Let's Talk About Race

Learning about race and talking to your children about race is a vital but sometimes intimidating topic. When and how do you get started? What if you make a mistake? The titles collected on this list are meant to further readers’ understanding of race and to help facilitate these important conversations.

Compiled by:
Kim B. and Grayson B.
Picture Books and Younger Elementary
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

Katie Kissinger
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 612.79 Kis)

Explains, in simple terms, the reasons for skin color, how it is determined by heredity, and how various environmental factors affect it. Recommended for ages 6–9.

Beauty Woke

NoNieqa Ramos
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Ram)

A young, multiracial Puerto Rican girl learns how to embrace her culture and heritage, even after seeing discrimination against people who look like her. Recommended for ages 3–6.

Black is a Rainbow Color

Angela Joy
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Joy)

A child reflects on the meaning of being Black in this anthem about a people, a culture, a history, and a legacy that lives on. Recommended for ages 3–6.

Don't Touch My Hair!

Sharee Miller
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Mil)

Aria loves her soft and bouncy hair, but must go to extremes to avoid people who touch it without permission until, finally, she speaks up. Includes author's note. Recommended for ages 3–6.

Home Is In Between

Mitali Perkins
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Per)

After immigrating to the United States, Shanti finds the challenges and joys of navigating between her family’s Bengali traditions and the culture of her new home. Recommended for ages 3–6.

I Am Every Good Thing

Derrick Barnes
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Bar)

An empowering homage to the strength, character, and worth of Black children. Recommended for ages 3–6.

Intersection Allies: We Make Room for All

Chelsea Johnson, LaToya Council, Carolyn Choi
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Joh)

A poetic exploration of the nuances of identity and differences as a source of community. The poem, introductions, and authors notes are all written by experts on the subject of intersectionality. Recommended for ages 3–6.

Something Happened in our Town: A Child’s Story about Racial Injustice

Marianne Celano
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 305.8 Cel)

After discussing the police shooting of a local Black man with their families, Emma and Josh know how to treat a new student who looks and speaks differently than his classmates. Recommended for ages 6–9.

What’s the Difference? Being Different is Amazing

Doyin Richards
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Ric)

Photographs and simple text celebrate friendship, diversity, and acceptance. Recommended for ages 3–6.

Where Are You From?

Yamile Saied Méndez
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Men)

When a young girl is asked where she's from—where she's "really" from—she decides to turn to her dear abuelo for some help with this question. But he doesn't give her the answer she expects. Recommended for ages 3–6.

Older Elementary
Amina's Voice

Hena Khan
(Juvenile Fiction - J Khan)

A Pakistani-American Muslim girl struggles to stay true to her family's vibrant culture while simultaneously blending in at school after tragedy strikes her community. Recommended for ages 9–12.

A Good Kind of Trouble

Lisa Moore Ramée
(Juvenile Fiction - J Ramee)

After attending a powerful protest, Shayla starts wearing an armband to school to support the Black Lives Matter movement, but when the school gives her an ultimatum, she's forced to choose between her education and her identity. Recommended for ages 9–12.

Maizy Chen's Last Chance

Lisa Yee
(Juvenile Fiction - J Yee)

When 11-year-old Maizy Chen spends the summer with her grandparents in Last Chance, Minnesota, she faces discrimination and makes unexpected discoveries about her family through the history of anti-Asian racism in the United States. Recommended for ages 9–12.


Charles Waters, Traci Sorell
(Juvenile Fiction - J Wat)

After being given an assignment to discuss their school’s mascot, six middle schoolers—all with different backgrounds and beliefs—come to new understandings about identity, tradition, and what it means to stand up for real change. Recommended for ages 9–12.

Me and White Supremacy: Young Readers' Edition

Layla F. Saad
(Juvenile Nonfiction – J 305.8 Saa)

This approachable guide helps young readers explore and process racism, white privilege, cultural appropriation, and more. Recommended for ages 9–12.

New Kid

Jerry Craft
(Juvenile Graphic Novels - J-GN Craft New Kid)

Jordan is one of the few kids of color in his entire grade and feels torn between two worlds, not really fitting into either. Can he navigate his new school culture while keeping his neighborhood friends and staying true to himself? Recommended for ages 9–12.

Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness

Anastasia Higginbotham
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 305.8 Hig)

A white child sees a TV news report of a white police officer shooting and killing a Black man. An afternoon at the library helps uncover the truth about white supremacy in America. Recommended for ages 9–12.

The Talk: Conversations about Race, Love & Truth

Wade Hudson, Cheryl Willis Hudson
- Editors
(Juvenile Nonfiction – J 305.8009 Tal)

A collection of essays, poems, and stories by 30 diverse authors and illustrators addressing the frank conversations parents and caregivers have with their children about race, identity, and self-esteem. Recommended for ages 9–12.

We Rise, We Resist, We Raise our Voices
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 303.4 We)

What do we tell our children when the world seems bleak, and prejudice and racism run rampant? With 96 lavishly designed pages of original art and prose, 50 diverse creators lend voice to young activists. Recommended for ages 9–12.

What Lane?

Torrey Maldonado
(Juvenile Fiction - J Mal)

Biracial sixth-grader Stephen questions the limitations society puts on him after he notices the way strangers treat him when he hangs out with his white friends and learns about the Black Lives Matter movement. Recommended for ages 9–12.