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Antiracism: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best kids books about antiracism?

Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to antiracism. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about antiracism.

Our list includes board books, picture books, and chapter books. Board books are best for babies and toddlers from ages newborn to 2 or 3. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid, and you can also use our table of contents to jump to particular topics you think your kid will enjoy.

When it comes to children’s stories about antiracism, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like Mister Lincoln’s Way to popular sellers like The Snowy Day to some of our favorite hidden gems like Brown Girl Dreaming.

We hope this list of kids books about antiracism can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book!

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Top 10 Books About Antiracism

#1
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The Undefeated
Written by Kwame Alexander & illustrated by Kadir Nelson
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom
This is powerful, moving, poetic, inspiring and poignant. A masterfully written and illustrated jumping-off point for delving deeper where it awakens interest.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

The Newbery Award-winning author of THE CROSSOVER pens an ode to black American triumph and tribulation, with art from a two-time Caldecott Honoree.

Originally performed for ESPN’s The Undefeated, this poem is a love letter to black life in the United States. It highlights the unspeakable trauma of slavery, the faith and fire of the civil rights movement, and the grit, passion, and perseverance of some of the world’s greatest heroes. The text is also peppered with references to the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, and others, offering deeper insights into the accomplishments of the past, while bringing stark attention to the endurance and spirit of those surviving and thriving in the present. Robust back matter at the end provides valuable historical context and additional detail for those wishing to learn more.

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#2
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The Proudest Blue
Written by Ibtihaj Muhammad & illustrated by S. K. Ali and Hatem Aly
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A powerful, vibrantly illustrated story about the first day of school–and two sisters on one’s first day of hijab–by Olympic medalist and social justice activist Ibtihaj Muhammad. With her new backpack and light-up shoes, Faizah knows the first day of school is going to be special. It’s the start of a brand new year and, best of all, it’s her older sister Asiya’s first day of hijab–a hijab of beautiful blue fabric, like the ocean waving to the sky. But not everyone sees hijab as beautiful, and in the face of hurtful, confusing words, Faizah will find new ways to be strong. Paired with Hatem Aly’s beautiful, whimsical art, Olympic medalist Ibtihaj Muhammad and Morris Award finalist S.K. Ali bring readers an uplifting, universal story of new experiences, the unbreakable bond between siblings, and of being proud of who you are.

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#3
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What Is Given from the Heart
Written by Patricia C. McKissack & illustrated by April Harrison
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

This final, magnificent picture book from three-time Coretta Scott King Award winner and Newbery Honor author Patricia McKissack is a poignant and uplifting celebration of the joy of giving.

“Misery loves company,” Mama says to James Otis. It’s been a rough couple of months for them, but Mama says as long as they have their health and strength, they’re blessed. One Sunday before Valentine’s Day, Reverend Dennis makes an announcement during the service— the Temples have lost everything in a fire, and the church is collecting anything that might be useful to them. James thinks hard about what he can add to the Temple’s “love box,” but what does he have worth giving? With her extraordinary gift for storytelling, McKissack—with stunning illustrations by Harrison—delivers a touching, powerful tale of compassion and reminds us all that what is given from the heart, reaches the heart.

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#4
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I Have a Dream
Written by & illustrated by Kadir Nelson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Presents the text of the famous speech given on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. by Martin Luther King, Jr., complemented by paintings illustrating the ideals the civil rights leader described.

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#5
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The Old Truck
Written & illustrated by Jarrett Pumphrey and Jerome Pumphrey
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

When is an old truck something more? On a small, bustling farm, a resilient and steadfast pickup works tirelessly alongside the family that lives there, and becomes a part of the dreams and ambitions of the family's young daughter.

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#6
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Big Papa and the Time Machine
Written by Daniel Bernstrom & illustrated by Shane W. Evans
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Discover the true meaning of being brave in this tender and whimsical picture book from Daniel Bernstrom (One Day in the Eucalytus, Eucalyptus Tree) and Shane Evans (Chocolate Me!) that follows a grandfather and grandson who travel through time in a beloved 1952 Ford.

A little boy who lives with his grandpa isn’t reprimanded for being afraid to go to school one day. Instead, Big Papa takes him away in his time machine—a 1952 Ford—back to all of the times when he, himself, was scared of something life was handing him.

Full of heartfelt moments and thrilling magical realism, Big Papa and the Time Machine speaks to the African American experience in a touching dialogue between two family members from different generations, and emerges as a voice that shares history and asks questions about one family’s experience in 20th-century black America.

*“Wasn’t you scared?”

“Oh, I was scared,” Big Papa said. “Sometimes you gotta walk with giants if you ever gonna know what you made of. That’s called being brave.”*

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#7
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Let the Children March
Written by Monica Clark-Robinson & illustrated by Frank Morrison
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
This book is so inspirational. I love that it talks about the children who march for their rights! This book is so important, as it really brought this historical event to life, especially through the different perspective of children. This is an amazing story of love, perseverance, determination, courage, bravery, and activism. Even when the children faced danger, they knew that they were helping bring about a change and that together, they could help change the world. Also, I thought the illustrations were wonderful.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

Under the leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King, children and teenagers march against segregation in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963.

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#8
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New Kid
Written & illustrated by Jerry Craft
Thoughts from Mom of Boys
I read this book to my two boys who are five and seven years old. They are still innocent to the prejudices of the world. They see all people with equality and don't understand why we would look down on others because of skin color. I love this about children and want to keep them that way as long as possible. All three of us really enjoyed reading this book. It showed insecurities that each of the characters had and portrayed racism from each of their points of view, which was so powerful. It had me laughing and feeling so grateful for good kids, good choices and good friends.
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Perfect for fans of Raina Telgemeier and Gene Luen Yang, New Kid is a timely, honest graphic novel about starting over at a new school where diversity is low and the struggle to fit in is real, from award-winning author-illustrator Jerry Craft.

Seventh grader Jordan Banks loves nothing more than drawing cartoons about his life. But instead of sending him to the art school of his dreams, his parents enroll him in a prestigious private school known for its academics, where Jordan is one of the few kids of color in his entire grade.

As he makes the daily trip from his Washington Heights apartment to the upscale Riverdale Academy Day School, Jordan soon finds himself torn between two worlds—and not really fitting into either one. Can Jordan learn to navigate his new school culture while keeping his neighborhood friends and staying true to himself?

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#9
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A Ride to Remember: A Civil Rights Story
Written by Sharon Langley and Amy Nathan & illustrated by Floyd Cooper
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

The true story of how a ride on a carousel made a powerful Civil Rights statement
 
_A Ride to Remember_ tells how a community came together—both black and white—to make a change. When Sharon Langley was born in the early 1960s, many amusement parks were segregated, and African-American families were not allowed entry. This book reveals how in the summer of 1963, due to demonstrations and public protests, the Gwynn Oak Amusement Park in Maryland became desegregated and opened to all for the first time. Co-author Sharon Langley was the first African-American child to ride the carousel. This was on the same day of Martin Luther King Jr.’s March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Langley’s ride to remember demonstrated the possibilities of King’s dream. This book includes photos of Sharon on the carousel, authors’ notes, a timeline, and a bibliography.

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#10
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Black Is a Rainbow Color
Written by Angela Joy & illustrated by Ekua Holmes
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A child reflects on the meaning of being Black in this moving and powerful anthem about a people, a culture, a history, and a legacy that lives on.

Red is a rainbow color. Green sits next to blue. Yellow, orange, violet, indigo, They are rainbow colors, too, but

My color is black . . . And there’s no BLACK in rainbows.

From the wheels of a bicycle to the robe on Thurgood Marshall’s back, Black surrounds our lives. It is a color to simply describe some of our favorite things, but it also evokes a deeper sentiment about the incredible people who helped change the world and a community that continues to grow and thrive.

Stunningly illustrated by Caldecott Honoree and Coretta Scott King Award winner Ekua Holmes, Black Is a Rainbow Color is a sweeping celebration told through debut author Angela Joy’s rhythmically captivating and unforgettable words.

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Table of Contents
Scroll to books about Antiracism and...

Books About Antiracism and Civil Rights Movement

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I Have a Dream
Written by & illustrated by Kadir Nelson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Presents the text of the famous speech given on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. by Martin Luther King, Jr., complemented by paintings illustrating the ideals the civil rights leader described.

Buy book
$18.99
Bookshop
$16.14
Amazon
$13.40
Used $8.23
Prices as of Jan 27
Add to list
Let the Children March
Written by Monica Clark-Robinson & illustrated by Frank Morrison
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
This book is so inspirational. I love that it talks about the children who march for their rights! This book is so important, as it really brought this historical event to life, especially through the different perspective of children. This is an amazing story of love, perseverance, determination, courage, bravery, and activism. Even when the children faced danger, they knew that they were helping bring about a change and that together, they could help change the world. Also, I thought the illustrations were wonderful.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

Under the leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King, children and teenagers march against segregation in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963.

Buy book
$17.99
Bookshop
$15.29
Amazon
$14.02
Used $11.63
Prices as of Jan 27
Add to list
The Undefeated
Written by Kwame Alexander & illustrated by Kadir Nelson
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom
This is powerful, moving, poetic, inspiring and poignant. A masterfully written and illustrated jumping-off point for delving deeper where it awakens interest.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

The Newbery Award-winning author of THE CROSSOVER pens an ode to black American triumph and tribulation, with art from a two-time Caldecott Honoree.

Originally performed for ESPN’s The Undefeated, this poem is a love letter to black life in the United States. It highlights the unspeakable trauma of slavery, the faith and fire of the civil rights movement, and the grit, passion, and perseverance of some of the world’s greatest heroes. The text is also peppered with references to the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, and others, offering deeper insights into the accomplishments of the past, while bringing stark attention to the endurance and spirit of those surviving and thriving in the present. Robust back matter at the end provides valuable historical context and additional detail for those wishing to learn more.

Buy book
$17.99
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$15.29
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$13.97
Used $3.59
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Honorable Mentions
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  1. The Youngest Marcher - Meet the youngest known child to be arrested for a civil rights protest in Birmingham, Alabama, 1963, in this moving picture book that proves you’re never too little to make a difference. Nine-year-old Audrey Faye Hendricks intended to go places and do things like anybody else. So when she heard grown-ups talk about wiping out Birmingham’s segregation laws, she spoke up. As she listened to the preacher’s words, smooth as glass, she sat up tall. And when she heard the plan—picket those white stores! March to protest those unfair laws! Fill the jails!—she stepped right up and said, I’ll do it! She was going to j-a-a-il! Audrey Faye Hendricks was confident and bold and brave as can be, and hers is the remarkable and inspiring story of one child’s role in the Civil Rights Movement.

  2. Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, The Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement - A collage-illustrated collection of poems and spirituals inspired by the life and work of civil rights advocate Fannie Lou Hamer.

  3. A Ride to Remember: A Civil Rights Story - The true story of how a ride on a carousel made a powerful Civil Rights statement
     
    _A Ride to Remember_ tells how a community came together—both black and white—to make a change. When Sharon Langley was born in the early 1960s, many amusement parks were segregated, and African-American families were not allowed entry. This book reveals how in the summer of 1963, due to demonstrations and public protests, the Gwynn Oak Amusement Park in Maryland became desegregated and opened to all for the first time. Co-author Sharon Langley was the first African-American child to ride the carousel. This was on the same day of Martin Luther King Jr.’s March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Langley’s ride to remember demonstrated the possibilities of King’s dream. This book includes photos of Sharon on the carousel, authors’ notes, a timeline, and a bibliography.

  4. Teammates - This is the moving story of how Jackie Robinson became the first black player on a Major League baseball team when he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1940s, and how on a fateful day in Cincinnati, Pee Wee Reese took a stand and declared Jackie his teammate. Illustrated with a blend of historic photographs and eloquent watercolors by Paul Bacon.

Books About Antiracism and Values And Virtues

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What Is Given from the Heart
Written by Patricia C. McKissack & illustrated by April Harrison
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

This final, magnificent picture book from three-time Coretta Scott King Award winner and Newbery Honor author Patricia McKissack is a poignant and uplifting celebration of the joy of giving.

“Misery loves company,” Mama says to James Otis. It’s been a rough couple of months for them, but Mama says as long as they have their health and strength, they’re blessed. One Sunday before Valentine’s Day, Reverend Dennis makes an announcement during the service— the Temples have lost everything in a fire, and the church is collecting anything that might be useful to them. James thinks hard about what he can add to the Temple’s “love box,” but what does he have worth giving? With her extraordinary gift for storytelling, McKissack—with stunning illustrations by Harrison—delivers a touching, powerful tale of compassion and reminds us all that what is given from the heart, reaches the heart.

Buy book
$17.99
Bookshop
$15.29
Amazon
$11.29
Used $6.69
Prices as of Jan 27
Add to list
Black Is a Rainbow Color
Written by Angela Joy & illustrated by Ekua Holmes
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A child reflects on the meaning of being Black in this moving and powerful anthem about a people, a culture, a history, and a legacy that lives on.

Red is a rainbow color. Green sits next to blue. Yellow, orange, violet, indigo, They are rainbow colors, too, but

My color is black . . . And there’s no BLACK in rainbows.

From the wheels of a bicycle to the robe on Thurgood Marshall’s back, Black surrounds our lives. It is a color to simply describe some of our favorite things, but it also evokes a deeper sentiment about the incredible people who helped change the world and a community that continues to grow and thrive.

Stunningly illustrated by Caldecott Honoree and Coretta Scott King Award winner Ekua Holmes, Black Is a Rainbow Color is a sweeping celebration told through debut author Angela Joy’s rhythmically captivating and unforgettable words.

Buy book
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Hosea Plays On
Written by Kathleen M. Blasi & illustrated by Shane W. Evans
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-9

This heartwarming picture book (based on a true story) depicts a day in the life of Hosea Taylor, a musician who—with his charm, talent, and generosity—brought joy to everyone he met.

Every day, Hosea takes the Number 42 bus into the city to play his shiny brass saxophone—and to hopefully earn enough money. Setting up in his favorite place, Hosea makes sweet music as people greet him with a smile, a little girl dances, and crowds surround him. A surprise ending reveals what the money is really for. Kathleen Blasi’s delightful text and Shane Evan’s colorful images capture the real-life closeness between the much-loved Hosea—who shared his passion for music and life with everyone—and his community.

An Author’s Note explains how Blasi learned about Hosea Taylor (1948-2016), and what compelled her to write his story.

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Honorable Mentions
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  1. Last Stop on Market Street - A young boy rides the bus across town with his grandmother and learns to appreciate the beauty in everyday things. By the author of the celebrated picture book A Nation’s Hope: The Story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis.

  2. The Big Umbrella - A spacious umbrella welcomes anyone and everyone who needs shelter from the rain.

  3. Antiracist Baby - From the National Book Award-winning author of Stamped from the Beginning and How to Be an Antiracist comes a fresh new board book that empowers parents and children to uproot racism in our society and in ourselves.

Books About Antiracism and Self-esteem

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The Proudest Blue
Written by Ibtihaj Muhammad & illustrated by S. K. Ali and Hatem Aly
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A powerful, vibrantly illustrated story about the first day of school–and two sisters on one’s first day of hijab–by Olympic medalist and social justice activist Ibtihaj Muhammad. With her new backpack and light-up shoes, Faizah knows the first day of school is going to be special. It’s the start of a brand new year and, best of all, it’s her older sister Asiya’s first day of hijab–a hijab of beautiful blue fabric, like the ocean waving to the sky. But not everyone sees hijab as beautiful, and in the face of hurtful, confusing words, Faizah will find new ways to be strong. Paired with Hatem Aly’s beautiful, whimsical art, Olympic medalist Ibtihaj Muhammad and Morris Award finalist S.K. Ali bring readers an uplifting, universal story of new experiences, the unbreakable bond between siblings, and of being proud of who you are.

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Mixed Me!
Written by Taye Diggs & illustrated by Shane W. Evans
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Mom and Dad say I’m a blend of dark and light: “We mixed you perfectly, and got you just right.” Mike has awesome hair. He has LOTS of energy! His parents love him. And Mike is a PERFECT blend of the two of them. Still, Mike has to answer LOTS of questions about being mixed. And he does, with LOTS of energy and joy in this charming story about a day in the life of a mixed-race child.

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Sulwe
Written by Lupita Nyong'o & illustrated by Vashti Harrison
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

From Academy Award–winning actress Lupita Nyong’o comes a powerful, moving picture book about colorism, self-esteem, and learning that true beauty comes from within.

Sulwe has skin the color of midnight. She is darker than everyone in her family. She is darker than anyone in her school. Sulwe just wants to be beautiful and bright, like her mother and sister. Then a magical journey in the night sky opens her eyes and changes everything.

In this stunning debut picture book, actress Lupita Nyong’o creates a whimsical and heartwarming story to inspire children to see their own unique beauty.

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Honorable Mentions
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  1. Chocolate Me! - The boy is teased for looking different than the other kids. His skin is darker, his hair curlier. He tells his mother he wishes he could be more like everyone else. And she helps him to see how beautiful he really, truly is.

  2. I Am Enough - A New York Times bestseller and Goodreads Choice Awards picture book winner! This is a gorgeous, lyrical ode to loving who you are, respecting others, and being kind to one another—from Empire actor and activist Grace Byers and talented newcomer artist Keturah A. Bobo. This is the perfect gift for mothers and daughters, baby showers, and graduation. We are all here for a purpose. We are more than enough. We just need to believe it.

  3. This Book Is Anti-Racist: 20 Lessons on How to Wake Up, Take Action, and Do the Work - Who are you? What is racism? Where does it come from? Why does it exist? What can you do to disrupt it? Learn about social identities, the history of racism and resistance against it, and how you can use your anti-racist lens and voice to move the world toward equity and liberation.

  4. Honeysmoke: A Story of Finding Your Color - A young biracial girl looks around her world for her color. She finally chooses her own, and creates a new word for herself--honeysmoke.

Books About Antiracism and Diversity

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New Kid
Written & illustrated by Jerry Craft
Thoughts from Mom of Boys
I read this book to my two boys who are five and seven years old. They are still innocent to the prejudices of the world. They see all people with equality and don't understand why we would look down on others because of skin color. I love this about children and want to keep them that way as long as possible. All three of us really enjoyed reading this book. It showed insecurities that each of the characters had and portrayed racism from each of their points of view, which was so powerful. It had me laughing and feeling so grateful for good kids, good choices and good friends.
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Perfect for fans of Raina Telgemeier and Gene Luen Yang, New Kid is a timely, honest graphic novel about starting over at a new school where diversity is low and the struggle to fit in is real, from award-winning author-illustrator Jerry Craft.

Seventh grader Jordan Banks loves nothing more than drawing cartoons about his life. But instead of sending him to the art school of his dreams, his parents enroll him in a prestigious private school known for its academics, where Jordan is one of the few kids of color in his entire grade.

As he makes the daily trip from his Washington Heights apartment to the upscale Riverdale Academy Day School, Jordan soon finds himself torn between two worlds—and not really fitting into either one. Can Jordan learn to navigate his new school culture while keeping his neighborhood friends and staying true to himself?

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$21.99
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I Am Human
Written by Susan Verde & illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
This book is full of meaningful truths and lessons suitable for every age. I love that it encourages kindness, love, empathy, equality, and hope. This book is all about being the best you! Plus, the illustrations are beautiful and whimsical.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A child recognizes his own humanity, his capacity for doing harm and being harmed, his ability to feel joy and sadness, and his belief in hope and promise to keep learning.

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Dreamers
Written & illustrated by Yuyi Morales
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Winner of the 2019 Pura Belpré Illustrator Award! A New York Times / New York Public Library Best Illustrated Book of 2018 In 1994, Yuyi Morales left her home in Xalapa, Mexico and came to the US with her infant son. She left behind nearly everything she owned, but she didn’t come empty-handed. She brought her strength, her work, her passion, her hopes and dreams. . . and her stories. Caldecott Honor artist and six-time Pura Belpré winner Yuyi Morales’s gorgeous picture book Dreamers is about making a home in a new place. Yuyi and her son Kelly’s passage was not easy, and Yuyi spoke no English whatsoever at the time. But together, they found an unexpected, unbelievable place: the public library. There, book by book, they untangled the language of this strange new land, and learned to make their home within it. Dreamers is a celebration of what migrantes bring with them when they leave their homes. It’s a story about family. And it’s a story to remind us that we are all dreamers, bringing our own gifts wherever we roam. Beautiful and powerful at any time but given particular urgency as the status of our own Dreamers becomes uncertain, this is a story that is both topical and timeless. The lyrical text is complemented by sumptuously detailed illustrations, rich in symbolism. Also included are a brief autobiographical essay about Yuyi’s own experience, a list of books that inspired her (and still do), and a description of the beautiful images, textures, and mementos she used to create this book. A parallel Spanish-language edition, Soñadores, is also available.

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  1. All are welcome - A warm, welcoming picture book that celebrates diversity and gives encouragement and support to all kids. Follow a group of children through a day in their school, where everyone is welcomed with open arms. A school where kids in patkas, hijabs, and yarmulkes play side-by-side with friends in baseball caps. A school where students grow and learn from each other’s traditions and the whole community gathers to celebrate the Lunar New Year. All Are Welcome lets young children know that no matter what, they have a place, they have a space, they are welcome in their school.

  2. Teach Your Dragon About Diversity: Train Your Dragon To Respect Diversity. A Cute Children Story To Teach Kids About Diversity and Differences. - Having a pet dragon is very fun.

  3. Charlie Takes His Shot - Charlie Sifford loved golf, but in the 1930’s only white people were allowed to play in the Professional Golf Association. Sifford had won plenty of black tournaments, but he was determined to break the color barrier in the PGA. In 1960 he did, only to face discrimination from hotels that wouldn’t rent him rooms and clubs that wouldn’t let him use the same locker as the white players. But Sifford kept playing, becoming the first black golfer to win a PGA tournament and eventually ranking among the greats in golf.

  4. Whoever You Are - Little one, whoever you are, wherever you are, there are little ones just like you all over the world...

Books About Antiracism and Girls And Women

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Just Ask!
Written by Sonia Sotomayor & illustrated by Rafael López
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and award-winning artist Rafael Lopez create a kind and caring book about the differences that make each of us unique.

Feeling different, especially as a kid, can be tough. But in the same way that different types of plants and flowers make a garden more beautiful and enjoyable, different types of people make our world more vibrant and wonderful.

In Just Ask, United States Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor celebrates the different abilities kids (and people of all ages) have. Using her own experience as a child who was diagnosed with diabetes, Justice Sotomayor writes about children with all sorts of challenges–and looks at the special powers those kids have as well. As the kids work together to build a community garden, asking questions of each other along the way, this book encourages readers to do the same: When we come across someone who is different from us but we’re not sure why, all we have to do is Just Ask.

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Brown Girl Dreaming
Written by Jacqueline Woodson
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-16

In vivid poems that reflect the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, an award-winning author shares what it was like to grow up in the 1960s and 1970s in both the North and the South.

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So Tall Within
Written by Gary D. Schmidt & illustrated by Daniel Minter
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom
This is a fantastic book about Sojourner Truth that marries beautiful illustrations and storytelling to convey a poignant tale.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

From celebrated author Gary D. Schmidt comes a picture book biography of a giant in the struggle for civil rights, perfectly pitched for readers today. Sojourner Truth was born into slavery but possessed a mind and a vision that knew no bounds. So Tall Within traces her life from her painful childhood through her remarkable emancipation to her incredible leadership in the movement for rights for both women and African Americans. Her story is told with lyricism and pathos by Gary D. Schmidt, one of the most celebrated writers for children in the twenty-first century, and brought to life by award winning and fine artist Daniel Minter. This combination of talent is just right for introducing this legendary figure to a new generation of children.

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  1. Making Their Voices Heard: The Inspiring Friendship of Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe - Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe. On the outside, you couldn’t find two girls who looked more different. But on the inside, they were alike–full of hopes and dreams and plans of what might be. Ella Fitzgerald’s velvety tones and shube-doobie-doos captivated audiences. Jazz greats like Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington couldn’t wait to share the stage with her, but still, Ella could not book a performance at one of the biggest clubs in town–one she knew would give her career its biggest break yet. Marilyn Monroe dazzled on the silver screen with her baby blue eyes and breathy boo-boo-be-doos. But when she asked for better scripts, a choice in who she worked with, and a higher salary, studio bosses refused. Two women whose voices weren’t being heard. Two women chasing after their dreams and each helping the other to achieve them. This is the inspiring, true story of two incredibly talented women who came together to help each other shine like the stars that they are.

  2. Saturday - In this warm and tender story by the Caldecott Honor-winning creator of Thank You, Omu!, join a mother and daughter on an up-and-down journey that reminds them of what's best about Saturdays: precious time together.

  3. Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family's Fight for Desegregation - A 2015 Pura Belpré Illustrator Honor Book and a 2015 Robert F. Sibert Honor Book
    Almost 10 years before Brown vs. Board of Education, Sylvia Mendez and her parents helped end school segregation in California. An American citizen of Mexican and Puerto Rican heritage who spoke and wrote perfect English, Mendez was denied enrollment to a “Whites only” school. Her parents took action by organizing the Hispanic community and filing a lawsuit in federal district court. Their success eventually brought an end to the era of segregated education in California.
    Praise for Separate is Never Equal
    STARRED REVIEW**S**
    “_Tonatiuh masterfully combines text and folk-inspired art to add an important piece to the mosaic of U.S. civil rights history.”
    –_Kirkus Reviews
    , starred review
    “Younger children will be outraged by the injustice of the Mendez family story but pleased by its successful resolution. Older children will understand the importance of the 1947 ruling that desegregated California schools, paving the way for Brown v. Board of Education seven years later.”
    School Library Journal, starred review
    “Tonatiuh (Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote) offers an illuminating account of a family’s hard-fought legal battle to desegregate California schools in the years before Brown v. Board of Education.”
    Publishers Weekly
    “Pura Belpré Award-winning Tonatiuh makes excellent use of picture-book storytelling to bring attention to the 1947 California ruling against public-school segregation.”
    Booklist
    “The straightforward narrative is well matched with the illustrations in Tonatiuh’s signature style, their two-dimensional perspective reminiscent of the Mixtec codex but collaged with paper, wood, cloth, brick, and (Photoshopped) hair to provide textural variation. This story deserves to be more widely known, and now, thanks to this book, it will be.”
    The Horn Book Magazine

  4. Althea Gibson: The Story of Tennis' Fleet-of-Foot Girl - A spirited picture book biography about Althea Gibson, the first black Wimbledon, French, and U.S. Open tennis champion, from debut author Megan Reid and Coretta Scott King Honor–winning illustrator Laura Freeman. Althea Gibson was the quickest, tallest, most fearless athlete in 1940s Harlem. She couldn’t sit still! When she put her mind to it, the fleet-of-foot girl reigned supreme at every sport—stickball with the boys, basketball with the girls, paddle tennis with anyone who would hit with her. But being the quickest, tallest, most fearless player in Harlem wasn’t enough for Althea. She knew she could be a tennis champion. Because of segregation, black people weren’t allowed to compete against white people in sports. Althea didn’t care. She just wanted to play tennis against the best athletes in the world. And with skill and determination, she did just that, eventually becoming the first black person—man or woman—to win a trophy at Wimbledon. Althea Gibson: The Story of Tennis’ Fleet-of-Foot Girl chronicles this trailblazing athlete’s journey—and the talent, force of spirit, and energy that made it possible for her to break barriers and ascend to the top of the tennis world.

Books About Antiracism and Multicultural

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Mister Lincoln's Way
Written & illustrated by Patricia Polacco
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

When Mr. Lincoln, “the coolest principal in the whole world,” discovers that Eugene, the school bully, knows a lot about birds, he uses this interest to help Eugene overcome his intolerance.

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The Colors of Us
Written & illustrated by Karen Katz
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Seven-year-old Lena and her mother observe the variations in the color of their friends’ skin, viewed in terms of foods and things found in nature. By the author of Over the Moon: An Adoption Tale.

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Something Happened in Our Town: A Child's Story about Racial Injustice
Written by & illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
This book is a story of two different families, both having important discussions in their home about racism, equity, and standing up for what's right. The discussions are prompted from a Black man who is unfairly shot by police—the book mentions that its all over the news and the younger children have heard tidbits mentioned about it from older children, and they have questions. What I really appreciate about this book is the demonstration of talking about such an important matter in the home and proactively talking about how we can stand up for others, accept others, and change the negative patterns in the world.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A Little Free Library Action Book Club Selection<br /><br /> National Parenting Product Award Winner (NAPPA)<br /><br /><i>Emma and Josh heard that something happened in their town. A Black man was shot by the police.</i><br /><br /><i>”Why did the police shoot that man?”</i><br /><br /><i>”Can police go to jail?”</i><br /><br /><i>Something Happened in Our Town</i> follows two families – one White, one Black – as they discuss a police shooting of a Black man in their community. The story aims to answer children’s questions about such traumatic events, and to help children identify and counter racial injustice in their own lives.<br /><br /> Includes an extensive Note to Parents and Caregivers with guidelines for discussing race and racism with children, child-friendly definitions, and sample dialogues.<br /><br /> Free, downloadable educator materials (including discussion questions) are available at www.apa.org.<br /><br /> From the Note to Parents and Caregivers: <br /><br /><i>There are many benefits of beginning to discuss racial bias and injustice with young children of all races and ethnicities: </i><ul><li><i>Research has shown that children even as young as three years of age notice and comment on differences in skin color.</i></li></ul><ul><li><i>Humans of all ages tend to ascribe positive qualities to the group that they belong to and negative qualities to other groups.</i></li></ul><ul><li><i>Despite some parents’ attempts to protect their children from frightening media content, children often become aware of incidents of community violence, including police shootings.</i></li></ul><ul><li><i>Parents who don’t proactively talk about racial issues with their children are inadvertently teaching their children that race is a taboo topic. Parents who want to raise children to accept individuals from diverse cultures need to counter negative attitudes that their children develop from exposure to the negative racial stereotypes that persist in our society.</i></li></ul>

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  1. What Lane? - "STAY IN YOUR LANE." Stephen doesn't want to hear that--he wants to have no lane.

  2. Happy in Our Skin - Is there anything more splendid than a baby's skin? For families of all stripes comes a sweet celebration of what makes us unique--and what holds us together.

  3. All Kinds of People - Perfect for the youngest readers, this board book adaptation of the acclaimed Shades of People celebrates the diversity of everyday life.

Books About Antiracism and Family

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Big Papa and the Time Machine
Written by Daniel Bernstrom & illustrated by Shane W. Evans
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Discover the true meaning of being brave in this tender and whimsical picture book from Daniel Bernstrom (One Day in the Eucalytus, Eucalyptus Tree) and Shane Evans (Chocolate Me!) that follows a grandfather and grandson who travel through time in a beloved 1952 Ford.

A little boy who lives with his grandpa isn’t reprimanded for being afraid to go to school one day. Instead, Big Papa takes him away in his time machine—a 1952 Ford—back to all of the times when he, himself, was scared of something life was handing him.

Full of heartfelt moments and thrilling magical realism, Big Papa and the Time Machine speaks to the African American experience in a touching dialogue between two family members from different generations, and emerges as a voice that shares history and asks questions about one family’s experience in 20th-century black America.

*“Wasn’t you scared?”

“Oh, I was scared,” Big Papa said. “Sometimes you gotta walk with giants if you ever gonna know what you made of. That’s called being brave.”*

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Whose Toes are Those?
Written by Jabari Asim & illustrated by LeUyen Pham
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Children are invited to explore their toes by playing “This Little Piggy.

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Where Are You From?
Written by Yamile Saied Méndez & illustrated by Jaime Kim
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

This resonant picture book tells the story of one girl who constantly gets asked a simple question that doesn’t have a simple answer. A great conversation starter in the home or classroom—a book to share, in the spirit of I Am Enough by Grace Byers and Keturah A. Bobo. When a girl is asked where she’s from—where she’s really from—none of her answers seems to be the right one. Unsure about how to reply, she turns to her loving abuelo for help. He doesn’t give her the response she expects. She gets an even better one. Where am I from? You’re from hurricanes and dark storms, and a tiny singing frog that calls the island people home when the sun goes to sleep…. With themes of self-acceptance, identity, and home, this powerful, lyrical picture book will resonate with readers young and old, from all backgrounds and of all colors—especially anyone who ever felt that they don’t belong.

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  1. We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices - Fifty of the foremost diverse children's authors and illustrators--including Jason Reynolds, Jacqueline Woodson, and Kwame Alexander--share answers to the question, "In this divisive world, what shall we tell our children?" in this beautiful, full-color keepsake collection, published in partnership with Just Us Books.

  2. What Is a Refugee? - An accessible picture book that oh-so-simply and graphically introduces the term "refugee" to curious young children to help them better understand the world in which they live.

  3. Harbor Me - Jacqueline Woodson was the 2018-2019 National Ambassador for Young People's Literature A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER! Jacqueline Woodson's first middle-grade novel since National Book Award winner Brown Girl Dreaming celebrates the healing that can occur when a group of students share their stories.

  4. Malcolm Little: The Boy Who Grew Up to Become Malcolm X - Malcolm X grew to be one of America’s most influential figures. But first, he was a boy named Malcolm Little. Written by his daughter, this inspiring picture book biography celebrates a vision of freedom and justice. Bolstered by the love and wisdom of his large, warm family, young Malcolm Little was a natural born leader. But when confronted with intolerance and a series of tragedies, Malcolm’s optimism and faith were threatened. He had to learn how to be strong and how to hold on to his individuality. He had to learn self-reliance. Together with acclaimed illustrator AG Ford, Ilyasah Shabazz gives us a unique glimpse into the childhood of her father, Malcolm X, with a lyrical story that carries a message that resonates still today–that we must all strive to live to our highest potential.

Books About Antiracism and Race Relations

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The Other Side
Written by Jacqueline Woodson & illustrated by E.B. Lewis
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Clover’s mom says it isn’t safe to cross the fence that segregates their African-American side of town from the white side where Anna lives. But the two girls strike up a friendship, and get around the grown-ups’ rules by sitting on top of the fence together.

With the addition of a brand-new author’s note, this special edition celebrates the tenth anniversary of this classic book. As always, Woodson moves readers with her lyrical narrative, and E. B. Lewis’s amazing talent shines in his gorgeous watercolor illustrations.

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As Good As Anybody
Written by Richard Michelson & illustrated by Raúl Colón
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

A Baptist preacher from Atlanta. A rabbi born in Poland. Their names came to stand for the struggle for justice and equality.

Martin Luther King Jr. grew up in a loving family in the American South, at a time when many of this country’s doors were closed to African Americans. He aimed to open those doors. He became a minister like his daddy, and he preached and marched for his cause.

Abraham Joshua Heschel grew up in a loving family in a Europe that did not welcome Jews. He found a new home in America, where he was a rabbi like his father, carrying a message of peace and acceptance.

Martin put out a call for others to join him. Abraham knew he must answer Martin’s call.

Here is the story of how two men formed a remarkable friendship and turned their personal experiences of discrimination into a message of love and equality for all.

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Can I Touch Your Hair?: Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship
Written by Charles Waters and Irene Latham & illustrated by Selina Alko and Sean Qualls
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Two poets, one white and one black, explore race and childhood in this must-have collection tailored to provoke thought and conversation.
How can Irene and Charles work together on their fifth grade poetry project? They don't know each other . . . and they're not sure they want to. Irene Latham, who is white, and Charles Waters, who is black, use this fictional setup to delve into different experiences of race in a relatable way, exploring such topics as hair, hobbies, and family dinners. Accompanied by artwork from acclaimed illustrators Sean Qualls and Selina Alko (of The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage), this remarkable collaboration invites readers of all ages to join the dialogue by putting their own words to their experiences.

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Honorable Mentions
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  1. Not My Idea: A Book about Whiteness - **A WHITE RAVEN 2019 SELECTION** NAMED ONE OF SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL‘S BEST BOOKS OF 2018 Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness is a picture book about racism and racial justice, inviting white children and parents to become curious about racism, accept that it’s real, and cultivate justice. This book does a phenomenal job of explaining how power and privilege affect us from birth, and how we can educate ourselves…Not My Idea is an incredibly important book, one that we should all be using as a catalyst for our anti-racist education. –THE TINY ACTIVIST Quite frankly, the first book I’ve seen that provides an honest explanation for kids about the state of race in America today. –ELIZABETH BIRD, librarian “It’s that exact mix of true-to-life humor and unflinching honesty that makes Higginbotham’s book work so well…”–PUBLISHERS WEEKLY (*Starred Review) A much-needed title that provides a strong foundation for critical discussions of white people and racism, particularly for young audiences. Recommended for all collections. –SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL (*Starred Review) A necessary children’s book about whiteness, white supremacy, and resistance… Important, accessible, needed. –KIRKUS REVIEWS A timely story that addresses racism, civic responsibility, and the concept of whiteness. –FOREWORD REVIEWS For white folks who aren’t sure how to talk to their kids about race, this book is the perfect beginning. –O MAGAZINE

  2. Let's Talk about Race - "This wonderful book should be a first choice for all collections and is strongly recommended as a springboard for discussions about differences." --School Library Journal (starred review)

  3. Skin I'm in: A First Look at Racism - Racial discrimination is cruel–and especially so to younger children. This title encourages kids to accept and be comfortable with differences of skin color and other racial characteristics among their friends and in themselves. <i>A First Look At</i> is an easy-to-understand series of books for younger children. Each title explores emotional issues and discusses the questions such difficulties invariably raise among kids of preschool through early school age. Written by a psychotherapist and child counselor, each title promotes positive interaction among children, parents, and teachers. The books are written in simple, direct language that makes sense to younger kids. Each title also features a guide for parents on how to use the book, a glossary, suggested additional reading, and a list of resources. There are attractive full-color illustrations on every page. (Ages 4-7)

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