Children’s Books to Help Kids Learn about Racism and Prejudice

It's never too early to talk to kids about race. Use these children's books about race and racism to spark powerful conversations with kids and teens.

Racism can be a difficult topic to teach your children. Children come into this world with no prejudices and completely loving nature. Sadly, that doesn’t always last. We shouldn’t let our children to not stand idly by and allow, but rather identify and work towards eradicating. Only by education can we begin to make a difference. 

Books are a powerful tool in teaching  even seemingly difficult subjects. They spark conversation and allow for new ways of thinking. They allow you not just to examine history to but to observe culture. To find commonalities in diverse races, cultures, religions etc. Simply by exposing your kids to different races and diverse cultures,  you are starting important, lifelong conversations!

Here is a list of books that will help to start the discussions of cultural (specifically the African American culture) and racial diversity in your home.

Children’s Racism & Prejudice Books

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We’re Different, We’re the Same – Who better than Sesame Street to teach us that we may all look different on the outside—but it’s important to remember that deep down, we are all very much alike. We all have the same needs, desires, and feelings. Elmo and his Sesame Street friends help teach toddlers and the adults in their lives that everyone is the same on the inside, and it’s our differences that make this wonderful world, which is home to us all, an interesting—and special—place. This enduring, colorful, and charmingly illustrated book offers an easy, enjoyable way to learn about differences—and what truly matters. It is an engaging read for toddlers and adults alike.

The New Kid –  This is a graphic novel set in a middle school. Jordan is a new student in a predominately white school. Jordan learns to navigate new culture while still maintaining his sense of self.

The Undefeated Winner of the prestigious Caldecott AND Newberry award, this beautifully illustrated tells the beautiful poetic story of black life in the United States. “It highlights the unspeakable trauma of slavery, the faith and fire of the civil rights movement, and the grit, passion, and perseverance of some of the world’s greatest heroes.” 

Little Leaders BooksThese Little Leaders books are a favorite biographical series. Easy enough for younger kids to understand, intriguing enough for the older kids, these two specifically break down black woman leaders, and black male leaders in history. It highlights exceptional men and women in fields from aviation to science.

Brown Girl Dreaming – Winner of a National Book and Newberry Award, Brown Girl Dreaming tells the story of a young girl growing up in the 60’s and 70’s in the South. It’s a coming of age type tale that adults and middle school age will all love! Written in beautiful, yet easy to follow poetic form, this is a simply beautiful piece of literature. Powerful and one to remember forever.

Antiracist BabyTake your first steps with Antiracist Baby! Or rather, follow Antiracist Baby‘s nine easy steps for building a more equitable world.

With bold art and thoughtful yet playful text, Antiracist Baby introduces the youngest readers and the grown-ups in their lives to the concept and power of antiracism. Providing the language necessary to begin critical conversations at the earliest age, Antiracist Baby is the perfect gift for readers of all ages dedicated to forming a just society.

Teach Your Dragon About Diversity – Fun, cute, and entertaining with beautiful illustrations, this is a must have book for children, parents and teachers to teach kids diversity and difference

The Crossover This is a good choice for a sports lover! It’s written in narrative verse and has a rhythm that is intoxicating. It provides a great look at a tight knit African American family and the bounds that surpass the court. 

All Are Welcome – Follow a group of children through a day in their school, where everyone is welcomed with open arms. A school where kids in patkas, hijabs, and yarmulkes play side-by-side with friends in baseball caps. A school where students grow and learn from each other’s traditions and the whole community gathers to celebrate the Lunar New Year.

All Are Welcome lets young children know that no matter what, they have a place, they have a space, they are welcome in their school.

Jabari Jumps – This is a sweet little book about courage. Jabari learns to swim, but the diving board is a whole other feat. His dad stands by and encourages him and you find yourself rooting for Jabari! It teaches that we ALL have fears we have to overcome and about the importance of encouraging others.

As Brave As YouThis contemporary novel follows two brothers and their Summer adventures as they grow to learn what bravery REALLY is.  Sometimes bravery doesn’t look like you think it does!

The Other Side – Clover’s mom says it isn’t safe to cross the fence that segregates their African-American side of town from the white side where Anna lives. But the two girls strike up a friendship, and get around the grown-ups’ rules by sitting on top of the fence together.

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