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.

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.

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

Racism and Intolerance

Louise Spilsbury
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 305.8 Spi)

"What does it mean to be a racist—or intolerant?" Children will begin to understand the way others struggle with these issues and become empowered to make a difference. Recommended for ages 6-9.

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. 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.

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. 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

Black Lives Matter

Duchess Harris
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 305.896 Har)

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. Recommended for ages 9–12+.

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

Irene Latham
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 811.54 Lat)

Irene, who is White, and Charles, who is Black, present this relatable collection exploring different experiences of race in America. Recommended for ages 9–12.

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. Recommended for ages 9-12+

Dealing With: Racism

Jane Lacey
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 305.8 Lac)

This book helps young children understand racism. Case studies combine with sensible, practical advice to help children find out what to do in difficult situations. 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 is forced to choose between her education and her identity. 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 uncovers the truth of white supremacy in America. Recommended for ages 9–12.

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. 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, fifty 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.