As with To Kill a Mockingbird, I remember that so well from when I was younger. Yes it’s said that things really haven’t changed. Even at Lia’s young age, people comment, and not in a so nice way, that she is an “other”. I pray that when she gets older some of the racism will go away. Lia has so much love to share and I’m hoping it will help change the world.
Great recommendations, Vidya!
Thanks for sharing this excellent list. Big fan of Brown Girl Dreaming.
This is a great discussion to be posting now. Thanks for sharing it 🙂
This is a great resource! I have never heard of some of these books, thanks for posting!
A great group of books!
I listened to Ibram X. Kendi on Brene Brown’s podcast the other day. Very intelligent man.
Great list of books! I found a few new ones or new to me, for my family of three to check out. I love how you provide books for all ages.
Nice of you to pull this list together