Resources for discussing racism with kids

Illustration from Amazing Grace (1990) by Mary Hoffman.

Discussing racism and inequality can be a distressing moment between parents, care-givers or teachers and the children they love. Thankfully, there are a number of helpful materials and resources that can help you to explain discrimination at the same time as giving kids a sense of self-worth and confidence to stand up to themselves. Below are a few suggestions of books for children as well as advice materials for adults!

Picture books for young children:

Picture Books (2+)
• I love my hair – Natasha Anastasia
• Dancing in the wings – Debbie Allen

Picture Books (3+)
• Chocolate Me – Taye Diggs
• The Colors of Us – Karen Katz
• All the colors we are: The story of how we got our skin color – Katie Kissinger
• The skin you live in – Michael Tyler

Picture Books (4+)
• Amazing Grace – Mary Hoffman
• Skin Again – bell hooks
• The Other side – Jacqueline Woodson

Picture Books (5+)
• Hope – Isabell Monk
• Muskrat will be swimming – Cheryl Savageau

Picture Books (6+)
• The Soccer Fence: A Story of Friendship, Hope and Apartheid in South Africa – Phil Bidner
• Grandpa, is everything black bad? – Sandy Lynne Holman
• Let’s talk about race – Julius Lester
• Goin’ someplace special – Patricia C. McKissack
• Busing Brewster – Richard Michelson
• Mr. Lincoln’s Way – Patricia Polacco
• Desmond and the very mean word – Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Douglas Carlton Abrams

More Picture Books!
• Shades of Black: A celebration of our children – Sandra L. Pinkney
• The Sneetches and other stories – Dr. Seuss
• Yoko – Rosemary Wells
• White Water – Michael S. Bandy and Eric Stein
• Buddha at Bedtime – Dharmachari Nagaraja
• If a bus could talk – Faith Ringgold
• The people could fly: American Black Folktales – Virginia Hamilton
• Sunne’s Gift: How she overcame bullying to reclaim God’s gift – Ama Karikari Yawson
• Roll of thunder hear my cry – Mildred Taylor
• Let the circle be unbroken – Mildred Taylor
• Maggie Sinclair will you please fix your hair?! – Hilary Grant Dixon
• We Got Issues! A Young Woman’s Guide to a Bold, Courageous and Empowered Life – Edited by Rha Goddess and JLove Calderon
• The fat black woman’s poems – Grace Nichols
• The People Shall Continue – Simon Ortiz
• Muskrat Will Be Swimming – Cheryl Savageau
• First Americans – series of books by Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve
• Indian Shoes – Cynthia Leitich Smith

Resources for adults:

– 50 Best culturally diverse children’s books (web article)
– Book list by Creative with Kids (website)
– Book list by Friends School of Portland (digital document)
– Combating Racial Discrimination by Ena Appelt and Monika Jarosch (book)
– Dutch Racism by Philomena Essed and Isabel Hoving (book)
– Emancipatie en diversiteit in kinderboeken by Spinzi (website)
– Institute of Race Relations News (website)
– Learning Resource Centre by ERIF (website)
– Media Diversified (website)
– Resources for teachers by Indian Country Today Media Network (website)
– Stereotypen in kinderboeken by Buku Books (website)
– We are all the same inside (website)
– We Need Diverse Books (website)



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