One thing we know about helping kids understand race and racism is that it is never too early to start.
As early as age 3, children are aware of racial differences. So many of us are wondering: How do we start conversations about race, protests, injustice and more? And how, as Jessica Grose writes in the New York Times, do we keep the conversation going in the long run?
Books, as always, are a great place to start. When we engage kids on these essential topics through reading we bring important voices into their worlds.
Here are some resources—led by people of color—for finding books that are right for your family.
THE BROWN BOOKSHELF
Founded by authors and illustrators of color, The Brown Bookshelf offers a summer reading project, Generations Book Club, which offers title recommendations (and buying resources) for kids of all ages.
WE NEED DIVERSE BOOKS
Recommended by the Child Mind Institute, We Need Diverse Books (WNDB) is a nonprofit that imagines “a world in which all children can see themselves in the pages of a book.” They’ve posted a list of resources for kids and adults, as well as bookshop recommendations.
THE TUTU TEACHER
Kindergarten teacher Vera Ahiyya runs two accounts, The Tutu Teacher and Diverse Reads, on Instagram. You can purchase her list of family book recommendations here.
HERE WEE READ
Mom of two and diversity and inclusion expert Charnaie Gordon reviews books on her blog and her Instagram.
Visit Embrace Race’s “Fantastic Read-Aloud Books for Raising a Brave Generation” for a list from Lee and Low Books, America’s largest independent, multicultural children’s book publisher. They’ve also created a helpful guide to choosing great books featuring Black and Indigenous people and People of Color (BIPOC) from the many options out there.
DIVERSE BOOK FINDER
Diverse Book Finder has done the important and comprehensive work of collecting, analyzing and cataloging children’s picture books about BIPOC, many of which are also authored and illustrated by BIPOC. Search lists by topic and representation categories.
SOCIAL JUSTICE BOOKS
A project of Teaching for Change, Social Justice Books has over 50 lists of books for kids, young adults and educators. Each book is evaluated through a lens that considers several factors; a book must do more than just feature diverse characters.
CORETTA SCOTT KING BOOK AWARD WINNERS
The Coretta Scott King Book Awards, from the American Library Association, honor outstanding African American children’s and young adult authors and illustrators. Find the list of 2020 winners here.
LOCAL PASSPORT FAMILY
This Bay Area-based family of 7 advocates learning about the world, including through reading. Their 2020 Global Children’s Book Club: Diverse Picture Books includes “26 days of A-Z countries, diverse picture books and global learning.”
AFRICAN AMERICAN LITERATURE BOOK CLUB
Through the African American Literature Book Club, find 154 African-American books recommended by children’s book authors, booksellers and readers.