17 Anti-Racism Books for Kids to Read at Home

Grow your anti-racism book collection with these books for kids of all ages.

One way to talk to kids about race is to introduce other cultures into the media you present them, including books, movies and music. Another way is for kids to read about racism directly so they can begin to understand it. 

These books about racism and tolerance are appropriate for readers of all ages and reading levels. We’ve also recommended local Black-owned and independent bookstores to find these titles.

Preschoolers

The Colors of Us, by Karen Katz

Photo courtesy of Women & Children First Bookstore
  • Best for ages: Birth-4

This board book explains all the different colors of people describing those colors using food (French toast and honey, for example). While racism as a broad term isn’t discussed, it reminds kids that people can’t be painted using the same brush.

Order at Women & Children First Bookstore.

Antiracist Baby, by Ibram X. Kendi

Photo courtesy of Semicolon Bookstore
  • Best for ages: Birth-4

With nine simple steps, parents can start their kids on a path toward being anti-racist. From seeing and accepting all colors to admitting when we do or say something that is racist, babies and parents can follow a list toward antiracism.

Order at Semicolon Bookstore.

Let’s Talk About Race, by Julius Lester

  • Best for ages: 2-5

Good for all ages, the book explains that every person has a story to his or her life (birthday, favorite color, favorite time of day, how many brothers and sisters) and explains that race is part of that story. It reminds kids that race isn’t all that we are, but only one part of the story.

Order at Semicolon Bookstore.

The Other Side, by Jacqueline Woodson

Photo courtesy of Semicolon Bookstore
  • Best for ages: 4-8

A fence separates two homes in a town in the 1960s. Told from the perspective of a young black girl, she meets a young white girl her same age and is first told not to talk to her or stare at her in town. The two slowly become friends and learn about inclusion. This book allows parents a chance to discuss the imagery of the fence and what kids can learn about being on either side.

Order at Semicolon Bookstore.

Our Skin: A First Conversation About Race, by Megan Madison & Jessica Ralli

Photo courtesy of Kido
  • Best for ages: 2-5

It’s never too early to start a conversation about race with your children. Our Skin explains to younger kids about how people have different skin tones. They even bring up the important discussion on how skin tones can lead to racism on purpose or by mistake.

Order at Kido.

Happy Within: A Children’s Book About Race, Diversity and Self-love, by Marisa J. Taylor and Vanessa Balleza 

Photo courtesy of Bookshop

  • Best for ages: 2-6 

This book shares an important message about having the confidence to love yourself, no matter your race or background. Written by a biracial mother, “Happy Within” prepares children for becoming confident and secure in themselves despite the prejudice of the world around them. When we appreciate ourselves and each other exacttly as we are, our world will begin to be a less prejudiced place. 

Order at Semicolon Bookstore.

 

Early Readers

A Kid’s Book About Racism, by Jelani Memory

Photo courtesy of Kido
  • Best for ages: 5-8

Using words and descriptions that kids will understand, the book teaches younger readers about what racism is and how it makes others feel. It’s a good reminder for kids to stand up when they see others being hurt by words or actions.

Preorder from Kido.

Something Happened in Our Town, A Child’s Story About Racial Injustice, by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins & Ann Hazzard

Photo courtesy of Semicolon Bookstore
  • Best for ages: 5-10

Written in 2018, families of different color talk about a police shooting and white and black history in America. With kids in mind, the different discussions in each family explain fear and understanding. After talking with their families, kids work harder for inclusion and break bad patterns.

Order from Semicolon Bookstore

The Day You Begin, by Jacqueline Woodson

Photo courtesy of Women & Children First Bookstore
  • Best for ages: 5-8

Children return to school and listen to the stories of what each one did over the summer. Meeting new classmates means not only opening eyes to new experiences, but also remembering that her own experiences don’t diminish her is what the narrator teaches the reader.

Order from Women & Children First Bookstore.

The Undefeated, by Kwame Alexander

Photo courtesy of Kido
  • Best for ages: 6-9

When teaching our kids about Black history in the United States, this book is a poem describing Black life in our nation. You’ll find references to Martin Luther King, Jr., Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, and others, while learning about the present including the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Order from Kido.

Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness, by Anastasia Higginbotham

  • Best for ages: 6-10

Addressing a police shooting and written in 2018, the book supposes a real-time situation of protests, marchers and how families of different colors react. The children in the book can hear and see the TV news, and ask their families with different responses.

Order from Women & Children First Bookstore.

Teens & Tweens

This Book is Anti-Racist, by Tiffany Jewell

Photo courtesy of The Book Stall
  • Best for ages: 10-18

Twenty chapters provide 20 lessons for teens and tweens to understand how to not only not be racist, but to identify and stand up for racism when they see it.

Order from The Book Stall.

Stamped, by Jason Reynolds and Ibrihim X. Kendi

Photo courtesy of Semicolon Bookstore
  • Best for ages: 10-14

This “remix” of Stamped from the Beginning is written for tweens and teens to understand how the history of racist ideas shapes today’s culture.

Order from Semicolon Bookstore.

March, by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell

Photo courtesy of Women & Children First Bookstore
  • Best for ages: 12-18

Congressman John Lewis lent his personal history to this graphic novel series that takes the reader through the Civil Rights Movement in three books.

Order from Women & Children First Bookstore.

A Few Red Drops: Chicago Race Riots of 1919, by Claire Hartfield

Photo courtesy of Semicolon Bookstore
  • Best for ages: 10-15

The history of the Chicago Race Riots interweaves how and why the riots happened with examples that kids can understand.

Order from Semicolon Bookstore.

Black Enough, edited by Ibi Zoboi

Photo courtesy of The Book Stall
  • Best for ages: 10-18

Seventeen contributors added stories from their lives to tell the story of being young and black in America.

Order from The Book Stall.

Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre, by Carole Boston Weatherford and Floyd Cooper

  • Best for ages: 8-12

Part of an anti-racist future is to address instances racism in our country’s past. This true story of the horrific Tulsa race massacre explains one of the worst incidents of racial violence in our nation’s history in a way that younger readers can understand and process. 

Order from Kido.


Follow Chicago Parent on Instagram.

Chicago Parent Editorial Team
Chicago Parent Editorial Team
Since 1984, the Chicago Parent editorial team is trained to be the go-to source for Chicagoland families, offering a rich blend of expert advice, compelling stories, and the top local activities for kids. Renowned for their award-winning content, the team of editors and writers are dedicated to enriching family life by connecting parents with the finest resources and experiences our community has to offer.
- Advertisement -

LATEST STORIES

Family Travel Guide to Wisconsin Dells: What’s New in 2024

Uncover Wisconsin Dells’ family-friendly attractions and activities, perfect for creating the most unforgettable vacation.

Find Out Where the Best Teachers in Lake County Public Schools Are

See whether your local school in Lake County has the best-ranked teachers.

These Are The Top 10 Healthiest Places to Live in Cook County

Explore Cook County’s healthiest places to live in 2024, ranked by Niche.

These Are The Hardest AP Classes To Pass

Discover the 10 toughest AP exams by pass rate, revealing challenges and surprises for high school students striving for college credit.


- Advertisement -