Talking About Race

Talking About Race

Learning about race and talking to your children about race is a vital but sometimes intimidating topic: When do you get started? 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 facilitate conversations on race.
 


Compiled by:
Kim B.

Fiction

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
Suggested for ages 10+


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.
Suggested for ages 4-8


Blended

Sharon Draper
Juvenile Fiction - J Draper

Piano-prodigy Isabella, eleven, whose black father and white mother struggle to share custody, never feels whole, especially as racial tensions affect her school, her parents both become engaged, and she and her stepbrother are stopped by police.
Suggested for ages 10+


Count Me In

Varsha Bajaj
Juvenile Fiction - J Bajaj

Told from two viewpoints, sixth-graders Karina and Chris use social media to stand up to racism in Houston, Texas, after an attack puts Karina's Indian American grandfather in the hospital.
Suggested for ages 9-14


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.
Suggested for ages 4-8


Ghost Boys

Jewell Parker Rhodes
Juvenile Fiction - J Rhodes

*This item is also available on Libby. After seventh-grader Jerome is shot by a white police officer, he observes the aftermath of his death and meets the ghosts of other fallen black boys including historical figure Emmett Till
Suggested for ages 10+


A Good Kind of Trouble

Lisa Moore Ramée
Juvenile Fiction - J Ramee

*This item is also available on Libby (audiobook). 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 is forced to choose between her education and her identity.
Suggested for ages 9-14


I Walk with Vanessa: A Story about a Simple Act of Kindness

Kerascoët
Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Ker

An elementary school girl witnesses the bullying of another girl, but she is not sure how to help.
Suggested for ages 4-9


New Kid

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

*This item is also available on Hoopla. New Kid is a timely, honest graphic novel about starting over at a new school where diversity is low and the struggle to fit in is real, from award-winning author-illustrator Jerry Craft. Seventh grader Jordan Banks loves nothing more than drawing cartoons about his life. But instead of sending him to the art school of his dreams, his parents enroll him in a prestigious private school known for its academics, where Jordan is one of the few kids of color in his entire grade. As he makes the daily trip from his Washington Heights apartment to the upscale Riverdale Academy Day School, Jordan soon finds himself torn between two worlds-and not really fitting into either one. Can Jordan learn to navigate his new school culture while keeping his neighborhood friends and staying true to himself?
Suggested for ages 9-13


Same, Same, But Different

Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw
Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Kos

*This item is also available on Hoopla (video). Pen pals Elliott and Kailash discover that even though they live in different countries--America and India--they both love to climb trees, own pets, and ride school buses.
Suggested for ages 4-8


Skin Again

bell hooks
Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Ho

Repeating the phrase “the skin I’m in is just a covering,” this book explores the ideas that we need to look beyond skin to know one another, and to celebrate our uniqueness.
Suggested for ages 4-7


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.
Suggested for ages 10+


What’s the Difference? Being Different is Amazing

Doyin Richards
Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Ric

Photographs and simple text celebrate friendship, diversity, and acceptance.
Suggested for ages 4-7


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's no longer as she was. She decides to turn to her dear abuelo for some help with this ever-persistent question. But he doesn't quite give her the answer she expects.
Suggested for ages 4-8


Why Am I Me?

Paige Britt
Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Bri

In a poetic, philosophical exchange, two children of different races ask themselves why they are who and what they are, and speculate on how they could be different.
Suggested for ages 4-8


Nonfiction

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.
Suggested for ages 4-8


Black Lives Matter

Duchess Harris
Juvenile Nonfiction - J 305.896 Har

What started as a hashtag in 2013 quickly grew into the Black Lives Matter movement. Black Lives Matter examines the police shootings that fueled the movement, the events that led up to racial tensions in the United States, and the goals the movement has set for the future. Easy-to-read text, vivid images, and helpful back matter give readers a clear look at this subject. Features include a table of contents, infographics, a glossary, additional resources, and an index.
Suggested for ages 8-12


Can I Touch Your Hair: Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship

Irene Latham
Juvenile Nonfiction - J 811.54 Lat

Irene Latham, who is white, and Charles Waters, who is black, present paired poems about topics including family dinners, sports, recess, and much more. This relatable collection explores different experiences of race in America.
Suggested for ages 9-13


Dealing With: Racism

Jane Lacey
Juvenile Nonfiction - J 305.8 Lac

Sometimes you can sort out a problem on your own. But sometimes you need to ask for help. This book helps young children to make this decision and find out about and understand racism. It features seven case studies from children who have a range of racism problems from a girl who is being left out because she is Muslim to the new boy in school from another country who is struggling to fit in. The end of the book features a short playscript to act out and discuss. The book has engaging illustrations throughout. In this series case studies combine with sensible, practical advice to help children find out what to do in difficult situations.
Suggested for ages 8-12


Let's Talk About Race

Julius Lester
Juvenile Nonfiction - J 305.8 Le

The author introduces the concept of race as only one component in an individual's or nation's "story."
Suggested for ages 5-10


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. "In our family, we don't see color," his mother says, but he sees the colors plain enough. An afternoon in the library's history stacks uncover the truth of white supremacy in America. Racism was not his idea and he refuses to defend it.
Suggested for ages 8-12


Racism and Intolerance

Louise Spilsbury
Juvenile Nonfiction - J 305.8 Spi

In Racism and Intolerance, children can get answers to questions like: "What does it mean to be a racist—or intolerant?" and "How can I help?" Children will begin to understand the way others struggle with these issues and become empowered to make a difference.
Suggested for ages 4-8


Racism and Prejudice

Marguerite Rodger, Jessie Rodger
Juvenile Nonfiction - J 305.8 Rod

Presents information about different types of racism and prejudice, including their history, the negative effects that they have on people, and ways of dealing with them.
Suggested for ages 8-12


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. Includes an extensive Note to Parents and Caregivers that provides general guidance about addressing racism with children, child-friendly vocabulary definitions, conversation guides, and a link to additional online resources for parents and teachers.
Suggested for ages 4-8


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, fifty diverse creators lend voice to young activists.
Suggested for ages 8-13


Whoever You Are

Mem Fox
Juvenile Picture Books Nonfiction - Ej 305.8 Fo

Despite the differences between people around the world, there are similarities that join us together, such as pain, joy, and love.
Suggested for age 4-8