Talking to your children about racism is never easy. This is an important subject that must be treated with seriousness, reflection and sensitivity. If your kids experienced racism at a young age, they might not even know what’s going on and opening that world up to them can be a scary proposition.
These seven books on racism facilitate an open dialogue with your children while giving them the tools to hold themselves accountable if they have to defend themselves.
A children’s book about racism
Published in 2019, A children’s book about racism contains precise definitions of racism and how it affects various people. Author Jelani Memory takes a minimal, direct approach to teaching children about racism by incorporating shorter sentences and filling the book pages with solid colors. The cover of the book is direct and eye-catching – there is no doubt that this book is meant to introduce children to a difficult subject. Memory writes, “This book was written to be an introduction for children to the subject [of racism].” The recommended age is six years or older, and it is recommended that children read this book with a mature adult.
Stamped (for kids): racism, anti-racism and you
By bestselling authors Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi, Stamped (for kids): racism, anti-racism and you was published in 2021 and adapted by Sonja Cherry Paul from the original novel, Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America. The novel is intended to give children a comprehensive timeline of racism and how the past has affected American culture and society today. The story also contains introductions to prominent civil rights figures through illustrations by Rachelle Baker. The back cover of the book reads: “RACE. Oh oh. The R-word. But actually, talking about race is one of the most important things to learn how to do. Spacked (for children) includes several chapters recommended for children in grades 2-8.
Anti-racism starts with me! A coloring book for children
Kadeesha Bryant’s Coloring Book, Anti-racism starts with me!, lets kids learn anti-racism statements while letting them express themselves while filling in intricate shapes, flowers, and other designs with crayons, crayons, or markers. Bryant encourages parents or adults to use words on the pages to guide a discussion about racism with their children. Here are some examples of anti-racist phrases on the pages: “The only thing that should be color-separated is laundry” and “Strong people fight back.” Stronger people stand up for others. Bryant also points out that there is one race that matters most: “the human race.” This interactive book is recommended for children of all ages and their parents.
Bright colors, meaningful illustrations and powerful words are what make anti-racist baby one to add to your reading collection. The book has nine essential steps to understanding the world and racism, and how individuals can create a society of equality. The first page of the book, shaded in cool turquoise, features illustrations of various people and a sign that reads, “Climate justice is racial justice.” The opening lines read, “Antiracist Baby is bred, not born. Antiracist Baby is raised to transform society. The picture book also includes engaging discussion prompts to foster conversation with your children.
stand up straight
stand up straight is an illustrated novel that focuses on a boy named Buster and the consequences when he is called a racist name at school. The book shows how he receives help from his mother and father, who work to teach Buster and his sister Bean about racism and build their confidence. stand up straight is intended to help parents, teachers and students manage and heal from racist behaviors and experiences. Akande based the book on her children who were victims of racial abuse in the UK. The book is recommended for children aged 3 to 10.
A door made for me
A door made for me is a 2022 picture book based on author Tyler Merritt’s experience with racism as a child. Readers are transported into the world of a young black boy impacted by a racist comment and the wisdom he receives from his grandfather. The picture book functions as a discussion guide for children and their parents or adult guardian. In addition to racism, the book focuses on blind bias, acceptance, emotions and more.
everyone is welcome
Prioritizing diversity, acceptance and kindness at school is the takeaway from everyone is welcome, a 2018 picture book. Phrases and illustrations show children of diverse ethnicities and backgrounds learning together, playing together, and just being together. The teachers and adult characters in the book are also of various ethnicities and identities. The back cover of the book reads: “Into our classroom safe and sound.” Fears are lost and hope is found. The 44-page picture book is recommended for all ages and grades.