10 Books to Read With Your Kids About Racism and Diversity

Start the conversation.

By Hailey Andresen

ed. note: Over the past year, I’ve been searching for books that will help our family have better conversations about race and diversity so I’m especially thrilled for Hailey’s article today. I’m also involved with a soon-to-launch organization, Ripple Reads, that will be like a book-a-month club for parents and kids on topics like race, empathy, and speaking up. Hop over here to find out how it works and get on the list for when Ripple Reads launches. My hope is that it will pave the way for our family – and yours to have the important conversations, and prepare our kids to become changemakers for racial justice.  — CS

While making donations and speaking up is crucial in the fight against racism in our country, our family has been looking for ways to promote anti-racism within the walls of our home each and every day. We recognize that long-term change requires daily practice, and it’s our goal to instill such practices in ourselves and our children. 

Last week I was doing a workout at home (Peloton), and the instructor spoke about how the best way to think about your daily fight was to compare it to taking care of your teeth. Yes, teeth. Stay with me. While visiting the dentist bi-annually is essential to the health of your teeth, it doesn’t mean you stop brushing twice a day between visits. You have to do it every single day. 

The same goes for racial equality. The grand gestures every so often are meaningless without daily follow up and action. We are nowhere near the end of our journey when it comes to learning, listening, and understanding how we can show up and support the Black Lives Matter movement, but we are beginning to enact change in our home. 

One way we’re doing it is by reading some of the following best kid’s books about racism and allowing them to start conversations about diversity, equality, and racism with our kids. And if you’ve been reading any books that have been impactful for your family around these issues, please comment below!

Featured image: Grace Heejung Kim

Ages 1-4

Antiracist Baby Board Book

It’s never too early to begin to talk about racism with your kids. The Antiracist Baby Board Book gives parents their first step to teaching their children how to build a more equitable world. Through these pages, families will begin to understand the concept and power of antiracism in a language that connects with the youngest readers. 

A Is for Awesome!: 23 Iconic Women Who Changed the World

We are all about alphabet board books in our house, especially when they highlight strong women. Anyone else? This board book shares and celebrates the stories of 23 diverse, feminist icons and each of their unique paths to success. 

Ages 5-8

The Day You Begin

This book helps readers of all ages understand that there are times where we all feel different than the rest of the group whether it’s the way we look, where we’re from, the food we eat, or something else. As we all know those moments where we feel like an outsider can be incredibly challenging, but it’s important to take the first step and begin to share our stories. The Day You Begin teaches kids that when we are brave and take that first step, others will meet us in the middle. 

Why Am I Me?

Why Am I Me? connects readers through solidarity in the questions they have and invites kids to dream of a world where there is no you or me, only we. Through these pages, we learn to celebrate our diversity and humanity rather than discriminate and learn that the way we can heal our world is to be empathetic to all people. 

This Is How We Do It: One Day in the Lives of Seven Kids From Around the World

This wonderful book follows the lives of seven different kids from around the world and provides a window into the similarities and differences in their days. It teaches children that regardless of how different we may feel, we are not alone in the world. 

Let It Shine: Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters

This book highlights ten bold women who worked tirelessly for freedom for generations. “The lives these women led are part of an incredible story about courage in the face of oppression; about the challenges and triumphs of the battle for civil rights; and about speaking out for what you believe in–even when it feels like no one is listening.” A must-read. 

Each Kindness 

Each Kindness shares a powerful anti-bullying message that will resonate with each child that picks this book up. After a new girl is excluded at school, a teacher gives a lesson to her students about how small acts of kindness can change the world. Instilling this sense of compassion for all people is crucial when teaching our children about equality. 

Ages 9-12

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History 

A book of true stories about forty trailblazing black women in American history that is fitting for all ages. Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History highlights role models, everyday women and heroes who were not always accepted and stood up to do extraordinary things to make this world a better place.

Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: The Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement

“This book celebrates Fannie Lou Hamer’s life and legacy with a message of hope, determination, and strength… Despite fierce prejudice and abuse, even being beaten to within an inch of her life, Fannie Lou Hamer was a champion of civil rights from the 1950s until her death in 1977.” The pages book are covered with mixed-media art and share how her efforts were integral to the Freedom Summer of 1964. 

Teach Your Dragon About Diversity: Train Your Dragon to Respect Diversity

In Teach Your Dragon About Diversity: Train Your Dragon To Respect Diversity kids learn how to lift their friends up when they are feeling sad about being different through a series of questions and by then teaching them about diversity!